Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MultiChoice and VIMN Africa downgrades and upgrades the BET channel, rebranding BET International as BET2, creates BET as premium channel.

MultiChoice is downgrading and upgrading the Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) supplied BET channel for DStv subscribers, splitting the channel by rebranding the existing BET International (DStv 135) as BET2 for lower paying subscribers, and creating BET on channel 129 for DStv Premium subscribers.

Days after telling TV with Thinus last week there's "nothing concrete to tell you" after asking about a new show set to start on BET on MultiChoice's channel 129 where no such channel existed, VIMN Africa and MultiChoice now announced the addition of BET and the rebranding of BET International to BET2.

The channels, positioned around the "rich variety and positive values of African and African-American culture" will see shows like talk show The Wendy Williams Show and music specials like Black Girls Rock, the BET Awards, The BET Honors and the BET Hip Hop Awards move to BET where it will be seen first by DStv Premium subscribers.

There's been no explanation from MultiChoice and VIMN Africa on why DStv is creating this new BET channel when MTV Base which roughly targets the same audience, already exists for a decade - and could carry a lot of the programming.

MTV Europe and MTV Base on DStv - and both supplied by VIMN Africa - both moved away from playing just music videos and already show dramas and reality fare.

In reality, South African TV viewers will now have access to three different BET channels.

On Digital Media's (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa's satellite pay-TV platform StarSat has been carrying BET International as well on channel 167.

VIMN Africa tells TV with Thinus that StarSat "will continue to receive the BET International feed with is programmed and scheduled out of the UK. It will not receive either BET on DStv channel 129 which is exclusive to DStv, or BET2".

BET will start on DStv on 2 April at 17:20 and will also carry reality series, dramas, sitcoms, stand-up comedies and documentaries, with Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director for VIMN Africa calling it an "evolution of the BET brand on the continent".

"The new BET channel will enrich our Premium customers' television viewing experience with bespoke local content," says Aletta Alberts, the general manager for content for MultiChoice South Africa.

BET will show the local reality show Top Actor SA, as well as A.D. The Bible Continues, a 12-part miniseries created by Mark Burnett starting on 6 April at 20:55.

New seasons and new episodes of shows like Being Mary Jane, Kevin Hart's Real Husbands of Hollywood and The Wendy Williams Show are moving from BET International to BET for Premium subscribers.