Friday, October 23, 2015

BET2 on DStv dumped after 8 months as Viacom International Media Networks Africa goes back to one BET channel on MultiChoice's pay-TV platform.

BET2 (DStv 135) is dumped from MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform at the end of November just 8 months after Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) in April said it is "expanding" the network's entertainment offering for viewers by providing two BET channels.

VIMN Africa and DStv are now contracting the existing 2-channel BET offering from December.

It's not clear whether it was the plan all along and whether the repositioning and split into BET and BET2 at the beginning of the year was a temporary bridging plan, or whether the plan to have two BET channels just didn't work out.

In response to a media enquiry, VIMN Africa tells TV with Thinus Viacom is removing BET2 to "replace it with a fuller, more rounded entertainment experience on BET".

With the shuttering of BET2, MultiChoice is making BET (DStv 129) - which was just for DStv Premium subscribers - available to DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers from December when BET2 is shutting down on 30 November.

MultiChoice and VIMN Africa are not explaining the abrupt closure of BET2 besides saying it will be gone from the end of November.

In a joint statement MultiChoice and VIMN Africa says that "locally-produced content will play an increased role on the channel with BET Buzz continuing to air every weekday, a second season of Top Actor currently in production, and additional local commissions set to air in early 2016".

A 2-part documentary programme about the South African designer David Tlale will be shown "at launch", presumably the "launch" in December when BET2 is shuttered and BET becomes the only channel.

From 5 December BET will add a new Saturday night movie slot, broadcasting "classic urban movies. A two-month Eddie Murphy movie festival is being added with films like Best Defence, Beverly Hills Cop and The Golden Child.

Ignoring the closure of BET2 as VIMN Africa goes back from 10 to 9 channels, Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of VIMN Africa says "we are delighted that DStv Compact and Extra subscribers will now be able to have access to BET's compelling general entertainment content that celebrates African and African-American culture".

VIMN Africa continues to run the BET International (StarSat 167) channel, the original international (UK) feed, on On Digital Media and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat satellite pay-TV platform which overlaps and carries a lot of the same programming as on BET like The Wendy Williams Show, but without the localised new African programming.