Monday, May 1, 2017

After taking away M-Net Edge, M-Net adds new linear M-Net Binge channel on DStv to help DStv subscribers catch up on missed series and episodes.

After sending M-Net Edge over the cliff, M-Net is bulking up with M-Net Binge as a new linear TV channel on DStv to help subscribers catch up on missed series and episodes.

M-Net Binge (DStv 900) that will run on weekends from Saturday 6 May, aims to expand M-Net and DStv's catch up service offered to DStv subscribers through giving TV viewers another opportunity to catch and catch up on TV shows and episodes of series they have missed and didn't get to (yet).

By pressing "record" on the DStv programme guide for the M-Net Binge channel, DStv subscribers across Africa will be able to amass a recording collection over weekends similar to a fisher throwing out a net and scooping up a sack of telly sustenance.

It enables DStv subscribers to use a linear TV channel to create "TV box sets" of series as long as they have enough space on their DStv decoder hard drives.

Like M-Net Edge, M-Net Binge will only be available for DStv Premium subscribers.

M-Net Binge will run on Saturdays and Sundays between 21:30 and approximately 05:00 the next morning, showing premium series that was/is on M-Net (DStv 101) and VUZU AMP (DStv 103) and that was on the canned M-Net Edge.

M-Net Binge will have "themed" weekends, for instance shows from Shonda Rhimes like The Fixer (Scandal) and Grey's Anatomy, a superhero marathon or "period-drama throwback".

Before the reboot of Twin Peaks that will be on M-Net (DStv 101), M-Net Binge will show the first and second season of the original series.

On 6 May M-Net Binge will show the first season's 9 episodes of Twin Peaks. On Sunday 7 May, Saturday 13 May and Sunday 14 May M-Net Binge will show the 23 episodes of Twin Peaks' second season.

Other M-Net Binge showing include box set showings of Big Little Lies and The Night Of.

"In the ever-changing world of television, binge has become a worldwide phenomenon," says Yolisa Phahle, M-Net CEO.

"M-Net's successful movie pop-up channels have shown that our premium viewers love themed and curated content and M-Net Binge is an exciting initiative for series fans to catch up with the best of the best shows that they may have missed or want to watch again."

M-Net says "M-Net Binge has deliberately been placed next to the time-delayed M-Net Plus 1 on DStv channel 901, which is another channel that was created for the convenience of DStv Premium viewers.

"This means that our viewers can clearly distinguish between channels built around fresh content like M-Net 101, with its extended prime-time that runs between 06:00 to midnight and channels that speak to viewer convenience," says Yolisa Phahle.

M-Net says DStv Premium subscribers will be able to set their M-Net Binge recordings as soon as the electronic programme guide (EPG) becomes available, which is usually 8 days before the day of broadcast.

"Customers can choose to either record the entire series to compile your own box set or record individual episodes".

Some oddities and observations:
1. In a "perfect" world it wouldn't be the M-Net Binge channel but just a Binge channel or the DStv Binge channel.

By that I mean it wouldn't just carry M-Net shows but all kinds of shows across the range of DStv channels from different channel providers and distributors - sort of like the shop window of DStv Catch Up, but in/on a linear channel. There's more than just M-Net shows viewers need and want to catch up on, especially from FOX, Discovery and BBC Worldwide's set of channels.

2. In fact, if M-Net Binge was just Binge and included more channels' content, it could virtually run a whole week long on DStv, continuously broadcasting one set/season of a show after the other. Of course content rights management makes it virtually impossible - all the different kids will never play nicely in the same yard on the same linear TV channel.

3. I get why M-Net Binge is only for DStv Premium subscribers. It's neither "right" nor "wrong", but there's both pro's and con's. Of course it's for DStv Premium subscribers only because M-Net will repeat premium, new and sought-after shows that M-Net and DStv can't possibly (be expected to) make available to lower-tiered subscribers.

On the other hand, more always fuel more - it's called momentum. If more DStv subscribers got access to or watched the M-Net Binge channel, they would actually go on to watch more TV - both watching on the M-Net Binge channel, but also progressing from there and watching new seasons of shows after having been introduced to it, or having been able to catch up on shows and then sticking with them.

4. 900? Whatup with that? On overseas pay-TV operators the 700's and 900's is the channel numbers where the junk lives - pay-TV's twilight zone with the home shopping trash, the pornographic sex channels on Sky for instance and the ne'er-do-wellers.

Now DStv and M-Net started playing SimCity in the 900 setting up shop and expanding in this channel galaxy range, far, far away. Why? If 102 is empty now after M-Net Edge was canned, why not put M-Net Binge on 102 now, or for now, and move it away later when a new M-Net packaged channel comes along. M-Net Binge is, after all, designated royalty as a DStv Premium channel.

5. When did M-Net and MultiChoice come up with M-Net Binge? In a (the last) month?
If MultiChoice and M-Net announced the addition/replacement of M-Net Binge when the demise of M-Net Edge was announced, there would have been much less anger and resentment from DStv subscribers if there was a simultaneous bait-and-switch marketing technique.

6. The M-Net Binge channel logo doesn't look ugly per se, but goodness - how Boring and Bland.

I'm a journalist, not a visual brand marketing creative, but without thinking about it for longer than 30 seconds I would have done stuff to make the logo's design elements work harder and be more dynamic...

... like making the "G" an upside down circle arrow sign to indicate a type of "catching up"; or doing something to indicate "stacking with the 3-lines of the "E"; or changing the last two line vectors of the "N" into an arrow, mimicking how you move backwards to move forward through catching up.

The M-Net Binge logo looks a bit lazy.