M-Net and DStv has quietly been repositioning M-Net City as no longer just a "rerun" channel, ever so carefully tweaking it as a channel destination in itself - one that will now specialise more and more in becoming an action and procedural TV series channel on DStv's offering.
M-Net executives have been working this year on improving M-Net City's image and status under DStv subscribers as a discarded "been-there, seen-that" channel, populating the channel's schedule and redirecting several high-quality shows straight to M-Net City with series that actually premiere on the channel as new, first-run content.
M-Net City is a rebrand of its low-go predecessor M-Net Series Zone meant for lower-tiered DStv subscribers who got to see TV shows in a later roll-out window, with a longer waiting period, a few months after its been on more premium positioned M-Net channels.
For DStv subscribers with access to higher-tiered packages than DStv Compact, M-Net City has been the "bad" part of town; dismissed outright as a dumpster fire "no go" place filled with reruns and no programming you have to care for since you would have seen it all before.
But now M-Net City's schedule is being filled with more action and crime films, as well as first-run crime and procedural shows.
Series like the 6th season of Major Crimes started on M-Net City on 27 November, Wisdom of the Crowd started on 20 December, Eye Candy is starting 28 December and Claws is starting on 20 January 2018.
These are just a few of the upcoming brand-new and first-run crime series premiering exclusively on this channel along with others that have been rolled out since mid-2017 as part of a re-engineered M-Net City the past few months, aimed at improving the channel's urban TV decay.
TVwithThinus asked Yolisa Phahle, the former CEO of M-Net and now the CEO of general entertainment at MultiChoice, about the noticeable "upgrade" of M-Net City and what has been happening with the M-Net packaged channel.
"What we've realised is that we do need to curate. Viewers do need to know that if they go to a certain destination, they're going to find a certain type of content," says Yolisa Phahle.
"Having consolidated M-Net (DStv 101) with the former M-Net Edge channel and continuing to buy all of the great content that's out there, has actually given us the opportunity to really differentiate M-Net City."
"So M-Net City is not purely a repeat channel. It's a channel that people will come to, to watch procedural type programming, so those are the type of shows we want to put there."
"While some of them may still premiere on M-Net (DStv 101), if we get a great new show that fits in with the theme of that channel, we can put it on M-Net City because we now have stronger, and hopefully clearly positioned channels."
Answering the same question, Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice general manager for content, says M-Net City is "becoming an action and procedurals" channel.
"We know how popular action movies are, so we know an action series and a procedural channel will do extremely well".