Monday, July 2, 2018

After losing carriage in Southern Africa, Mo Abudu's EbonyLife TV also loses its exclusive carriage agreement with MultiChoice Africa on the rest of the African continent, switches to China's StarTimes.

After Mo Abudu's EbonyLife TV (DStv 165) channel got dumped from MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa, and the other countries across Southern Africa, at the end of June, EbonyLife TV is now jumping to StarTimes with the Chinese pay-TV operator that is active in Africa that is picking up EbonyLife TV from August.

EbonyLife TV is losing is exclusivity on MultiChoice Africa's DStv, although the channel will remain available on DStv in parts of East Africa and in West Africa like Nigeria where the channel is most-watched.

EbonyLife TV has however signed with China's StarTimes to carry its Nigerian entertainment offering. 

What it means is that Mo Abudu's channel will have dual carriage in Nigeria on DStv and StarTimes Nigeria, as well as on DStv and StarTimes in other West and East African countries. The big switch is in Southern Africa where EbonyLife TV will only be available on StarTimes which has a smaller audience reach than what DStv has.

MultiChoice told TVwithThinus last week that EbonyLife TV is being removed from DStv in South Africa and across Southern Africa because the channel's content doesn't resonate enough with DStv subscribers, saying "EbonyLife TV resonates the most with our customers in Nigeria, which is why it will only be available there from 1 July".

It's not yet clear whether EbonyLife TV that was on DStv in South Africa, will become available on StarSat - StarTimes's South African operations. StarSat, asked on Monday whether EbonyLife will be added, told TVwithThinus it will have to hear from StarTimes' headquarters in Beijing, China.  

EbonyLife TV is also launching the EbonyLife ON app, a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service making the channel's content available directly to consumers.

In a statement EbonyLife CEO, Mo Abudu, said she was proud of the end of the exclusive channel carriage agreement with MultiChoice and that EbonyLife TV is switching to the StarTimes that is "a force to be reckoned with".

"EbonyLife TV is proud to announce that from 1 August 2018 they will be broadcasting on the StarTimes network thereby ending its exclusive arrangement with DStv," says EbonyLife TV.

"This is an exciting time for us. StarTimes is a force to be reckoned with in Africa. It is a privilege for EbonyLife to have an additional home with the network. Together with the global reach of EbonyLife ON, we will have the potential for millions of more people to enjoy our gripping dramas, riveting talk and fun entertainment shows."

Justin Zhang, managing director of StarTimes, says "it made sense to include them in the StarTimes family and to continue delighting customers with engaging, original content".

Justin Zhang says "this collaboration is a win-win for both parties – StarTimes will improve its offering by providing an additional, first-rate channel to users and EbonyLife TV gets an opportunity to broadcast to an even greater number of viewers".

The Nigeria-based channel, which was founded in 2013, now produces 1,000 hours of English-language content a year.

EbonyLife TV that launched in 2013 and was added in South Africa in 2014, is Nigerian based and produces around 1 000 hours of English language TV content annually.