Sunday, August 12, 2018

Discovery Science on StarSat and StarTimes dropped after 8 years and replaced by Discovery Family; Discovery Networks' new Real Time as a competitor for its own TLC added and branded as 'StarTimes Real Time' although its packaged by Discovery.

The beloved Discovery Science (StarSat 222) channel on StarSat is getting dumped at the end of August and will be replaced by the bland Discovery Family channel from Discovery Networks International already running on MultiChoice's DStv.

Discovery Science is one of three channels from Discovery Networks International that launched on TopTV - StarSat's brand-damaged predecessor - when it started in May 2010, along with Travel & Living that was changed into TLC and then removed, and Investigation Discovery (ID) that's still running along with Discovery Science.

The well-liked Discovery Science is going dark at the end of August on StarTimes Media South Africa and On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat in South Africa, as well as on StarTimes in all the other African countries where the channel has been available, and will be replaced by the watered-down Discovery Family.

Discovery Communications' Discovery Family channel replaced Discovery World in April 2016 on MultiChoice's DStv with viewers complaining about the old, rerun programming, blandness of the channel and the overload of repeats on Discovery Family.

MultiChoice and Discovery Networks International that dumped Animal Planet at the end of 2017 as part of a new channels carriage renewal contract and with very little notification to DStv subscribers, is still to replace it with a new, as yet unannounced channel within months.

Discovery Networks International in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus about the removal of Discovery Science says that "as part of our recent renewal with StarTimes, we will be replacing Discovery Science with Discovery Family later this year".

"Discovery Family has proven particularly successful with South African audiences since launching in 2016, thanks to its quality programming and family-friendly genres including magic, pop-science, clip-based shows and competition formats, and we look forward to expanding the channel's presence across Africa and presenting it to StarTimes subscribers in the coming months."

StarSat subscribers in South Africa are angry, sad and disappointed about the removal of Discovery Science.

StarSat subscribers like Thando Ntabamhlophe said "We demand Discovery Science continues. A favourite channel. Food Factory, documentaries, education. Do not stop Discovery Science!"

"Discovery Science is best. Why can't they add channels without removing any?" asked KD Mzwandile.

Meanwhile StarSat and StarTimes are also adding the StarTimes Real Time (ST Real Time) channel that is actually a Discovery Networks International packaged channel, but strangely branded as "StarTimes" Real Time, instead of just Real Time.

StarTimes Real Time is added on StarTimes/StarSat on channel 179 and is being made available on the Special package, as well as the Super package tiers.

In the public signing ceremonies for its channel carriage agreement renewal contracts that StarTimes held last month in Beijing, China - and that StarTimes and StarSat didn't want to talk about with the South African press - StarTimes revealed to some of Africa's other journalists that Real Time will be coming from Discovery.

Discovery Networks International packages and distributes this new female lifestyle channel as a competitor to its own TLC (DStv 135) brand already carried on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa and elsewhere across Africa.

Discovery's Real Time that ran in Europe and the United Kingdom was finally shut down there in April 2013 and turned into TLC, but that Real Time name has now been revived by Discovery for StarTimes in Africa as a parallel, yet differently branded, channel to TLC.

The "StarTimes" in front of Real Time is presumably to make a more distinctive break with Discovery so as to not let the very direct competition with TLC, from the same channels group provider, be so obvious.