by Thinus Ferreira
The British pay-TV channel ITV Choice (DStv 123) is the next channel getting axed by MultiChoice, with ITV Choice that will go dark at the end of May after 5 years.
ITV says that MultiChoice no longer wants the channel on DStv that had curated content from the United Kingdom with a focus on programming around the British royal family.
ITV Choice, a commercial general entertainment TV channel supplied by ITV Studios Global Entertainment suddenly ceased broadcasting in August 2019 in several markets across the Middle East, Malta and Asia but continued in South Africa.
Insider sources told TVwithThinus on Tuesday that ITV Choice is getting the DStv chop with the channel that confirmed its removal from the MultiChoice line-up in response to a media enquiry.
"DStv has decided that ITV's international TV channel, ITV Choice, will no longer be carried on the DStv platform in Africa from 4 June 2020. The ITV brand will continue as a video-on-demand (VOD) service in other territories," an ITV Choice spokesperson told TVwithThinus.
MultiChoice was also asked about the decision to cancel ITV Choice on Tuesday afternoon but didn't respond to a media enquiry seeking comment.
ITV Choice that launched in May 2015 in South Africa faced an uphill battle for DStv viewership and struggled to compete against the entrenched set of longrunning and existing Brit channels from BBC Studios Africa on MultiChoice's platform that are offering a wide selection of lifestyle, natural history, general entertainment and premium drama programming.
The axing of ITV Choice comes after the acrimonious channel carriage negotiations between MultiChoice and A+E Networks UK in late-2019 that first saw MultiChoice announce that it would be dropping History, Lifetime and Crime+Investigation at the end of October 2019.
After new renegotiations and a public petition by angry DStv subscribers MultiChoice kept History and Lifetime on its satellite TV service but dropped Crime+Investigation. That was followed by the exit of former A+E Networks Africa boss Yusuf Nabee who was been replaced by Nazarene Khan.
ITV Choice brought DStv subscribers shows like Victoria, Poldark, Doc Martin, Vera and The Voice UK. ITV's catalogue content will very likely start to pop up on other TV channels in time once the shows that were packaged on ITV Choice becomes available for the territory through its global ITV Studios distribution arm.