You're seeing it here first.
Here's the channel logo's of the four new TV channels from the e.tv stable - eKasi+, eToonz+, eMovies+ and eAfrica+ - which e.tv officially launched at a press event tonight in Johannesburg and which will start broadcasting from 15 October on Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD).
e.tv as a broadcaster is launching eKasi+,eToonz+, eMovies+ and eAfrica+ as new sister channels as the first of its planned set of TV channels for digital terrestrial television (DTT). e.tv, the SABC and M-Net plan to each roll out their own collections of additional TV channels in South Africa eventually.
Since government incompetence and industry infighting has long-delayed the digital switch-over process known as digital migration, e.tv is launching its first 4 additional free-to-air TV channels on OpenView HD, although the channels will become publicly available to all viewers once DTT starts.
e.tv, tired, frustrated and becoming increasingly scared over it's inability to grow its potential market share and possible diminishing returns on its existing market which could evaporate in the face of ongoing TV channel and audience fragmentation in South Africa, decided to no longer wait for DTT but to forge ahead and start launching its additional channels.
The commercial e.tv is currently boxed in between the aspirational pay-TV services from M-Net, M-M-Net's growing number of "Mzansi" themed TV channels targeting South Africa's growing middle class black viewers, and MultiChoice's general DStv pay-TV offering all on the one side; and the bulk but bad and cheap SABC on the other side which isn't making or having to make a profit and is too big to fail, getting government bail-outs.
e.tv is now gearing up to unashamedly gun for Mzansi's black viewers - aspirational, upmarket black viewers in South Africa who are tired of the SABC's shoddy service as a public broadcaster but who haven't yet switched to pay television, or wants more better alternatives despite the current available choices on offer through DStv and TopTV.
Sabido is pumping millions into the start-up of the new additional e.tv channels branded "+" which, just like when e.tv started 15 years ago, will launch with an initial viewership of zero on 15 October, although the 24 hour schedules will have to be populated and paid for in local content production and licensing fees of international content.
e.tv and On Digital Media (ODM) have had discussions to add the four new channels to TopTV which so far has proved fruitless. It's not clear when,or if, the four hew e.tv channels will be added to MultiChoice's DStv platform.
eToonz+, eKasi+, eAfrica+ and eMovies+ will go live on 15 October at 17:00 in South Africa on OVHD.
"This marks a real breakthrough for e.tv and we are delighted to give our highly valued viewers this multi-channel offering," says Marcel Golding, the CEO of Sabido Investments, e.tv's holding company.
"It will expand their choices and afford them control over their viewing experience. The channels will be an authentic platform for the film and television industry kep players to explore the best of what our continent has to offer."
Marcel Golding promises that eKasi+, a local content TV channel, will have "a high percentage of new South African TV content, tailor-made to appeal specifically to the inhabitants of South Africa's lively townships".
eKasi+ will broadcast shows such as talk show Ek Se (Let's Talk), Number Numba, Kasi My Kasi, Gumba Gumba, Kasi-licious, Shadows and Behind the Gospel.
eKasi+ will carry Nguni news at 20:00, as well as soaps, African drama series, African American movies, sitcoms, reality and game shows and will aggressively be going after the same target market as SABC1, as well as M-Net's Mzansi Magic and other "Mzansi" branded channels recently rolled out on MultiChoice's DStv.
As TV with Thinus reported earlier this month, Khanyi Mbau and Masechaba Lekalake will both host their own TV talk shows on eKasi+, which will also see stars such as chef Katlego Mlambo and singer Ntombi Mzolo.
eMovies+ will run local and international movies, both recent and classic, says e.tv. eMovies+ will broadcast 24 hours per day with various genres including sci-fi, horror, romance, family adventures and golden oldies.
eAfrica+ will show Nollywood movies, African news, music, dramas and talk shows.
eToonz+ is a dedicated children's channel.
"e.tv has matured over the years and has seen a growth in viewership as a result of our ability to provide entertaining programming that promotes diversity," says Monde Twala, the e.tv group head of channels.
"Viewers have inspired us to think beyond just having one channel. The aim is to provide viewers with content that inspires, educates and encourages South Africans to be active citizens."
The red letter e.tv main channel will meanwhile switch to a high definition (HD) feed from October, although its not clear whether MultiChoice's will upgrade e.tv to e.tv HD on DStv. e.tv will however be seen as an HD channel on OVHD from 15 October on that platform.
e.tv says most locally commissioned TV content will be produced and delivered in HD format from October and that more original HD content will be phased in "over a period, across all themed channels".