Tuesday, May 15, 2018

BREAKING. eMedia Investments to launch a new 24-hour TV news channel, OpenNews, at the end of 2018 on its own OpenView; will do a 2-hour Afrikaans block on eExtra including a new Afrikaans TV news bulletin.

eMedia Investments will launch a new 24-hour TV news channel, similar to its existing eNCA (DStv 403) carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, at the end of this year that will be called OpenNews and that will be carried on its free-to-air satellite pay-TV platform OpenView run by Platco Digital.

In addition to the new TV news channel, a 2-hour Afrikaans programming block will be added to the eExtra channel, including a new Afrikaans TV news bulletin to rival the Afrikaans bulletin from the SABC on SABC2 as well as eNuus that e.tv produces for kykNET.

OpenNews will include some eNCA content like the new magazine show, The Spotlight with Tanya Nefdt, as well as 2 new current affairs shows, The Tim Modise Show and The Fix with Karima Brown, but will be catering to a different market segment and viewing audience.

"OpenNews will be broadcast out of the Cape Town studios, offering viewers an integrated news channel combining short format news, onscreen information and links with selected social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and a proprietary app," says André van der Veen, eMedia Investments CEO.

"eMedia Investments has the talent, knowledge and experience to launch South Africa's first satellite free-to-air television news channel. OpenNews will be an independent news service, but hosts will be encouraged to 'to take a view' on regional, international, sports, entertainment and financial news," says André van der Veen.

OpenNews will start as a standard definition (SD) channel but may switch to high definition (HD) later when it launches during the fourth quarter of 2018.

OpenNews will have its own management team and brand identity and will look distinctively different to eNCA that OpenNews will be competing with.

eMedia Investments willl also start a 2-hour block of Afrikaans programming on OpenView's eExtra (OVHD 105 / DStv 195) channel. This Afrikaans broadcasting block will include general entertainment, current affairs programming as well as an Afrikaans TV news bulletin that will be different from the eNuus provided to M-Net's kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) on DStv.

eMedia Investments says the programme mix is in the final stages of being finalised and the line-up will be announced in the next few weeks.

eMedia didn't give an explanation for starting a new TV news channel but one factor at play in the creation of OpenNews as well as the new Afrikaans TV news bulletin is that eMedia Investments wants to establish its own supply chain owned-and-operated TV news channel and content in case contracts like supplying eNCA or customised content like eNuus to MultiChoice and kykNET are cancelled.

Contract negotiations between eMedia Investments and MultiChoice and M-Net's kykNET have steadily become more contentious over recent years.

If a future carriage agreement renewal for eNCA or content like eNuus can't be reached - something that would mean the sudden disappearance of a eNCA or eNuus leaving eMedia Investments with no market presence in these content spaces - eMedia Investments will have fallback brand positions like OpenNews where it owns both the channel, the content as well as the distribution platform.