Wednesday, March 13, 2024

MultiChoice and M-Net shutter DStv's 1Magic and ME channels.

by Thinus Ferreira  
As part of M-Net's linear pay-TV channels portfolio consolidation, MultiChoice is shutting down both the 1Magic and ME channels at the end of this month, with DStv subscribers losing another two TV channels at the same time as DStv's price hike for 2024 kicks in from April.

The axing of M-Net's linear 1Magic and ME channels was originally planned to take place just before the relaunch of MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax last month but was pushed out by two months.

The loss of the 1Magic and ME channels is the latest in a string of eight TV channels that will have gone dark on MultiChoice's DStv over just the first three months of this year while South African pay-TV subscribers are expected to pay more for the traditional satellite pay-TV service.

Gone for Dstv subscribers since the beginning of 2024 are the Deutsche Welle, Emmanuel TV, B4U Movies, 1Free State TV, NWTV and People's Weather TV channels.

MultiChoice in response to a media query from TVwithThinus confirmed that the two TV channels are getting axed and says the "M-Net universe is streamlining towards a better and simpler viewing experience".

"From 31 March 2024, M-Net will streamline its channel offering to provide a more seamless entertainment experience for DStv customers. While we will be bidding farewell to 1Magic and ME Channels, we're confident that these changes will pave the way for an array of fresh, engaging content across our other channels, making for a more robust and streamlined offering."

"M-Net is committed to giving customers only the best in entertainment and endeavours to continuously improve our customers' viewing experience."

1Magic (DStv 103) which launched in January 2018 is shutting down after five years and was available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact subscribers.

When M-Net launched 1Magic out of the shuttered VUZU AMP channel in early 2018, M-Net claimed that 1Magic would be "introducing a bigger, exclusive content slate that what we currently have on VUZU AMP". That promise however went unfulfilled over the past half a decade that the channel was in existence.

At the time M-Net said that it had "identified a need to invest in more local entertainment for our viewers, in the premium segment". 

The plan was for 1Magic to be a localised version of the M-Net channel to attract and retain DStv Premium subscribers through premium local productions but most of the content, including The River, only really found an audience when it got screened on Mzansi Magic.

ME that is shutting down two years and three months after it launched in November 2021 was available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers and was created out of the shuttered and fused together M-Net City and VUZU TV channels. 

ME offered lower-tiered DStv subscribers a way to see first-run M-Net content, especially American series, later, as part of the windowing-down approach followed by the traditional pay-TV model.