M-Net (an abbreviation of Electronic Media Network) is a South African pay television channel established by Naspers in 1986. The channel broadcasts both local and international programming, including general entertainment, children's series, sport and movies. While the TV signal is generally encrypted, M-Net showed some programmes 'free to air' in its "Open Time" slot between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., until the slot closed on 1 April 2007.
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Slogan||Come home to magic|
|Language||English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Xhosa, Sesotho, Venda, Tsonga|
|Broadcast area||South Africa|
|Sister channel(s)||M-Net City |
|Sentech||Channel depends on nearest repeater|
In the early 1990s, M-Net added a second analogue channel called Community Services Network (CSN), and began digital broadcasting via satellite to the rest of Africa, via its sister company MultiChoice. With the introduction of MultiChoice's multi-channel digital satellite TV service, DStv, in 1995, several different channels have been created to complement the original M-Net channel, including M-Net Series and several movie channels based on film genre.
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The idea of a pay-TV network in South Africa came to life in the mid-1980s, when Nasionale Pers (Naspers) - headed by executive Koos Bekker — started to promote the idea to the country's other three largest media corporations: Times Media Ltd (now Avusa/BDFM), Argus (now the Independent Group) and Perskor (which is now defunct).
The newspapers and magazines published by Naspers had lost a lot of advertising revenue to the SABC after the arrival of television and for this reason, according to some sources, the National Party government wanted Naspers to run its own television network. Initially, the plan was for M-Net to be jointly owned by the four media corporations, with the Natal Witness also having a small share in the station. However, as time went on, the project became that of Naspers only.
In October 1986, they started broadcasting for 12 hours a day, to about 500 households who had bought decoders. (Their aim at that stage was to sell 9,000 decoders per month.)
Although it was subscription-based, the Broadcasting Authority granted them a one-hour time slot each day, in which the channel could broadcast unencrypted, free-to-air content, in order to promote itself and attract potential subscribers. In 1987, the Cabinet also approved an arrangement under which the SABC was required to make its TV4 channel available to M-Net between 6 and 7pm. This time slot became known as Open Time, but was only meant to be temporary — M-Net was supposed to close Open Time immediately when it had 150 000 subscribers.
At the end of its first year, they recorded a loss of R37-million. However, it pushed forward and eventually, the public started taking notice. After two years, the loss was turned into a R20-million profit. In 1988, the channel launched Carte Blanche, a multi-award-winning actuality program hosted by Derek Watts and Ruda Landman. In only a few years, Carte Blanche became famous for its investigative journalism. In the process, the show also uncovered many of South Africa's most famous scandals of human rights abuse, corruption and consumer affairs.
1989 saw the launch of M-Net SuperSport, which went on to become South Africa's first dedicated sports channel.
1990 was the first year that they made a profit and also the year that saw a few major changes for the channel. It launched K-TV, a daily time slot specialising in kids entertainment, and Open Time was expanded from the initial one hour per day, to two. They applied for a licence to broadcast news and the application was granted in December 1990. (Former State President P.W. Botha once claimed that "M-Net would not broadcast news as long as he was State President.") but during June 1991, they announced that it was putting its plans for news broadcasts aside and that, instead, more money would be invested in local productions, including South Africa's first local soap opera Egoli, which started in May 1992 and ended in April 2010. However, they began re-broadcasting BBC World Service Television (now BBC World News) that same year.
M-Net SuperSport changed its name in 1994 to SuperSport only, in order to create a more recognizable brand. During that year it broadcast live coverage of South Africa's test cricket series in Australia for the first time. At the same time, Hugh Bladen and Naas Botha - two of the channel's most colourful rugby commentators — joined SuperSport. By that time, its sports coverage became very impressive, including the US Masters, the FA Cup Finals, the Indy 500, the US PGA Championship, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, MotoGP and an ever-expanding rugby package. In 1995, SuperSport started broadcasting 24 hours per day on M-Net's spare channel, the Community Service Network, which paved the way for a 24-hour multi-channel sports network. When rugby became a full professional sport in 1995, most of the broadcasting rights in the Southern Hemisphere were sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. In response, they started negotiating with NewsCorp in August 1995 and in February the following year, SuperSport was granted sole broadcasting rights to both the Super 12 and Tri Nations rugby tournaments. It was a major breakthrough for the channel as well as SuperSport, which had by now expanded to channels on DStv, Multichoice's satellite TV service.
Launch of DStv's first High Definition decoder the HD PVR, XtraView and the first HD channel, M-Net HD. M-Net began broadcasting a 720p high definition channel in 2010, which is available on the majority of availability of a HD PVR; the standard definition channel for non HD PVR subscribers, as is merely downscaled at the provider from the HD feed rather than having a devoted analog channel. In 2012 the original two movie channels were replaced with six HD channels which grouped films according to genre.
The original M-Net channel broadcasts general entertainment, as well as premiere movies and first-run TV series, music specials and documentaries. The channel has a timeshift service, a terrestrial service and a CSN. Over the course of several years, M-Net has launched numerous sister channels.
The original two movie channels, Movie Magic 1 and Movie Magic 2, were renamed M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2, respectively, in 2005. Two additional movie channels, M-Net Movies Stars and M-Net Movies Action, were later launched. In October 2012, the original two movie channels were replaced with six HD channels which grouped films according to genre. Seven movie channels are currently broadcast by M-Net:
M-Net Movies Premiere
M-Net Movies flagship channel consisting of first run movie premieres mostly after being available on the DStv BoxOffice rental service
M-Net Movies Smile
The result of two previous movie channels fused, namely M-Net Movies Family and M-Net Movies Comedy, with animated films during the day and comedy specials at night
M-Net Movies Action
First launched as ActionX, then M-Net Action. The channel previously was a general entertainment channel, with notable series in-between movies. It has since moved from its series root to focus more on new action film and action classics
M-Net Movies Action+
The premium action movie channel focused on thrillers and horror movies shown here before moving on to M-Net Movies Action.
M-Net Movies Allstars
Launched as M-Net Stars, along with M-Net Action was a general entertainment channel focused on the most favoured stars. Due to most stars being voiceovers the channel has mostly animated movies, with a mix of comedy and romance.
M-Net Movies Zone
The lower tiered channel aimed at DStv Access subscribers which air all movies shown on M-Net or other DStv channels
M-Net Movies Channel 109
The pop-up channel and the first of the movie channels to broadcast less than 24 hours a day. Initially, the channel was named M-Net Movies Showcase. In 2015, the same year M-Net Movies Smile was formed, another channel, M-Net Movies Romance was incorporated into Showcase, in direct response to viewer complaints of too many repeats. Mostly airing movie festivals such as StarWars, BlockParty, Harry Potter, James Bond, The Expendables, Blackout, Blackbelt, etc.
Most of the programmes broadcast are unique to M-Net Series but some are rebroadcasts of episodes previously shown on M-Net.
A single series channel was introduced in 2000 as a sister channel to the original M-Net channel. On 9 July 2013, this channel was split into three, namely
- M-Net Series Showcase, which was broadcast in high definition, previously served as the primary series channel on which most new content unique to Series was broadcast.
- M-Net Series Reality broadcast talk shows and other reality media
- M-Net Series Zone which served as a catch-up channel, and featured previous seasons of shows. Several TV shows also ran back-to-back in marathon blocks.
On 11 September 2014, it was announced that Series Showcase and Series Reality would be discontinued and replaced with two new channels, Vuzu Amp and M-Net Edge, on 20 and 13 October, respectively. Only one channel of the original three, M-Net Series Zone, remained. The standalone channel is reminiscent of the initial channel, in that it airs shows that previously aired on the main M-Net channel. It was rebranded M-Net City in 2016
On 31 March 2017 all the programs seen on M-Net Edge were put on M-Net as part of a merge. Programs seen on M-Net Edge are viewable later on various other channels from M-Net. Later on, Vuzu Amp was rebranded to One Magic.
kykNET, which broadcasts solely in Afrikaans, was launched in October 1999. The channel features general entertainment, series, informative programs and music. kykNET also has two sister channels, KykNet & Kie and KykNet Musiek. DStv announced on 16 July 2014 that kykNet would be broadcast in high-definition as of 12 August 2014.
It was launched in the UK on TalkTalk's IPTV service, TalkTalk Plus TV, in October 2013. However, it was dropped by TalkTalk in December 2015. A kykNet International service is now available online to subscribers in selected countries in North America, Europe and Australasia via the Showmax platform.
Vuzu, originally launched as Go in 2007 has a strong focus on Southern African youth, specifically preteens, teens and twenty-somethings is similar to some popular American TV Channels such as Bravo, FX, BET, The CW, NBC, TNT and many others. A sister channel, Vuzu Amp, was launched in October 2014, which was later relaunched as 1Magic.
Mzansi Magic features original South African series, movies, music, documentaries and reality shows. It has two sister channels, Mzansi Magic Music, Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Biskop.
Africa Magic, which started off as single channel of the same name, is a brand owned by M-Net and now comprises eight channels. The first Africa Magic channel was launched in July 2003 as a movie channel and over the next decade, the brand expanded to include seven more channels comprising movies, television shows and general entertainment. Africa Magic currently broadcasts in more than 50 African countries. The channels include Africa Magic Family, Africa Magic World, Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Igbo, Africa Magic Hausa. Africa Magic Epic and Africa Magic Urban. Africa Magic is also responsible for the annual Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCAs), the biggest celebration of film and television talent in Africa.
Maisha Magic comprises two channels Maisha Magic East and Maisha Magic Bongo which focus on East African Movies, Series and Music. It was initially launched Africa Magic Swahili but was later rebranded as Maisha Magic Swahili then rebranded again as Maisha Magic East.
Channel O is a music channel with a strong focus on urban music genres. It also holds the annual Channel O Music Video Awards ceremony where artists are awarded for their outstanding contribution to music.
All HD channels are aired in 1080i but are downscaled to SD if the subscriber isn't in possession of an HD or Explora decoder.
Locally produced programmingEdit
|53 Extra||Africa Magic|
|Africa's Next Top Model||Africa Magic|
|Cula Sibone||Mzansi Magic|
|Date My Family||Mzansi Magic|
|Dream School SA||M-Net|
|Greed & Desire||Mzansi Magic|
|Gospel Alive||Mzansi Magic|
|IsiBaya||Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu|
|Lokshin Bioskop||Mzansi Magic|
|Mashariki Mix||Africa Magic|
|Our Perfect Wedding||Mzansi Magic|
|The Queen||Mzansi Magic|
|Egoli||M-Net from 1993 - 2010|
|Wang Verstana||Mzansi Magic|
|The Wild||M-Net from 2011 - 2013|
Awards and live showsEdit
- Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards also known as the AMVCAs.
- Channel O Music Video Awards also known as the CHOMVAs.
- Miss South Africa
- M-Net Literary Awards
- "Big Brother Mzansi" the South African version of Big Brother.
- "Big Brother Africa" Continental
- "Idols South Africa"
- "Power Couple South Africa"
- "The Voice South Africa"
- "History - M-Net Corporate". M-Net Corporate. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
- Mass Media, Towards the Millennium: The South African Handbook of Mass Communication, Arrie De Beer, J.L. van Schaik, 1998, page 220
- "How pay-TV in SA was started". financialmail.co.za. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- Communication and Democratic Reform in South Africa, Robert B. Horwitz, Cambridge University Press, 2001, page 125
- "Kinder-TV 'n groot hupstoot vir M-Net (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "Die tyd is ryp vir M-Net-Nuus (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "M-Net slaan slag met rugby op TV (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "Mnet movies".
- "Super Brands: M-Net" (PDF). 10 November 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- "New channel numbers and more HD for DStv customers". Multichoice. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- "M-Net Edge and VUZU AMP coming to DStv". channel24. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- "DStv launching kykNET music channel". channel24. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- "GoesHD". Archived from the original on 23 July 2014.
- "TalkTalk launches World TV Boosts". 5 August 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016.
- "TalkTalk to reduce international channel offering on YouView". a516digital.com. 25 November 2015.
- kykNET goes global with ShowMax, Independent Online, 10 December 2015