MULTICHOICE Africa provides top quality local and international pay-television services by satellite to the whole continent, through the DStv brand.
It was formed in the mid-1980s, when Africa’s first pay-TV service, M-Net
, was launched in South Africa. By 1990 the company had become listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and within five years the DStv bouquet had been created and was being broadcast through innovative and pioneering digital technology into most countries in Africa.
Today there are more than 1,5 million subscribers across the continent, receiving one of the most varied and entertaining ranges of television content available on the planet. MultiChoice Africa’s parent company is MIH, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of South African media group Naspers, listed on the JSE and the Nasdaq.
MultiChoice country offices or franchise operations were established in a number of countries, among them Zimbabwe, where MultiChoice Zimbabwe was founded in the early 1990s and is the authorised subscription management and customer service representative of the DStv brand.
Key to DStv’s success has been its ability to meet the needs of viewers, recognising how best to satisfy that demand through provision of relevant broadcast channels. During the past decade the growth in the number and variety of channels has been hallmark of the DStv brand, and it is today one of the most broad-based and successful satellite television services in the world.
The genres represented are comprehensive in terms of content: movies, sport, news, religion, children’s interest, music, information and education documentaries and lifestyle programmes. Among the channels are some of the world’s best-known names in television — from BBC, Sky News and CNN to Mtv, Discovery and Hallmark, as well as Africa’s most respected broadcast brands, such as SuperSport, M-Net and SABC. While English is the main language medium used, specialised bouquets in Portuguese, German and South Asian language are also found, as are specialised language channels on the main bouquet — including French, German, Afrikaans, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch.
Of special interest to Zimbabweans is the fact that, uniquely, viewers in this country are able to view not one but two M-Net channels. M-Net on channel 3 is the service aimed primarily at South African audiences, while M-Net on channel 103 is that aimed at audiences elsewhere in Africa.
Because of Zimbabwe’s position between South Africa and central Africa, the bouquet hosts both these channels, giving the variety engendered by the two — including on M-Net on channel 3 popular soaps like Egoli and Afrikaans-language series, and on M-Net on 103 international soaps, especially in the early evening viewing time, as well talk shows like Oprah.
Also popular among Zimbabweans is sport of all kinds, which is to be found in plentiful supply on the SuperSport channels. The 2006/2007 English Premiership season has recently started and throughout the season matches will be screened, mostly on SuperSport 3, which is the dedicated soccer channel.
As a result of the excitement surrounding the Premiership, MultiChoice has partnered with the Zimbabwe Independent, Zack’s Electrical and Spar to present a competition exclusive to readers of the Independent. The information on this can be found in the sports pages of this issue.
* Meanwhile, M-NET has appointed Joseph Hundah to the position of operations director for Sub-Saharan Africa. The announcement sees the Zimbabwean-born Joseph move from his current position as M-Net’s chief financial officer to heading up a new business unit, aimed specifically at meeting the needs of M-Net’s audiences in Africa. — Own Correspondent.