CountrySouth Africa
Broadcast areaSub-Saharan Africa
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceM-Net +1 (defunct as of 2021)
Sister channels
Launched4 October 1986; 37 years ago (1986-10-04)
WebsiteM-Net website
SentechChannel depends on nearest repeater
DStvChannel 101 (HD)
Streaming media
DStv NowChannel based on Internet connection availability

M-Net (an abbreviation of Electronic Media Network) is a South African pay television channel established by Naspers in 1986.[1] 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 pm, until the slot closed on 1 April 2007.

In the early 1990s, M-Net added a second analogue channel called Community Services Network (CSN),[2] 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 the now-defunct M-Net Series and several film/movie channels based on genre and preference.


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The idea of a pay-TV network in South Africa came to life as early as 1982, 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).[3]

The initial project by Ton Vosloo in 1982 suggested that the new channel would restore the revenue of its newspapers.[4]

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.[3]

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.

On 27 November 1984, Foreign Affairs minister Pik Botha suggested the creation of a feasibility study for the subscription network, assisted by a working group.[4] On 25 April 1985, the press consortium won the bid, over 39 other applicants. Naspers would hold 26%, the three other groups 23% each and the two independent newspapers 5% each. The new service would have a set of guidelines: no news or political coverage, no exclusive sports screenings, no more than nine hours on air per day and no advertising. The format would emulate that of SABC's TV4, which ran on its black networks (TV2 and TV3) from 9pm to closedown.[4]

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.)[3] The service used the Oak Orion scrambling system, and the decoders were manufactured in South Africa by the local affiliate of Matsushita Electric.[5] That small start finally broke the TV monopoly by SABC.

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.[6] 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. Ot was a stunning success, through.

At the end of its first year, they recorded a loss of R37 million.[3] However, it pushed forward and eventually, the public started taking notice. After two years, the loss was turned into a R20 million profit.[3] 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 (and Sub-Saharan Africa's) first dedicated sports channel which spawned into sports-specific channels from 2003 onward. It was the year they adopted a new slogan – We Won't Stop the Magic, backed by a massive ad campaign.


1990 was the first year that they made a profit[7] 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."[8]) but during June 1991, they announced that they were putting their 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. In addition to news, the channel started airing sporting events, per a January 1991 amendment.[4]

In early 1994, M-Net started broadcasting to Nigeria in Lagos.[9] By 1995, the channel was also being carried in Uganda over VHF, Namibia over VHF and Lesotho using Lesotho Television's network.[10]

M-Net SuperSport changed its name in 1994 to SuperSport only, 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.[11] It was a major breakthrough for the channel as well as SuperSport, which had by then expanded to sports-and-leagues-specific TV channels on DStv and GOtv, MultiChoice's satellite TV services.

As of 1999, M-Net was one of the three television networks in the world to have agreements with every major American film studio, having signed a contract with Warner Bros., in an exclusive deal that was snatched from upstart terrestrial broadcaster e.tv. Its content would appear on its channels effective 1 April 1999.[12] On 1 November that year, M-Net expanded its Open Time slot to other African countries where the channel was relayed on terrestrial television.[13]


The channel rebranded again on 11 February 2001 with the new tagline "We Call it Magic". The new logo incorporated the iconic M symbol inside a square, representing the values of M-Net as a "brave, colourful and exciting channel", while also accommodating it with its sub-brands, and strengthening its ties with the wider network of M-Net sister channels. In addition, M-Net had secured the rights to the American reality show Temptation Island, shot in Belize.[14] The network also secured the rights to the smash hit reality format Big Brother, with the aim of producing a localised version for South Africa. The first season alone was set to be the biggest production to date, with a record-breaking number of 120 jobs, the equivalent of three separate productions, created in its making.[15] M-Net had plans to continue its growth strategy in 2002.[16] Following on from the success of Big Brother, the channel secured the rights to another groundbreaking international format, Idols, which premiered on 10 March 2002.[17]

High definition

Delivery of high-definition content started with the 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 for HD-PVR subscribers; the standard definition channel for non-HD-PVR subscribers is merely downscaled at the provider from the HD feed rather than having a devoted analog channel. In 2012, the original film/movie channels were expanded to 6 channels which grouped films according to genre/preference.[18]

M-Net channels


The original M-Net channel broadcasts general entertainment, as well as premiere movies, documentaries, music specials and first-run TV series. The channel has a timeshift service, a terrestrial service and a CSN in South Africa. In other African countries the channel broadcasts exclusively on the DStv Service with two different feeds, M-Net East for East Africa and M-Net West for West Africa. These feeds broadcasts nearly the same content, though the West African feed is 2 hours behind the East African feed as programmes are scheduled based on the local time zones of the regions (EAT and WAT respectively) except for some live programmes. Advertising on the East feed is targeted at Kenyan viewers while the West feed is targeted at Nigerian Viewers. Over the course of several years, M-Net has launched numerous sister channels. In DStv, the channel is only available to the high tier package Premium as it contains expensive content.

M-Net Edge

On 31 March 2017, M-Net Edge programs were moved to M-Net as part of a merge and various other channels from M-Net. On 29 January 2018, Vuzu AMP/Vuzu Amp was rebranded as 1Magic.

M-Net +1

The time shift channel, M-Net +1 was launched also for DStv Premium customers since 1 June 2016 on DStv channel 901.[19] However, the time-shifted channel was discontinued on 16 May 2021 due to increase of content preference by DStv Premium Subscribers on the DStv app.[20][21]

M-Net Movies

Main article: M-Net Movies

The original two movie channels, Movie Magic 1 and Movie Magic 2, launched in 1995 to coincide with the launch of DStv, were renamed M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2, respectively, in 2005. Two additional movie channels, M-Net Movies Stars (previously M-Net Stars which launched in 2009) and actionX (which was renamed M-Net Action in 2008), were later launched. In October 2012, the channels were expanded to six which grouped films according to genre and preference. The 7 film/movie channels were later reconsolidated into 4 numeric channels:channels by forster child...

1Magic and Me

Main articles: 1Magic and M-Net City

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 known as The Series Channel (renamed as M-Net Series in 2005) was introduced in April 1998 as a sister channel to the original M-Net channel. On 9 July 2013, this channel was split into three, namely:

On 11 September 2014, it was announced that Showcase and Reality would be discontinued and replaced with two new channels, Vuzu Amp and M-Net Edge, on 20 and 13 October, respectively.[22] 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 2015.

M-Net City, along with Vuzu, was closed on 29 October 2021 to be replaced by ME on its EPG slot. Both channels went dark on the platform by 2 February 2024.


Main article: kykNET

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.[23] DStv announced on 16 July 2014 that kykNet would be broadcast in high definition as of 12 August 2014.[24]

It was launched in the UK on TalkTalk's IPTV service, TalkTalk Plus TV, in October 2013.[25] However, it was dropped by TalkTalk in December 2015.[26] A kykNet International service is now available online to subscribers in selected countries in North America, Europe and Australasia via the Showmax platform.[27]


Vuzu, originally launched as Go in 2003, had a strong focus on Southern African youth, specifically preteens, teens and the 20–49 demographics, 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.

The channel was shut down, along with M-Net City, on 29 October 2021 to be replaced by Me

Mzansi Magic

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

Africa Magic, which started off as a single channel of the same name, is a brand owned by M-Net and MultiChoice and now comprises 7 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 6 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 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

Maisha Magic comprises four channels, Maisha Magic East & Maisha Magic Plus for Kenyan audiences and Maisha Magic Bongo & Maisha Magic Poa for Tanzanian audiences. They focus on East African movies, series and music. It was initially launched as Africa Magic Swahili but was later rebranded as Maisha Magic before it became Maisha Magic Swahili then rebranded again as Maisha Magic East. Maisha Magic Bongo have been working with many producers from Tanzania like Mtitu Game 1st Quality, Steps Entertainment, Halisi Film, Joh Films, Severini Film Entertainment, 360 Production etc.

In 2021, the brand introduced Maisha Magic Movies showcasing the best Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian movies.

Channel O

Channel O is a present 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.


SuperSport is a group of sport television channels carried on DStv and GOtv. It provides sports content in South Africa and many other African countries.

Magic Showcase and CineMagic

In November 2020, Novela Magic was launched which celebrates unique African Storytelling and showcases local content and African stories made by African talent by bringing together a rage of content from across the region on one platform.[28]

Two years later, it was announced that the channel would be replaced by Magic Showcase and CineMagic both tailor made for low tiered bouquets.[29]

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.

Present programming


Game shows

General entertainment

News and current affairs








Award Shows

Kids Shows

Past programming


Soap operas


Game shows


Soap operas





Television films








Talk shows

Sketch shows


News and current affairs



Awards Shows


Locally produced programming


Show Airs on
53 Extra Africa Magic
Africa's Next Top Model Africa Magic
Binnelanders kykNET
Bravo! kykNET
Carte Blanche M-Net
Cula Sibone Mzansi Magic
Dagbreek kykNET
Date My Family Mzansi Magic
Doubt Mzansi Magic
Dream School SA M-Net
Greed & Desire Mzansi Magic
Gospel Alive Mzansi Magic
Igazi Mzansi Magic
IsiBaya Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu
Isithembiso Mzansi Magic
Jara Africa Magic
JukeBox kykNET
Ka-Ching Mzansi Magic
Legacy M-Net
Lokshin Bioskop Mzansi Magic
Mashariki Mix Africa Magic
Our Perfect Wedding Mzansi Magic
Sifun'ukwazi Mzansi Magic
StarGist Africa Magic
The Queen Mzansi Magic
Tinsel Africa Magic
V Entertainment Vuzu
Villa Rosa kykNET
Zabalaza Mzansi Magic
Wang Verstana Mzansi Magic


Show Airs on
Egoli M-Net from 1993 to 2010
The Wild M-Net from 2011 to 2013

Awards and live shows

See also


  1. ^ "History – M-Net Corporate". M-Net Corporate. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  2. ^ Mass Media, Towards the Millennium: The South African Handbook of Mass Communication, Arrie De Beer, J.L. van Schaik, 1998, page 220
  3. ^ a b c d e "How pay-TV in SA was started". financialmail.co.za. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d "Africa ripe for the satellite harvest", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 1, July–September 1993
  5. ^ Green, David Robert (1989). M-Net Decoder Production, A Technical Analysis (Thesis). Cape Technikon.
  6. ^ Communication and Democratic Reform in South Africa, Robert B. Horwitz, Cambridge University Press, 2001, page 125
  7. ^ "Kinder-TV 'n groot hupstoot vir M-Net (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Die tyd is ryp vir M-Net-Nuus (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Lagos gets M-Net", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 3, May 1994
  10. ^ "Lagos gets M-Net", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 5, February–March 1995
  11. ^ "M-Net slaan slag met rugby op TV (Afrikaans)". beeld.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  12. ^ "Warner/M-Net sign deal", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 20, February–April 1999
  13. ^ "M-Net's open time over Africa", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 24, February–April 2000
  14. ^ "M-Net: They call it Magic", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 24, May–July 2001
  15. ^ "M-Net scoops Big Brother", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 24, May–July 2001
  16. ^ "M-Net boosts its West African subscriptions", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 32, February–April 2002
  17. ^ "M-Net secures top rated reality show for South Africa", Africa Film & TV Magazine, nº. 32, February–April 2002
  18. ^ "Mnet movies". 13 June 2023.
  19. ^ M-Net finally finds its 'plus one' News24. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  20. ^ MultiChoice culls the M-Net +1 TV channel on DStv after 5 years, says DStv Premium subscribers prefer to watch timeshift content on the DStv app. TV with Thinus. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021
  21. ^ MultiChoice scraps M-Net +1 TV channel 5 years after its launch Broadcasting Media Africa. 4 May 2021. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  22. ^ "M-Net Edge and VUZU AMP coming to DStv". channel24. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  23. ^ "DStv launching kykNET music channel". channel24. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  24. ^ "GoesHD". Archived from the original on 23 July 2014.
  25. ^ "TalkTalk launches World TV Boosts". 5 August 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016.
  26. ^ "TalkTalk to reduce international channel offering on YouView". a516digital.com. 25 November 2015.
  27. ^ kykNET goes global with ShowMax, Independent Online, 10 December 2015
  28. ^ "MultiChoice and M-Net launch first African only telenovela channel for DStv customers". Zuba – MultiChoice and M-Net launch first African only telenovela channel for DStv customers.
  29. ^ "M-Net launches two new channels, 'Magic Showcase' and 'CineMagic'".