|Broadcast area||Sub-Saharan Africa|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Launched||4 October 1986|
|Sentech||Channel depends on nearest repeater|
|DStv Now||Channel based on Internet connection availabilty|
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 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), 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.
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.) The service used the Oak Orion scrambling system, and the decoders were manufactured in South Africa by the local affiliate of Matsushita Electric.
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 (and Sub-Saharan Africa's) first dedicated sports channel which spawned into sports-specific channels from 2003 onward.
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 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
The time shift channel, M-Net +1 was launched also for DStv Premium customers since 1 June 2016 on DStv channel 901. 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.
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:
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. 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.
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. 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Novela Magic 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.
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.
|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|
|Wang Verstana||Mzansi Magic|
|Egoli||M-Net from 1993 to 2010|
|The Wild||M-Net from 2011 to 2013|