|Broadcast area||Sub-Saharan Africa (as e.tv Africa)|
|Headquarters||Cape Town (Main Building)|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Launched||1 October 1998|
|Sentech||Channel depends on nearest repeater|
|GOtv||Channel 120 (eAfrica feed) until 31 March, 2022|
e.tv (commonly referred to on-air as e) is the first and only privately owned free-to-air television station in South Africa. It is the fifth terrestrial television channel in the country, following three channels that are operated by the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (that is SABC 1, SABC 2 and SABC 3) and the privately owned subscription-funded M-Net. In 1997, the e.tv channel bought the broadcasting rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) matches and, later on, they also bought the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League matches.
Midi TV was the consortium that won the broadcasting licence in 1998 to operate the channel. It is majority-owned by black empowerment group Hosken Consolidated Investments (via its subsidiary eMedia Holdings), with Remgro having a minority-stake. Hosken Consolidated Investments' major shareholder is the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
The consortium has had many changes in ownership, however the dominant player has always been HCI: it had bought out minority black shareholders who had failed to repay loans they used to purchase the Midi TV stake. Warner Bros. sold their 25% shareholding of the channel in 2001, concerned that they would never be able to exercise full ownership: South African media ownership law restricts foreign entities to owning no more than 25% of a television channel.
Marcel Golding, a former trade unionist, was controversially forced to resign as the station's CEO in late October 2014, following the polemic purchase of shares he made in South African electronics equipment maker Ellies. HCI had insisted, in court documents, that the purchase of the R24 million stake in the electronics maker, which also produces digital set-top boxes, was without authorisation. Golding had, challenging his removal as CEO, stated that attempts to get rid of him was due to the ANC government wanting to control the station's news output through direct interference.
Controversy and milestones
In January 2001, controversy arose when e.tv showed floor plans and other blueprints for renovations of Genadendal Residence, the official residence of President Thabo Mbeki, on air. The government responded by threatening legal action, citing that the station contravened The Protection of Information Act. In August, it was reported to be the fastest-growing channel in South Africa. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, e.tv joined other South African broadcasters in agreeing to continue broadcasting statements by Osama bin Laden. It was also the site of an anthrax scare in October.
In 2002, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa exonerated e.tv from overstepping its code of conduct after complaints were received following its screening of series from the Emmanuelle soft-core porn series. In June, it failed in its attempt to stop M-Net from acquiring a new broadcast licence.
In 2004, e.tv was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority, after launching a series of newspaper advertisements, in which the SABC was purported to be a "state broadcaster" and "lacking editorial independence." In October, the channel failed in its bid to force the court to allow a live broadcast of the proceedings of the Schabir Shaik trial. In November, it was reported that Midi TV owed ICASA R7 million in licence fees.
In 2005, the channel was fined R55 000 for two offences of broadcasting 18-rated movies before 9pm. It was also prevented by a court ruling, which prevented it from airing a documentary concerning a prominent baby murder, but upon appeal, e.tv was ordered to show the documentary to the case's prosecutors for review. The station also fired prominent personality, Soli Philander, after a year's involvement. It also garnered controversy from conservative and religious groups, after it decided to broadcast softcore pornography late at night over the weekends.
In 2006, it refused to air a controversial interview with P.W. Botha before his 90th birthday, which both the SABC and M-Net refused as well. They also received 14 complaints after a contestant was injured in an episode of the local Fear Factor; the station retorted, saying they "gave fair warning" to participants prior to the show, which was upheld by the BCCSA.
The news reports of e.tv are sometimes critical of the SABC for having "close ties" to the ruling African National Congress. Both print and outdoor campaigns by e.tv imply an inherent bias in the SABC's news coverage. More recently[vague], e.tv joined a coalition of media outlets in a lawsuit to force the courts to allow live audio and/or video feeds to be broadcast from trials involving government officials and other prominent figures.
Because of its liberal policies on adult content and its continual reinforcement of being free-to-air while it broadcast blockbuster movies, e.tv seems to have won the ratings war against SABC, especially on weekends.
Starting in April 2013, the channel launched "e on Demand", a catch-up service that allows registered etv.co.za viewers to watch past episodes of their favorite TV shows as well as watch exclusive content. Many of e.tv's own productions are available to view including its popular weekday soap opera Rhythm City.
Beatlab was made available at the time on the platform.
At launch, StarSat (formerly known as TopTV) had entered negotiations with the brand for their additional channels before proofing to be fruitful and were only fortunate to launch eKasi+ in 2015 as a replacement for BET. Later that year, e.tv was made available in HD on DStv with content added onto Catch-up.
In 2017, eAfrica+ and eKasi+ were replaced with True African and eExtra from April. A month later, news circulated that the brand's 4 channels might be available on DStv before being made official a day before its launch.
In 2018, True African and Beatlab TV were discontinued as part of realignment strategy to offer viewers fresh entertainment. The channel welcomed three additional channels which was their second news channel, OpenNews and their first reality channel, eReality and a female centric channel, eBella. An Afrikaans block known as Kuiertyd launched on eExtra.
In 2022, two more channels were added Xposed to replace Rewind while ePlesier launched as a new channel. On 31 March 2022, eTV Africa stopped airing on DStv and GOtv. In South Africa, e.tv remains on the platform alongside eNCA while eExtra, eMovies, eMovies Extra and eToonz no longer available on the platform until August 2022.
In early days e.tv had a strong focus on local content. Many of e.tv's original productions received high ratings, beating those of the SABC.
Backstage, set in an arts college in Cape Town, started off on a high note when it first aired in 2000, but things soured when e.tv had a dispute with the production company, and several popular cast members left the show. Because of low ratings to other shows in its time slot, Backstage was cancelled as of the end of June 2007. Backstage has since been replaced by "Rhythm City" which is set in the South African music industry.
Scandal!, set in a mass media company in Johannesburg, experienced increased ratings after its timeslot was changed from 8pm to 7.30pm. In its previous timeslot, the soapie clashed with SABC 1's established soapie Generations. In 2015 the channel introduced new dramas such as Ashes to Ashes, Matatiele, Umlilo, Z'bondiwe, Gold Diggers, Traffic, Broken Vows and eKasi:Our Stories, Imbewu: The Seed and Isipho, reality shows like Blame it on Fame, Rolling With, Katch it with Kanyi, Coke Studio Africa, Step Up or Step Out, Reality Check, Superdance South Africa and Durban Gen.
From January 2016, e.tv is the first free-to-air channel in South Africa to air the hit shows and dramas such as Empire, Devious Maids, How To Get Away With Murder, The Fixer, Chicago and Hawaii Five-O.
Craz-e is the children's slot for the channel, airing selected content specially curated. The slot is aired weekdays from 14:30 CAT as a two-hour programming block. Initially it was a separate block for teens, the second one being named Littl-e for preschoolers, until they were merged in 2018. The slot was particularly popular for its local shows: Sistahood, Frenzy, Shiz Live and Craz-e World Live, which were discontinued in 2019. Littl-e's local offerings such as Cool Catz and Siyabonga Gogo were also discontinued, although reruns still air on eToonz. Craz-e gave rise to new fresh talent such as Zola Hahlatse and Pearl Modiadie.
Over the years, e.tv still dominates the weekend ratings war with movies against the SABC, due to having multiple deals with various distribution companies. Some movies first premiere on the e.tv channel before moving on to eMovies or eMovies Extra.
On 15 July 2019 the channel introduced Turkish dramas in their primetime slot with the first being Die Vreemdeling. Thereafter the channel started airing reruns of past and present Turkish dramas from eExtra.
e.tv previously secured broadcast rights of the UEFA Champions League and the World Wrestling Entertainment's various shows; which aired on weekdays and weekends, these received the highest ratings in their timeslots. WWE rights are currently held by DStv's Supersport.
As of August 2019, e.tv acquired broadcasting rights of the Premier League. The decision comes after Kwese Free Sports ceased broadcasting on the Openview platform. However, they only broadcast one live match every Saturday on e.tv News instead of e.tv or eExtra. The channel recently signed deal to also broadcast Bundesliga. E.tv also holds domestic rights to the American NBA.
In 1998, e.tv launched its very own dedicated news division from Cape Town called "eNews" which went LIVE at 7pm daily. eNews "Morning Edition" which was a morning news bulletin was also broadcast on e.tv at the top of each hour during its iconic breakfast show called the "Toasty Show".
From the early 2000's, eNews was widely becoming popular for its 7pm daily news bulletin - "eNews Prime Time". Following the need for more rolling coverage on news developments and breaking news, several other bulletins were launched on e.tv;
-eNews Sunrise, which was a cross over from the e.tv breakfast show called "Sunrise". This bulletin featured the mornings news headlines at every 30 minutes between 5:30am and 8am on weekdays.
-Newsday, which was primarily a lunch time news bulletin at 1pm on weekdays. In 2008, following the launch of its sister channel eNCA (then known as the eNews Channel), "Newsday" was simulcast on e.tv at 1pm.
-eNews Prime Time, which was a 7pm news bulletin featuring the days top stories, business news, sport and weather. From 2016 to 2018, eNews Prime Time was re-launched under a more dynamic news bulletin called "eNews Direct" in a new time slot at 8pm on weeknights and at 7pm on weekends.
-eNews Late Edition, which was a late night news bulletin featuring the days top stories, business news, sport and weather at 10pm. The Late Edition news bulletin ended in 2014 and is no longer broadcast on e.tv.
-eNews Early Edition, which was a 5 Minute update on the days news headlines at 6pm on weekends. The Early Edition news Bulletin ended in late 2017 and is no longer broadcast on e.tv.
As of 5 August 2019, e.tv consolidated and combined its 1pm and 8pm bulletins along with the OpenNews channel and renamed the OpenNews channel and eNews bulletins to e.tv News.
Since August 2019, the daily news bulletin was rebranded as "e.tv News" and is presently broadcast at 8pm on weeknights featuring the days top stories, business news, sport and weather. The weekend edition called "South Africa Tonight" features a simulcast at 7pm from e.tv's sister channel eNCA.
As of 2022, e.tv no longer broadcasts a lunch time news bulletin at 1pm.
Video on demand
The Video on demand (VOD) offer of the E.tv is available on several platforms:
- Web: Free VOD has been collected under the E.tv eVOD brand.
- Mobile device: eVOD are available on several South Africa mobile networks.
Also referred to as eNews Channel Africa. A 24-hour television news broadcaster which focuses on both South African and African stories. The broadcaster became the nation's first & most-watched 24-hour news service when it launched in June 2008. e.tv first ever news channel that is available exclusively on DStv.
A movie channel showcasing family friendly movies mixed with dramas and romance.
A general entertainment channel offering a variety of telenovelas as well as other programming.
A second movie channel showing mostly action and thriller movies
A children's channel featuring past and current programs seen on e.tv kids block, Craze.
It promises to be a binge watchers paradise with thrilling real-life stories, fascinating characters, and raw human emotion. There's something compelling for everyone.
It cover a range of genres, including lifestyle, food, music, art, and general entertainment. It will also broadcast certain sitcoms and dramas.
A reruns channel playing Turkish dramas seen on other stations.
A rerun channel playing content from e.tv and its other set of channels
A second news and first sports channel from eMedia Investments that launched exclusively on Openview.
A female-based channel featuring a mix of reality, lifestyle, and telenovelas.
A music channel offering a mix of local and international hits.
A pan-African channel displaying content from around Africa.
- "Where we come from". eMedia Holdings. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
- "Welcome". Hosken Consolidated Investments. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
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