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Launched1 October 1998
Picture format4:3 (576i, SDTV) 16:9 (1080i, HDTV)
Slogan"Number 1 Home Of Entertainment " & "Free Your Imagination"
CountrySouth Africa
Broadcast areaSouth Africa, Nigeria
HeadquartersCape Town
Johannesburg Hyde Park
Sister channel(s)eToonz
eMovies Extra
SentechChannel depends on nearest Sentech repeater
StarSat, StarTimesChannel 160, Channel 156
DStvChannel 194 (South Africa)
Channel 250 (eAfrica feed)
OVHDChannel 104

e.tv is the first and only privately owned free-to-air television station in South Africa. It is the fifth terrestrial television channel in South Africa, 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.


Midi TV was the consortium that won the broadcasting licence in 1998 to operate the channel. It is currently owned by black empowerment group eMedia Investments (Formerly Hosken Consolidated Investments) and Remgro, a part of the Rupert business empire.

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 controversial purchase of shares he made in South African electronics equipment maker Ellies.[1] 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 in court documents, 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.[2]

Controversy and milestones[edit]

In January 2001, 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.[3] In August, it was reported to be the fastest-growing channel in South Africa.[4] After the September 11, 2001 attacks, e.tv joined other South African broadcasters in agreeing to continue broadcasting statements by Osama bin Laden.[5] It was also the site of an anthrax scare in October.[6]

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.[7] In June, it failed in its attempt to stop M-Net from acquiring a new broadcast licence.[8]

In 2003, it was awarded a contract from Uthingo to broadcast the National Lottery results live.[9]

In 2004, e.tv was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority after launching a series of newspaper advertisement in which the SABC was purported to be a "state broadcaster" and "lacking editorial independence."[10] In October, it failed in its bid to force the court to allow a live broadcast of the proceedings of the Schabir Shaik trial.[11] In November, it was reported that Midi TV owed ICASA R7 million in licence fees.[12]

In 2005, it was fined R55 000 for two offences of broadcasting 18-rated movies before 9pm.[13] It was also prevented by court ruling preventing it from airing a documentary concerning a prominent baby murder, but upon appeal was ordered to show the documentary to the case's prosecutors for review.[14][15] The station also fired prominent personality Soli Philander after a year's involvement.[16][17][18] It also garnered controversy from conservative and religious groups after it decided to broadcast softcore pornography late at night over weekends. It was also to be subpoenaed to appear before the Parliament's home affairs portfolio committee after failing to attend a hearing on pornography; e.tv subsequently claimed that they were given too short notice.[19][20]

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.[21] 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.[22][23]

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, 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.

StatSat TV (formerly known as TopTV) has now announced the arrival of eMovies+, eKasi+ and e Africa+ in its R99 bouquet in December 2013. The provider later apologized that the channels will not arrive until January 2014. In May 2017, information was leaked about eToonz, eMovies, eMovies Extra & eExtra on Multichoice's DStv and launched on May 17. In 2018, e.tv launches a brand new female-orientated channel called eBella on Monday 5 March On Openview HD and DStv.

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.[24] Many of e.tv's own productions are available to view including its popular weekday soap opera Rhythm City.

In November 2018, e.tv launched two additional channels OpenNews and eReality.


Local Productions

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.[25] 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 (South African TV series), Matatiele, Umlilo, Z'bondiwe, Gold Diggers, Traffic, Broken Vows and eKasi: Our Stories. It also introduced new South African reality shows such as Coke Studio. Ashes to Ashes was renewed for a second season. The channel is currently airing another series called Imbewu: The Seed

From 2009 the channel also broadcast Superdance South Africa, a Latin dance competition.[26]

International content

In South Africa, e.tv hosted some HBO shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

From January 2016, e.tv is the first free-to-air channel in South Africa to air the hit show Empire. The channel also broadcasts Lip Sync Battle from USA and the South African versions . In September 2017, Days of Our Lives moved from SABC3 to etv.

The channel also airs the Family Feud.


e.tv previously secured broadcast rights of the UEFA Champions League and the World Wrestling Entertainment's various shows;[27] which aired on weekdays and weekends, these received the highest ratings in their timeslots. e.tv broadcast WWE programming everyday and had come to brand itself as "the home of WWE". As of 2009, WWE pay-per-views were e.tv-exclusive and aired only 7 days after the US premiere. But viewership started to decline and a demand on movies increased. The rights are now carried on DStv's Supersport


The channel started broadcasting news bulletins from both Cape Town and Johannesburg, until 2016, when the channel started broadcasting news from Johannesburg. Initial news broadcasts were criticised[ for being too focused on Cape Town, with news from other regions not given enough prominence. The channel's master control still runs from its Kloof Street production centre in the city.

e.tv has 4 news programs and a 1-minute news program.

eNews Morning (Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Setswana)

It is aired on weekdays at 8 A.M.

eNews 1PM

It is aired on weekdays at 1 P.M. Hosted by Duduzile Ramela & Sandile kaNqose.

eNews 8PM

Airs on weekdays at 8 P.M. From Monday to Thursday hosted by Sally Burdett and Fridays by Tony Ndoro

eNews Headlines

Airs on weekends at 6 P.M. hosted by Gareth Edwards

eNews 7PM

Airs on weekends at 7 P.M. also hosted by Gareth Edwards

Other Channels[edit]

e.tv first ever news channel that is available exclusively on DStv. Previously called eNews Channel.

24-hour movie channel. Previously called eMovies+.

Previously called eKasi+, displays e.tv's series which have either appeared on the channel before or yet to be shown and comedic movies on weekends

  • eMovies Extra

Sister channel of eMovies+ and eExtra showing mostly action and thriller movies

  • eToonz

A children's cartoon channel featuring cartoons already shown on e such as Pokémon and their original characters, the Cool Catz. Previous called eToonz+

  • eBella

A female-centered channel reflecting the lives and stories of women around the world with a mix of speciality shows and telenovelas that empower and celebrate the female market.

  • OpenNews

A second news channel from eMedia Investments that launched exclusively on Openview.

  • eReality

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.

New look[edit]

To fit in with their new 24-hour news channel eNCA, e.tv changed their look on 1 January 2008, giving it a simplistic look and modern design.[citation needed]

The channel once again went through a redesign of its graphics package, with a more 3D appearance in January 2013.[citation needed]

In November 2017, e.tv gave eMovies+ and eToonz+ a new look to fit in with their other channels red look and dumped the '+' sign from both these channels proclaiming them as eToonz and eMovies from that point onward.

In November 2018, the channel changed their red look to a golden look. This was in commemorating the channel's 20th Anniversary.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.etv.co.za/news/2014/10/28/etv-ceo-marcel-golding-resigns
  2. ^ http://groundup.org.za/article/media-meltdown-emails-disclose-who-really-runs-south-african-show_2394
  3. ^ "E-tv may be charged with security breach". News24. 2001-01-11. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  4. ^ "e.tv growth outstrips other channels". 2001-08-21. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  5. ^ "SA media take a stand". News24. 2001-10-12. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  6. ^ "Anthrax hoax lands man in court". News24. 2001-10-19. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  7. ^ "e.tv wins Emmanuelle case". News24. 2002-03-13. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  8. ^ "e.tv fails to close Open Time". News24. 2002-06-10. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  9. ^ "e.tv to call the lucky numbers". News24. 2003-03-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  10. ^ "SABC 'not a state broadcaster'". News24. 2004-04-20. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  11. ^ "Shaik: e.tv broadcast bid fails". News24. 2004-10-13. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  12. ^ "M-Net, e.tv owe Icasa millions". News24. 2004-11-08. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  13. ^ "Commission fines e.tv R40 000". News24. 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  14. ^ "e.tv to fight Jordan ruling". News24. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  15. ^ "Jordan: e.tv must show film". News24. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  16. ^ "Soli to host new e.tv show". News24. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  17. ^ "Soli, e.tv at loggerheads". News24. 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  18. ^ "e.tv: 'We fired' Soli". News24. 2005-12-06. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  19. ^ "Porn lands e.tv in trouble". News24. 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  20. ^ "e.tv 'disappointed' over porn". News24. 2005-11-17. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  21. ^ "e.tv says no to PW interview". News24. 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  22. ^ "Fear Factor draws complaints". News24. 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  23. ^ "E.tv 'gave fair warning'". News24. 2006-03-28. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  24. ^ "e On Demand - Featured". e.tv. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
  25. ^ "Backstage takes e.tv to court". News24. 2002-03-16. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  26. ^ "Superdance South Africa launches". Etv.co.za. Etv.co.za. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Get ready to rumble". News24. 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2006-05-28.


External links[edit]