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Launched 1 October 1998
Picture format 4:3 (576i, SDTV) 16:9 (1080i, HDTV)
Slogan "Number 1 Home Of Entertainment "
Country South Africa
Language English
Broadcast area South Africa, Nigeria
Headquarters Cape Town
Sister channel(s) eToonz, eMovies, eExtra, True African, eMovies Extra, Beatlab.TV and eNCA
Website www.etv.co.za
Sentech Channel depends on nearest Sentech repeater
StarSat Channel 160
DSTV, Startimes Channel 194, Channel 156
OVHD Channel 104

e.tv is the fifth terrestrial television channel in South Africa, following three channels that are operated by the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC 1, SABC 2 and SABC 3) and the privately owned subscription-funded M-Net, operated by Multichoice. It is the first privately owned but free-to-air television station in the country.

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.

The channel started broadcasting from both Cape Town and Johannesburg. It has 4 news bulletins: its morning news bulletin eNews Direct Sunrise at 5:30 am (with its breakfast show, Sunrise) (the Zulu and Xhosa bulletin at 5:45 am and 8:00 am, the Sotho and Setswana bulletin at 6:30 am, the Afrikaans bulletin at 7:30 am and the English bulletin at 6:00am and 7:00 am), its lunchtime news bulletin eNews at 1pm, its evening news bulletin eNews at 8pm and its weekend evening bulletin eNews at 7pm. In 2008, the evening news was called eNews Prime Time until it was replaced by eNews Direct in 2016. 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.

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.


Midi TV was the consortium that won the broadcasting licence in 1998 to operate the channel. It is currently owned by black empowerment group Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) 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 Genadedal, 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]

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.

Local productions[edit]

Another point of criticism of the station has been the perceived lack of involvement in producing South African content. e.tv has commissioned soap operas which are broadcast in prime time, and commissioned the occasional documentary[citation needed].

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 at a tabloid newspaper, 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, Gold Diggers and new seasons of Traffic 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 telenovela, "Broken Vows".

Foreign shows[edit]

In South Africa, e.tv hosted some HBO shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It has also secured broadcast rights of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) various shows;[26] which airs on weekdays and weekends, these receive the highest ratings in their timeslots. e.tv broadcasts WWE programming everyday and has come to brand itself as "the home of WWE". As of 2009, WWE pay-per-views are now e.tv-exclusive and they air only 7 days after the US premiere. The rights to broadcast were previously held by satellite provider DStv's SuperSports channel. e.tv currently airs WWE programming on a one-week tape delay with WWE Raw airing just 6 days after the US premiere and Editing Out 2 Hours Of Raw While Editing Out 1 Hour of Smackdown. e.tv also airs SmackDown and Main Event while its sister channel eKasi+ shows new episodes of NXT, Superstars, Vintage and Experience.

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.

From July 2017, The Young and the Restless will no longer in South Africa. From September 2017, Days of Our Lives will move the channel from SABC 3 to the channel, and WWE will move from the channel to SuperSport (DStv).

Other Channels[edit]

24-hour movie channel. Previous 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+

  • True African

Previously eAfrica+ and eNolly+ showcasing the beauty of the pan-African culture with movies and series

  • Beatlab.tv

e.tv's first music channel showcasing local and international music videos and featuring e.tv's hit music show Club 808 : Make some Noise

New look[edit]

To fit in with their new 24-hour news channel eNCA, e.tv changed their look in 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]

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. ^ "Get ready to rumble". News24. 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 

External links[edit]