Cape Town – On Wednesday at 20:00 MultiChoice will launch a new channel, Zambezi Magic (DStv 160) on DStv for viewers in Southern Africa, outside of South Africa to give them access to South Africa's popular soaps.
Zambezi Magic will show SABC soaps ranging from SABC1's Generations and SABC3's Isidingo to SABC2's Muvhango among the curated content from the SABC’s archives, as well as shows pulled from M-Net and Mzansi Magic's shelves.
Zambesi Magic, a channel run and managed by M-Net for MultiChoice's DStv, aims to become a showcase of "quality programming from the southern tip of Africa" and a catalyst for the production of new regionalised content from this region.
By showing the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also try and curb the growing and lucrative black market in pirate copies of shows smuggled daily and weekly across South Africa's borders to neighbouring countries where viewers who can't watch these daily melodramas on TV pay for DVDs with burnt episodes.
Zambezi Magic will not however show the most recent episodes of these SABC soaps – the new channel which will not be accessible to DStv subscribers in South Africa, will show the soapies starting from previous seasons.
Zambezi Magic will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus subscribers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland.
"Zambezi Magic will offer the most sought-after archive content that has so far not been available outside of South Africa," says Addiel Dzinoreva, the head of the Zambezi Magic channel.
"The channel will also build regional entertainment brands by showcasing entertainment productions from the various Southern African countries," says Addiel Dzinoreva.
'Go-to channel for Southern African produced shows'
Besides the SABC soaps, and as part of MultiChoice's deal with the SABC for exclusive rights to archive content from the public broadcaster, Zambezi Magic acquired a large number of SABC shows for its channel line-up.
In addition to the SABC soaps, Zambezi Magic will also broadcast other SABC fare, including youth dramas like SABC1's Zone 14, Intersexions and Yizo-Yizo dealing with issues like HIV/Aids, as well as Khumbul'ekhaya, City Ses'La and SABC2 sitcom Stokvel.
M-Net and Mzansi Magic's Jacob's Cross and Cooking with Siba with Siba Mtongana, reality show Our Perfect Wedding, comedies like The Coconuts, Skwizas and Kota Life Crisis and It's For Life are also on the programming line-up for Zambezi Magic as part of repurposed TV fare, along with lifestyle shows like Goal Diggerz and Forever Young.
Zambezi Magic will broadcast the new Lusaka based lifestyle magazine show The Kool Roc Show and the channel says going forward many more local shows from other Southern African countries will be added to the channel.
"Our ultimate goal is to be the go-to channel for quality Southern African produced shows and to provide viewers with a channel they can trust to bring local stories made in their own backyards," says Dzinoreva.
"The launch of Zambezi Magic to the DStv platform is a significant one for us because this is proof that we listen to our viewers' requests for content that is closer to home," says Tim Jacobs, MultiChoice Africa CEO.
"Adding a channel that includes local productions also strengthens our association with the burgeoning entertainment industry in Southern Africa and reinforces our role in developing and supporting African production companies," says Jacobs.
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