Cape Town – DStv is taking away BET2 (DStv 135) at the end of November eight months after Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) in April said it is expanding its BET offering on DStv to two channels.
VIMN Africa and DStv are now contracting and consolidating the existing 2-channel BET offering from December to just one channel.
As a result, BET (DStv 129) which was just for DStv Premium subscribers, is being opened to DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers who got BET2 and would otherwise be left without BET programming.
It's not clear whether the BET split into two channels in April was a temporary bridging plan, or whether the plan to have two BET channels on DStv didn't work out.
In response to a media enquiry, VIMN Africa tells Channel24 Viacom is removing BET2 to "replace it with a fuller, more rounded entertainment experience on BET".
BET2 will cease to exist on 30 November.
In a joint statement MultiChoice and VIMN Africa says that "locally-produced content will play an increased role on the channel with BET Buzz continuing to air every weekday, a second season of Top Actor currently in production, and additional local commissions set to air in early 2016".
A 2-part documentary programme about the South African designer David Tlale will be shown "at launch", presumably the "launch" in December when BET2 is shuttered and BET becomes the only channel.
From 5 December BET will add a new Saturday night movie slot, broadcasting "classic urban movies". A two-month Eddie Murphy movie festival is being added with films like Best Defence, Beverly Hills Cop and The Golden Child.
As VIMN Africa goes back from 10 to 9 channels, Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of VIMN Africa says "we are delighted that DStv Compact and Extra subscribers will now be able to have access to BET's compelling general entertainment content that celebrates African and African-American culture".
VIMN Africa continues to run the BET International (StarSat 167) channel, the original international (UK) feed, on On Digital Media and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat satellite pay-TV platform which overlaps and carries a lot of the same programming as on BET like The Wendy Williams Show, but without the localised new African programming.
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