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M-Net rolls out new TV show strategy

2012-10-17 19:47
Cape Town – M-Net is charting a radical new chapter for the South African pay-TV operator, changing its programming broadcasting strategy to bring subscribers new TV series as soon as they start in America – something which will mean a bit more homework for local viewers.

Starting this month, M-Net is shaking up the pay-TV broadcaster's value proposition. Subscribers on M-Net's analogue service and on MultiChoice's DStv platform will not only see the best TV series first, but also much sooner than before.

Where previously TV series on the M-Net and M-Net Series channels would usually start after or close to the conclusion of a particular season, M-Net is now bringing multiple new and existing TV series to subscribers within weeks – and in several cases within days - of their US debut.

This sea change in M-Net's programming and scheduling operations means that South Africa is finally catching up and adapting to the TV viewing experience of comparable TV markets like Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and elsewhere, where episodes of specific American TV shows are consumed almost as quickly as they become available.

New form of line-up

The one drawback is that it means a bit more homework for viewers since seasons of shows are often interrupted in America which also impacts the global roll-out of episodes in other international markets.

In return for seeing series and episodes immediately, viewers and subscribers have to contend with some interruptions.

Previously South Africans saw TV shows mostly once a season was complete – in a sense as a "DVD box set" with one new episode consistently available per week, over the course of 13 to 24 weeks. Now there might be interruptions and a week where no episode is shown.

"In our continued effort to bring viewers nothing but the best and exclusive entertainment, M-Net and sister channel M-Net Series are proud to announce that we will be enhancing this experience by bringing viewers some brand new shows and familiar favourites within days of the US premiere," said M-Net.

Part of the global conversation

"Now viewers will be brought that much closer to being part of the global conversation with some of the hottest series currently produced in the US. M-Net and M-Net series have started with a few, carefully selected titles, and will be adding even more hit shows to this new form of line-up as the months progress.

"We are very excited to be bringing series to the South African public so close to the US air dates; it's wonderful to not only bring fantastic content to our subscribers first but to also bring it to them as soon as possible," said Theo Erasmus, the channel director for general entertainment channels at M-Net.

"We would love our subscribers to join us in this new part of the journey with all its interesting challenges, as we continually strive to make the television viewing experience more and more magical."

What it means for viewers

If and when there is a special broadcast in the US – for instance a presidential address or the Superbowl – and the American TV network of a particular show decides not to air an episode that week, it will mean that M-Net and M-Net Series will follow suit and will not be able to air a next episode, said M-Net.

"If the distributor decides to stop the production in the middle and write off any additional episodes on the air because the series does not have strong ratings in the United States, the channels will do the same," says M-Net.

"In light of all of the above, please note that NCIS: Los Angeles was originally scheduled to start hot off the heels of the United States on Saturday 13 October at 20:30. Unfortunately, having received the running order from the distributor, the US will be taking numerous breaks in transmission of the show, which we would like to avoid.

"In light of this, the channel has decided to move out the series to start at a later date (February 2013) as opposed to having long breaks in between episodes. Whilst this will be the norm of playing shows hot off the heels of the US air date, this particular show would have been riddled with far too many breaks," explained M-Net.

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