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SA news channel falls silent before big launch

2013-08-21 11:45
Cape Town – Africa News Network 7, shortened to ANN7 and no indication of how the name was arrived at, will launch this evening at 18:00 on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on channel 405 with big perception problems as South Africa's third 24-hour TV news channel.
ANN7 – funded through Infinity Media by the politically connected Gupta family as well as president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane Zuma who is also an investor – will join the fray of the fast growing 24-hour TV news landscape.
ANN7 is likely to face an uphill battle for viewers as it joins the existing and established eNCA (DStv 403) and the SABC's new 24-hour TV news attempt, SABC News (DStv 404) which launched at the beginning of this month.
The Guptas were scandalised earlier this year after the now notorious "Gupta wedding" which revealed what was deemed too close ties with president Zuma.

No schedule yet
ANN7 started a massive recruitment drive in June for technical personnel, on-air talent and cameramen at its new news studio in Midrand and is still searching for more TV reporters, news editors and top journalistic talent.
On the day of its launch the news channel has not yet issued any schedule to the press, given specifics or summaries of programming, or announced or explained programming blocks.
ANN earlier announced some key talent like Chantal Rutter Dros formerly from M-Net's Carte Blanche who will anchor daily primetime blocks on ANN7 entitled ANN7 Headlines and ANN7 Prime.
ANN7 didn't respond to media enquiries the past few weeks seeking comment on various issues regarding the operations and news operations of the channel, its website or the origin of the channel’s name and didn’t make news executives or a channel head available for interviews.
ANN7 will make its debut with what is described as a "glitzy" launch event tonight at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Certain level or perception problems
Similar to Al Jazeera America which launched on Tuesday as a 24-hour TV news channel in America, industry insiders and TV critics are of the opinion that ANN7 also come with a certain level of perception problems due to who the financial backers of the new channel are and whether news will be politically slanted and it remains anyone’s guess as to whether viewers will gravitate towards ANN7's news offering.
In a brief statement earlier this month ANN7 which didn't respond to enquiries seeking further explanation after saying it will have "the most technologically advanced news channel in South Africa", said that the news channel will have "the latest newsroom automation systems” and “cutting edge electronic news gathering technology".
"I am looking forward to presenting viewers with a channel that is unique in its profile and choice of programmes," said Nazeem Howa, the director at Infinity Media in the statement the channel issued at the beginning of August.

Read more on:    dstv  |  ann7  |  multichoice  |  tv
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