DStv drops 2 TV channels

2018-09-28 15:46

Cape Town – MultiChoice is dumping the Sony Channel (DStv 127) and Sony MAX (DStv 128) from its DStv satellite pay-TV platform at the end of October after not renewing the channel's carriage contract with Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN).

MultiChoice was asked why it decided not to renew the carriage contract but declined to answer.

In a terse statement, MultiChoice says that the Sony channels will as from end October 2018 stop airing on DStv. The current contract with Sony will expire end of October.

Emma Marshall, spokesperson at Sony Pictures Television for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region told Channel24 in response to a media enquiry on Friday that "Sony Pictures Television's channels in Sub-Saharan Africa, Sony Channel and Sony Max, will stop being carried on MultiChoice’s DStv platform at the end of October, as the contract between SPT and MultiChoice expires at that time".

"We thank our viewers in the region for their support. SPT is excited about future opportunities in the Sub-Saharan African market and is exploring programming options for the continent."

The Sony Channel rebranded from Sony Entertainment Television in September 2014 after MultiChoice added it 11 years ago in November 2007.

In January 2011 MultiChoice added Sony MAX as a male-focused channel and as a replacement for Sony's terminated Animax channel. MultiChoice then said that it hoped to do "many more Sony channels on our DStv platform" and that “Sony MAX is fitting in perfectly with the DStv platform”.

The Sony Channel and Sony MAX will remain available as linear TV channels on Cell C black on channels 203 and 204.

The Sony Channel and Sony MAX have largely been neglected over the past two years.

In 2016 MultiChoice Africa removed both channels from DStv and GOtv elsewhere in Africa outside of South Africa but later returned it to its GOtv digital terrestrial television subscription service.

In South Africa, MultiChoice also came close to removing the channels at this time, according to sources, who said that the two Sony channels were destined to suffer the same fate as in the rest of Africa after Naspers' pay-TV arm embarked on a wider plan to cut back on channels with too much repeat programming that were angering DStv subscribers.

In the end the Sony Channel and Sony MAX both got a last-minute reprieve, but now the axe finally came down on the channels due to too much old content and repeats.

In mid-2016 Sony Pictures Television Networks for Africa and the Sony Channel dragged MultiChoice into scandal for the faking of Gogglebox South Africa by making as if TV households were watching content across DStv channels that MultiChoice never even showed. Gogglebox SA got cancelled with people involved in the scandal fired.

2017 also marked the first year since SPTN started doing it in 2013 that Sony Television in Africa stopped doing any kind of annual Sony upfront event in South Africa with 2018 that also had none.

The accomplished and respected Sonja Underwood who used to be Sony Pictures Television Networks' territory director for Sony Africa's channels also left Sony at the end of March 2017, something that Sony didn't announce, with no new Africa boss who engaged with media or TV critics the past two years.

In July 2018 SPT promoted Kunle Falodun as the "country" leader for Africa to drive and look after Sony's plans and its channel distribution for the African continent, including South Africa.

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