Tag Archives: MultiChoice

Date set for MultiChoice JSE listing

Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, will list it’s pay TV unit MultiChoice on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on February 27.

Bob van Dijk

The company includes MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa and Showmax. Naspers originally announced its intention to list last September.

The move means Naspers shareholders will now hold a direct interest in MultiChoice rather than through Africa’s most valuable company.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered, top-40-JSE-listed African entertainment company.

“With strong financials, the flexibility of an ungeared balance sheet and deep local knowledge, we hope to deliver excellent returns to shareholders over time,” added group CEO Calvo Mawela.

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MultiChoice rules out PPV system

Pay TV company MultiChoice has ruled out offering a pay-as-you-view system in Nigeria despite consumer demand for the option.

Martin Mabutho

Martin Mabutho, the company’s chief customer officer, said in an interview held in Lagos: “We are not going to introduce a pay-as-you-view system. Our contract with our suppliers is on a month-to-month basis.

“The channels do not belong to MultiChoice. What we do is slash our prices in half to make our customers enjoy our services.”

Mabutho added that MultiChoice would continue giving its customers incentives like loyalty and acquisition promotions every quarter since they pay monthly for the company’s services regardless of whether they watch the channels.

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BBNaija moves to Nigeria

The forthcoming fourth season of African reality show Big Brother Naija will take place in Nigeria.

The news was revealed by John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, the company behind the programme, at a media briefing.

Auditions for this year’s instalment of the show will take place in eight locations across Nigeria on February 1 and 2: Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Ibadan, Benin and Enugu.

Ugbe said: “This fourth season promises to be even bigger than previous editions and underscores MultiChoice’s position as the biggest investor and driver of entertainment content on the continent.

“The show is known to bring excitement and entertainment to fans and viewers across the continent. It will house strangers over a period of three months who will contest against each other in a battle of wits for the ultimate prize.”

Since debuting in 2006, the show – the African version of the globally successful Big Brother format – has launched the careers of celebrities and influencers such as Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Gideon Okeke, Katung Aduwak, Bisola Aiyeola, Efe Ejeba and Uriel Oputa.

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African pay TV subs set to hit 46m

The number of pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow to 45.63 million by 2024, according to the newly published Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.

This suggests Sub-Saharan Africa will add 16 million subscribers in the next six years, marking an increase of 61%. Pay TV revenues were forecast to reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.

Three big operators – MultiChoice, Vivendi/Canal+ and StarTimes – dominate the Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV market, with a combined 93% market share.

At the end of 2018, pay TV operator MultiChoice had over 14.34 million subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms and this figure is estimated to increase by five million by 2024.

France’s Vivendi had 4.01 million subs to its Canal+ satellite TV platform and Easy TV by the end of 2018, which will climb to 6.21 million by 2024, said the report. StarTimes had 7.75 million pay TV subscribers by the end of 2018 and it is estimated to reach 14.85 million by 2024.

According to Simon Murray, principal analyst at the report’s publisher, Digital TV Research: “Subscriber numbers will climb by 61% over this period, but pay TV revenues will rise by only 42% – indicating lower ARPUs. Pay TV revenues will reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.”

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MultiChoice calls for Netflix rules

Africa’s largest pay TV operator MultiChoice has called for regulations to be imposed on Netflix as it blames the US-based streaming service for the subscriber losses it has suffered since 2017.

As a result of Netflix’s popularity among African viewers, pay TV companies MultiChoice and StarTimes are experiencing serious challenges to their business models and revenue streams.

In a recent report by Quartz Africa, Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, said his company had lost over 140,000 subscribers to Netflix, including 100,000 in the past financial year. The streaming service, he said, is also free from any affirmative action regulations, which gives the US firm a major advantage.

Even though pay TV companies are already competing with local streaming platforms like Iroko, Netflix’s plan to focus more on Nollywood and African content is set to create another area of competition for these companies in 2019.

Calvo Mawela

Netflix’s VP of international originals Erik Barmack told C21Media’s Content London conference in November that the streamer’s European team is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in 2019.”

In an article by Business Insider magazine, Netflix said: “The company is following Nollywood closely and focusing more on content. There are no plans to have a physical office in Nigeria. We are following the local industry closely and focusing more on content rather than physical presence.”

While pay TV companies work on having better streaming services and pricey data plans, Netflix has deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria in partnership with Spectranet in order to have a secure connection for its Nigerian audiences and also provide customers in Nigeria with a better video-streaming performance.

Despite the fact Nigerian movies such as Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st and Biyi Bandele’s Fifty are available on Netflix, thus creating competition in the Nigerian market, all hope is not lost for MultiChoice. The South African company still has three of its indigenous African Magic stations on DSTV, namely Africa Magic Yoruba, Africa Magic Hausa and Africa Magic Igbo.

Although the competition would impact viewers across Nigeria, perhaps leading to possible lower subscription fees for streaming and TV content packages, it will now be a fight between four major contenders: MultiChoice, StarTimes, Iroko and Netflix.

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MultiChoice scores FA Cup live rights

African pay TV company MultiChoice has acquired the broadcast rights to the 2018/19 Emirates FA Cup, the knock-out tournament organised by the Football Association of England.

Hennie Visser

MultiChoice customers will be able to watch tournament from its third round this weekend, as well as games from other football competitions such as the English Premier League, the European Champions League and Italy’s La Liga.

MultiChoice Africa CEO Hennie Visser said: “Our aim is to deliver a front-row view of the best football titles in the world for our valued DStv and GOTV customers. So from January 4, they will be able to enjoy the Emirates FA Cup live on SuperSport.

“This is part of our continuous efforts to put our customers at the heart of everything we do by making sure we deliver a quality service and the world’s best video entertainment at great value to our customers.”

FA Cup games will air on SuperSport on both GOtv and DStv.

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DStv Eutelsat winners announced

The winners of the eighth edition of the DSTV Eutelsat Star Awards essay and poster competition have been revealed.

The essay category was won by Tirzah Ikiri of Zamani College, Kaduna, while the poster award was won by Prosper Okarike of Graceland International College, Port-Harcourt.

The runner-up in the essay category was Micheal Okwutu of The Heavenly College, Lagos, while Wandoo Ayabam of Hill Crest School, Jos, was runner-up for the poster.

The Nigerian winners can now compete to be crowned Africa’s best in both categories. The competition was open to students between ages 14 and 19 and over 70 entries were received.

John Ugbe, CEO of pay TV group MultiChoice, said: “The award is meant to inspire innovative thinking among secondary-school students in Africa, to create awareness of how science and technology can be applied to everyday life and to showcase the many ways that satellites already impact the development of the African continent.”

This competition was organised by Naspers-owned MultiChoice in partnership with European satellite operator Eutelsat.

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DStv viewers demand pay-as-you-view

Nigerian subscribers to pay TV operator DStv have expressed their dissatisfaction with the services offered by parent company MultiChoice and are calling for a change in the law.

They are asking the federal government to force the Naspers-owned South African company to introduce a pay-as-you-view billing system.

This, they say, would ensure they get better value for their subscriptions, as they currently pay for services they do not receive.

Nigerian businessman Uzochukwu Nwafor told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN): “They need to put a regulation in place to help subscribers enjoy the money they paid to view the programmes.

“With that [pay-as-you-view] billing, we can save some money. I see subscribing to DStv programmes as a waste of money; it does not happen abroad or even in South Africa.”

Civil servant Silvanus Okonkwo also told NAN: “Many companies come to Nigeria and rip us off because our policies are not being implemented. Again, DStv does not have serious competitors and that is why the company is behaving as it pleases.

“The pay-as-you-go billing that telecommunications operators offer is supposed to be applicable to DStv,” he continued, adding that the National Assembly should concentrate on the number of subscribers available so that bouquet prices can be reduced.

Another DStv subscriber, Ishmael Lawal, said the decoder was not working properly as he usually receives poor signals. He said: “The company cuts off subscriptions two days before expiration without warning. Again, they keep repeating programmes when one had paid to get new and trending programmes.”

A source at the Consumer Protection Council said it had taken MultiChoice to court over the issue.

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MultiChoice ranks fourth in ads list

African pay TV company MultiChoice ranks fourth on the list of the top 20 advertisers in Nigeria for 2017, a recently published report has revealed.

Business publishing company MediaFacts’ study looked at the above-the-line category in Nigeria’s advertising industry.

MultiChoice, together with other Nigerian companies including Nigerian Breweries and Cadbury Nigeria, had a combined ad spend of N7.4bn (US$20.4m).

The report also reflects the fact that despite the economic recession in the country in 2017, advertisement spent on television was on the increase.

On average, the total percentage of above-the-line ad spend in the first, second and third quarters of last year were 24%, 26% and 26.5% respectively.

MediaFacts is a book that is published every year on advertising and media buying trends in Nigeria, West and Central Africa.

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Educational TV bill passes second reading

A bill to amend Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act that would make the airing of educational programmes compulsory on all TV channels has passed through a second reading in the country’s House of Representatives.

Abiodun Faleke

The bill is co-sponsored by the Honourable Odebunmi Olusegun (APC, Oyo) and James Abiodun Faleke (APC, Lagos) and is an attempt to promote the teaching of courses or subjects in accordance with the curriculum in schools and also to help young children master electronic learning.

Others who supported or contributed to the bill include Reps Mohammed Monguno (APC), Borno; China Adamu (APC), Niger; Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbinayinma (APC), Edo; and Chris Azubuogu (PDP), Anambra.

Faleke said: “It is an effort to tackle and salvage the falling standard of education which is currently a national concern and embarrassment.

“If amended, all television/radio service providers such as MultiChoice (DSTV), StarTimes, NTA and others will be legally compelled to dedicate one or more channels to educational programmes.”

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MultiChoice academy opens doors

L-R Femi Odugbemi, Steve Ayorinde; Dr Idris Ziblim, John Ugbe and Dr Mike Okolo

African pay TV group MultiChoice has launched its long-awaited talent academy in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy (MTF Academy) will give 20 skilled Nigerian and Ghanaian individuals a one-year funded opportunity to learn skills in storytelling, film editing, cinematography and audio production. Filmmaker Odugbemi, the academy’s West Africa director, will pass on his knowledge in film and TV production to the students.

In addition to Odugbemi, Monday’s launch was attended by Steve Ayorinde, Lagos State commissioner of arts, culture and tourism; Dr Idris Ziblim, Ghana’s deputy minister of arts, culture and tourism; John Ugbe, regional MD of MultiChoice Nigeria; and Dr Mike Okolo from the Pan Atlantic University.

Ayorinde expressed his appreciation to MultiChoice for organising the initiative and giving Nigerian youths the opportunity to learn film and TV production. “MultiChoice deserves huge commendation, and these 20 students should consider themselves lucky,” he said.

“They need to acknowledge the fact that stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and across the continent expect a lot from them and should make good use of this opportunity.”

MultiChoice’s Ugbe added: “The film and television industry is the pioneer of creative industries in Africa and is particularly relevant as a tool for shaping the African narrative. We have been telling authentic and well-produced stories that only Africans themselves can tell.

“Nevertheless, there is a lot of raw talent that needs to be nurtured and polished. The academy will give such talent the opportunity to hone their skills, thereby increasing the pool of world-class talent within the industry. It’s also about teaching the selected candidates the business of film and television.”

Odugbemi said: “The talented creatives who will go through the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy will be primed as key players in the growth and sustainability of Africa’s creative film and television industry.

“As academy director, I will be preparing these candidates as future business owners who will, in turn, play their own part in building the economy around the industry. It’s time that we not only reap the rewards of high-quality TV and film products but also equally benefit from the investments behind the lens.”

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Mabaso named CEO of M-Net

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has appointed Nkateko Mabaso as the new CEO of its flagship channel M-Net in sub-Saharan Africa. The appointment is effective immediately.

Nkateko Mabaso

According to Mabaso’s predecessor Yolisa Phahle: “Nkateko has been appointed in recognition of his continued commitment and contribution to local programming that audiences love and watch in increasing numbers year on year. He is passionate about our continent’s film and television industry and I wish him every success.”

While serving as the acting CEO of M-Net, Mabaso ensured the successful implementation of content strategies as well as investments in initiatives like content creation and coproduction.

He also ensured local channels that MultiChoice operates across the continent produced content that generated revenue and massive audience growth. These channels include the Africa Magic channels, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo, Zambezi Magic, Mzansi Magic, 1Magic and others.

Mabaso said: “I am incredibly excited to assume this new role and for the future of the company. I will continue to focus my efforts on local content creation to meet the growing audience demand for home-grown programming.”

Mabaso joined M-Net in 2009 as a marketing manager for Channel O and Vuzu, where he oversaw the positioning strategy ahead of the Mzansi Magic launch. Before that, he held positions at advertising agencies The Jupiter Drawing Room and Grey Advertising South Africa, as well as project manager for Edcon Group.

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MTF Academy lines up 20 students

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has named the 20 students who have been chosen to participate in the company’s Talent Factory Academy (aka MTF Academy).

The 20 MTF Academy students

The two-month selection process looked at 3,000 entries from Ghana and Nigeria. It was handled by a group of film and television industry experts and MultiChoice’s regional academy director Femi Odugbemi.

The students are: Adeniyi Joseph, Allen Onyige, Blessing Bulus, Bolaji James, Dumevi Irene, Edmund Asamoah, Gilbert Bassey, Henry Denkirya, Indogesit Peter, Iroagalachi Precious, Kemi Adeyemi, Metong Minwon, Mnena Akpera, Moses Akerele, Nanret Paul Kumbet, Umm’salma Saliu, Ugwu Uchenna Eileen, Sonia Nwosu, Kemi Tamara Adeyemi and Tochukwu Nwaiwu.

Most have similar backgrounds and interests. Among them are TV personalities, cinematographers, presenters, photographers, writers and producers.

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Naspers to list MultiChoice on JSE

Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, plans to separately list entertainment subsidiary MultiChoice on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Imtiaz Patel

The new publicly listed company is named MultiChoice Group and comprises MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa and conditional access tech firm Irdeto.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This marks a significant step for the Naspers Group as we continue our evolution into a global consumer internet company. Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered top-40 JSE-listed African entertainment company.”

The level at which video entertainment has penetrated Africa is quite low, even though it is the fastest growing continent by GDP and population. This is why MultiChoice is being unbundled with limited leverage so it can pursue other opportunities in video entertainment.

This new business aims to offer streaming services online including DSTV Now and Showmax.

Video entertainment CEO Imtiaz Patel declared that: “There are significant growth opportunities for MultiChoice Group in Africa. The combination of MultiChoice’s reach, Showmax and DStv Now’s cutting-edge internet television service, alongside Irdeto’s 360-degree security suite, will provide a unique offering.”

Naspers’ video entertainment business, one of the fastest growing pay TV operators worldwide, entertains about 13.5 million households all over Africa due to its multi-platform structure.

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AMVCA winners unveiled

The sixth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) was hosted on Saturday evening at the Eko Hotels & Suites in Lagos.

Media personalities and movie stars from across the continent were present at the ceremony, dressed up and ready to have some fun.

The AMVCAs had some 120 nominations in 27 categories. These included Best Short Film/Online Video, Best Movie East Africa, Best Overall Movie and Best Television Series. Other special awards were the Trailblazer Award and Industry Merit Award.

The Best Television Series award was taken by This Is It, beating four other nominees that included Gina & Friends, Professor Johnbull, Papa Ajasco Reloaded and Relatives.

Meanwhile, the winner of the best documentary award was Dennis Wanjohi for his film The Flesh Business. Other nominees were Nightfall in Lagos (James Amuta), God’s Wives (Bolanle Olukanni), Styles Defunct by Ayaworanho3d (Aderemi Davies) and Calabar Carnival: What the People Think (Oghenefego Ofili).

Actress and former Big Brother Naija housemate Bisola Aiyeola also won the AMVCA Trailblazer Award, not to mention a car from pay TV group MultiChoice, for her role in the industry.

Renowned filmmaker and producer Tunde Kelani (Arugba, Life in Slow Motion, Dazzling Mirage) was honoured with the Industry Merit Award.

The AMVCAs had its inaugural edition in 2013 and has gone on to become the biggest annual award ceremony celebrating professionals in the film and TV industry in Africa.

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MultiChoice appeals price rise ruling

African pay TV group MultiChoice, parent company of digital platforms DSTV and GOtv, has appealed a court ruling that has blocked it from increasing its prices.

The Naspers-owned company was recently taken to court by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), which demanded that it stop all implementation of its new subscription rates in Nigeria.

On August 23, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja, ordered the company to halt the tariff hike until further notice.

However, MultiChoice Nigeria has appealed against the ruling and stated that it will continue to maintain the new tariff, describing the ruling as “an affront to the free market economy.”

In a statement, it added: “We have now filed a notice of appeal and an application for stay of execution, pending the hearing of the appeal. The CPC has been accordingly served with the requisite processes.”

In July, MultiChoice Nigeria announced plans to increase its subscription tariff from August 1, citing the nation’s economic situation and costs of maintenance as the reasons for the decision.

Many Nigerians decried the action, arguing that it was effectively “extortion,” and pleaded for government intervention.

MultiChoice is one of the leading broadcasting companies in Nigeria, where it began operations in 1993. Its pay TV services DSTV and GOtv provide video entertainment for subscribers in 49 sub-Saharan African countries.

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MultiChoice reveals Talent Factory shortlist

Broadcaster MultiChoice has released the names of 20 shortlisted applicants who have been selected to join the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).

Femi Odugbemi

Narrowing it down from about 3,000 applicants from Ghana and Nigeria, the MTF judges made their selections based on the candidates’ industry qualifications and their passion for telling the African narrative.

Femi Odugbemi, film director and producer and MTF regional director, said: “From the thousands of applications received, it’s evident there’s a strong desire to learn from and work with other African creatives.

“Not only will the MultiChoice Talent Factory be a springboard to a career in the entertainment industry, it will also create a closely knit community of African professionals with a willingness to narrate Africa’s stories to the world,” he added.

The shortlisted students include Nigerian candidates Idongesit Amba, Allen Onyige, Gilbert Bassey, Precious Iroagalachi, Nanret Paul Kumbet, Akpera Mnena, Umm’salma Saliu, Ugwu Uchenna Eileen, Sonia Nwosu, Moses Akerele, Metong Minwon, Bolaji Adelakun, Joseph Adeniyi, Kemi Tamara Adeyemi, Tochukwu Nwaiwu and Blessing Bulus.

John Ugbe

The Ghanaian candidates are Edmund Kobby Asamoah, Henry Konadu Denkyira, Irene Dumevi Yaamoakoa and Patience Esiawonam Adisenu.

MultiChoice will sponsor the students’ tuition, accommodation and stipend for the duration of their training in the academy. The MTF academy will begin on October 1.

John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice, said: “As a company that is deeply rooted in Nigeria, we understand that many young, aspiring filmmakers have the capacity to learn and strengthen their skillset to give back to their communities but may not be financially equipped to do so.

“The MultiChoice Talent Factory focuses on making sure that those gems are nurtured and their talents developed to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s creative industry.”

From next month, MTF students will begin to acquire new skillsets required to work in the television and film industry. At the end of the 12-month programme, they will be expected to produce content for TV and film that will air on M-Net channels as part of MultiChoice pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.

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CPC fights DSTV price hike

Nigeria’s Consumers Protection Council (CPC) is taking further steps to prevent pay TV company DSTV from forcing a price hike on its subscribers.

Babatunde Irukera

Days after Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered DSTV owner MultiChoice Nigeria to stop the planned implementation of higher tariffs, the CPC stated that Nigerian consumers are complaining about the DSTV subscription process.

According to the CPC, DSTV subscribers have been finding it difficult to purchase new bouquet plans with the old rates after the court ordered MultiChoice to halt its price rises.

Despite the directive given by the courts, DSTV is yet to confirm that they will adhere to this order or released any statement addressing the issue.

The court restriction was put in place after an application was filed on behalf of the Nigerian government by the CPC in case No. FHC/ABJ/CS/894.

The application was facilitated by Babatunde Irukera, director general of the CPC, who led other concerned Nigerians to appear in court for the case. Other applicants who jointly signed a nine-paragraph statement include Abimbola Ojenike, Eme David-Ojugo, Moray Adebayo, Teniola Medupin and Florence Abebe.

Based on the complaint, the court restrained DSTV from implementing the tariff hike and carrying out activities that may affect the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice.

The CPC is giving costumers a chance to have their complaints addressed, the council noted this in a statement. “In view of the continuing and increasing complaints that consumers are unsuccessful in renewing subscription in compliance with the order of the court, even after service of the order upon MultiChoice, the Council is setting up a special channel for receiving complaints for this purpose.”

The council stated that all subscribers experiencing any difficulty should email their complaints here, including information such as smart card number, name, telephone number, date and time of failed attempt to pay and, if possible, a screenshot or document that proves the complaint.

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MultiChoice introduces new channel

MultiChoice’s Yolisa Phahle

MultiChoice has launched a new channel, Star Life, on its pay TV platforms.

Starting from this week, DSTV and GOtv subscribers will have access to a 24/7 English-language channel that promises to showcase over two decades’ worth of award-winning and A-list shows. This includes TV dramas, Bollywood movies, celebrity dance shows and blockbuster movies.

However, Star Life is exclusive to DSTV Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family and GOtv Max bouquet subscribers. It will air on DSTV channel 167 and GOtv channel 23.

Speaking about the new channel, Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “Delighting our customers with exceptional content is key for our business.

“What makes Star Life a remarkable addition to our content offering is that it has content that is relatable, with shows that aim to tell stories about weaknesses, strengths, miracles and victories.”

Star Life is from Asian satellite TV group Star, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. Star is one of the leading companies in Indian TV programming and operates in 100+ countries worldwide.

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