BBC Studios (BBCS) has partnered with satellite TV platform Openview to launch BBC UKTV, its first free-to-air channel in South Africa.
The channel launches on October 18 and will offer entertainment, natural history series, soaps and children’s shows from the BBCS catalogue.
Shows in the launch schedule include: food-themed The Great British Bake Off S8, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook and Mary Berry Cooks; soaps Casualty S36 and Doctors S22; sitcom My Family; and docs Wild Africa and Africa with Ade Adepitan.
Motoring shows Million Dollar Car Hunters and Top Gear S19 are also in the mix, while for kids the net will air Go Jetters, My World Kitchen, Andy’s Safari Adventures and My Pet & Me.
The launch of BBC UKTV joins BBCS’s existing channels in South Africa – namely BBC Earth, BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, CBeebies and BBC World News on MultiChoice’s DStv platform. The UK pubcaster also launched BBC Kids on the Play Store after a deal with telco MTN earlier this month.
The move comes as Openview grows its channel bouquet with more international and niche offerings. It recently launched Turkish drama channel ePlesier, with imported series dubbed into Afrikaans, as well as Gen Z lifestyle network eXposed and The Home Channel+.
More than three million South African homes have access to Openview, according to the company, and it offers more than 18 TV channels and 28 radio stations.
“The launch will enable us to reach wider audiences utilising the richness of the BBC’s catalogue across multiple genres,” said Arran Tindall, BBCS’s senior VP of EMEA key markets.
Commercial director for Africa Pierre Cloete added: “BBC UKTV has been carefully crafted to match the viewing habits of the whole family, providing all age groups entertainment at every moment of the day.”