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Launched 1986
Owned by Naspers
Picture format 576i (SDTV, 4:3) - Terrestrial, 576i (SDTV, 16:9) - DStv, 1080i (HDTV, 16:9) - DStv
Slogan Believe in Magic
Country South Africa
Language English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Xhosa, Sesotho, Venda
Broadcast area South Africa, Africa
Headquarters Johannesburg
Sentech Channel depends on nearest Sentech repeater
DSTV Channel 101

M-Net (originally an abbreviation of Electronic Media Network) is a subscription-funded television channel broadcast in South Africa. It was established by Naspers in 1986. The channel broadcasts both local and international programming, including general entertainment, children's series, sport and movies. While the TV signal is generally encrypted, M-Net showed some programmes 'free to air' in its "Open Time" slot between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., until the slot closed on 1 April 2007.

In the early 1990s, M-Net added a second analog channel called Community Services Network (CSN), and began digital broadcasting via satellite to the rest of Africa, via its sister company MultiChoice. With the introduction of MultiChoice's multi-channel digital satellite TV service, DStv, in 1995, several different channels have been created to complement the original M-Net channel, including M-Net Series and several movie channels based on film genre.


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Recent history 1.2
    • High definition 1.3
  • M-Net channels 2
    • M-Net Movies 2.1
    • M-Net Series 2.2
    • M-Net Edge 2.3
    • KykNet 2.4
    • Other channels 2.5
  • Locally produced programming 3
  • Awards & live shows 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early years

The idea of a pay-TV network in South Africa came to life in the mid-1980s, when Nasionale Pers (Naspers) - headed by executive Koos Bekker — started to promote the idea to the country's other three largest media corporations: Times Media Ltd (now Avusa/BDFM), Argus (now the Independent Group) and Perskor (which is now defunct).[1] The newspapers and magazines published by Naspers had lost a lot of advertising revenue to the SABC after the arrival of television and for this reason, according to some sources, the National Party government wanted Naspers to run its own television network.[1] Initially, the plan was for M-Net to be jointly owned by the four media corporations, with the Natal Witness also having a small share in the station. However, as time went on, the project became that of Naspers only.

In October 1986, they started broadcasting for 12 hours a day, to about 500 households who had bought decoders. (Their aim at that stage was to sell 9,000 decoders per month.)[1]

Although it was subscription-based, the Broadcasting Authority granted them a one-hour time slot each day, in which the channel could broadcast unencrypted, free-to-air content, in order to promote itself and attract potential subscribers. This time slot became known as Open Time, but was only meant to be temporary — M-Net was supposed to close Open Time immediately when it had 150 000 subscribers.

Logo of SuperSport as of 2012

At the end of its first year, they recorded a loss of R37-million.[1] However, it pushed forward and eventually, the public started taking notice. After two years, the loss was turned into a R20-million profit.[1] In 1988, the channel launched Carte Blanche, a multi-award winning actuality program hosted by Derek Watts and Ruda Landman. In only a few years, Carte Blanche became famous for its cutting edge and fearless investigative journalism. In the process, the show also uncovered many of South Africa's most famous scandals of human rights abuse, corruption and consumer affairs.

1989 saw the launch of M-Net SuperSport, which went on to become South Africa's first dedicated sports channel.

Recent history

1990 was the first year that they made a profit[2] and also the year that saw a few major changes for the channel. It launched K-TV, a daily time slot specialising in kids entertainment, and Open Time was expanded from the initial one hour per day, to two. They applied for a licence to broadcast news and the application was granted in December 1990. (Former State President P.W. Botha once claimed that "M-Net would not broadcast news as long as he was State President."[3]) but during June 1991, they announced that it was putting its plans for news broadcasts aside and that, instead, more money would be invested in local productions, including South Africa's first local soap opera Egoli, which started in May 1992 and ended in April 2010. However, they began re-broadcasting BBC World Service Television (now BBC World News) that same year.

M-Net SuperSport changed its name in 1994 to SuperSport only, in order to create a more unique brand. During that year it broadcast live coverage of South Africa's test cricket series in Australia for the first time. At the same time, Hugh Bladen and Naas Botha - two of the channel's most colourful rugby commentators — joined SuperSport. By that time, its sports coverage became very impressive, including the US Masters, the FA Cup Finals, the Indy 500, the US PGA Championship, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, MotoGP and an ever-expanding rugby package. In 1995, SuperSport started broadcasting 24 hours per day on M-Net's spare channel, the Community Service Network, which paved the way for a 24-hour multi-channel sports network. When rugby became a full professional sport in 1995, most of the broadcasting rights in the Southern Hemisphere were sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. In response, they started negotiating with NewsCorp in August 1995 and in February the following year, SuperSport was granted sole broadcasting rights to both the Super 12 and Tri Nations rugby tournaments.[4] It was a major breakthrough for the channel as well as SuperSport, which had by now expanded to channels on DStv, Multichoice's satellite TV service.

High definition

Launch of DStv's first High Definition decoder the HD PVR, XtraView and the first HD channel, M-Net HD. M-Net began broadcasting a 720p high definition channel in 2010, which is available on the majority of availability of a HD PVR; the standard definition channel for non HD PVR subscribers, as is merely downscaled at the provider from the HD feed rather than having a devoted analog channel. In 2012 the original two movie channels were replaced with six HD channels which grouped films according to genre.[5]

M-Net channels

The original M-Net channel broadcasts general entertainment, as well as premiere movies and first-run TV series, music specials and documentaries. Over the course of several years, M-Net has launched numerous sister channels.

M-Net Movies

The original two movie channels, Movie Magic 1 and Movie Magic 2, were renamed M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2, respectively, in 2005.[6] Two additional movie channels, M-Net Movies Stars and M-Net Movies Action, were later launched. In October 2012, the original two movie channels were replaced with six HD channels which grouped films according to genre.[7] Eight movie channels are currently broadcast by M-Net: M-Net Movies Premiere, Comedy, Family, Action+, Romance, Showcase, Action and Stars.

M-Net Series

Most of the programmes broadcast are unique to M-Net Series but some are rebroadcasts of episodes previously shown on M-Net. The group originally consisted of three individual channels, but two, M-Net Series Showcase and M-Net Series Reality were discontinued in October 2014, leaving one channel, M-Net Series Zone remaining. Which in late 2014 were rebranded to VUZU AMP & M-Net City respectively also with the introduction of a premium series channel called M-Net Edge that plays mostly HBO series

Logo for M-Net Series channels as of 2013.

A single series channel was introduced in 2000 as a sister channel to the original M-Net channel. On 9 July 2013, this channel was split into three, namely M-Net Series Showcase, M-Net Series Reality and M-Net Series Zone. On 11 September 2014, it was announced that Series Showcase and Series Reality would be discontinued and replaced with two new channels, VUZU AMP and M-Net Edge, on 20 and 13 October, respectively.

M-Net Series Showcase, which was broadcast in high definition, previously served as the primary series channel on which most new content unique to Series was broadcast. M-Net Series Reality broadcast talk shows and other reality media. These two channels were discontinued in October 2014, and replaced with two new channels, M-Net Edge and VUZU AMP, which are both broadcast in high definition. M-Net Series Zone currently serves as a catch-up channel, and features previous seasons of shows. Several TV shows also run back-to-back in marathon blocks.

On 9 July 2013, the single M-Net Series channel was split into three channels, namely M-Net Series Showcase, which was broadcast in HD, M-Net Series Reality and M-Net Series Zone.[8] On 11 September 2014, it was announced that Series Showcase and Series Reality would be discontinued and replaced with two new channels, VUZU AMP and M-Net Edge, on 20 and 13 October, respectively.[9] Only one channel of the original three, M-Net Series Zone, remains. The standalone channel is reminiscent of the initial M-Net Series channel, in that it airs shows that previously aired on the main M-Net channel.

M-Net Edge

Logo of M-Net Edge, launched in 2014

The channel usually airs exclusive content that is usually straight after the U.S broadcast consisting of a bulk of series that are from the HBO channel. It was launched on 20 October 2014, after the discontinuation of two of M-Net's Series channels [10] and only broadcasts in the evenings from 18:30.


kykNET, which broadcasts solely in Afrikaans, was launched in October 1999. The channel features general entertainment, series, informative programs and music. kykNET also has two sister channels, KykNet & Kie and KykNet Musiek.[11] It was launched in the UK on TalkTalk's IPTV service, TalkTalk Plus TV, in October 2013.[12] DStv announced on 16 July 2014 that kykNet would be broadcast in high-definition as of 12 August 2014.[13]

KykNET logo

Other channels

  • Vuzu has a strong focus on Southern African youth. A sister channel, VUZU AMP, was launched in October 2014.
  • Mzanzi Magic features original South African series, movies, music, documentaries and reality shows. It has two sister channels, Mzansi Magic Music, Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Bioscope.
  • Magic World features African international content and reruns of popular shows.
  • Africa Magic comprises five channels: Africa Magic Showcase, Epic Movies, Urban Movies, Family and World.
  • Channel O is a music channel with a strong focus on urban music genres. It has a single sister channel, Channel O Africa.

All HD channels are aired in 1080i but are downscaled to SD if the subscriber isn't in possession of an HD decoder.

Locally produced programming

Show Airs on
53 Extra AMagic and Magic World
Africa's Next Top Model Africa Magic
Binneland kykNET
Bravo kykNET
Carte Blanche M-Net
Cula Sibone Mzansi Magic
Dagbreek kykNET
Dream School SA M-Net
Gospel Alive Mzansi Magic
IsiBaya Mzansi Magic and Mzansi Wethu
Jara Africa Magic
JukeBox kykNET
Ka-Ching Mzansi Magic
Lokshin Bioscope Mzansi Magic
Mashariki Mix Africa Magic
Our Perfect Wedding Mzansi Magic
Sifun'ukwazi Mzansi Magic
StarGist Africa Magic
Tinsel Africa Magic
V Entertainment Vuzu
Villa Rosa kykNET
Egoli M-Net from 1993 - 2010
Zabalaza Mzansi Magic
Wang Verstana Mzansi Magic
The Wild M-Net from 2011 - 2013

Awards & live shows

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "How pay-TV in SA was started". Retrieved 6 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "Kinder-TV 'n groot hupstoot vir M-Net (Afrikaans)". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Die tyd is ryp vir M-Net-Nuus (Afrikaans)". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "M-Net slaan slag met rugby op TV (Afrikaans)". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mnet movies". 
  6. ^ "Super Brands: M-Net" (PDF). 10 November 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "New channel numbers and more HD for DStv customers". Multichoice. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "DStv unveils new M-Net Series channels". channel24. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "M-Net Edge and VUZU AMP coming to DStv". channel24. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "M-Net Edge and VUZU AMP coming to DStv". Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  11. ^ "DStv launching kykNET music channel". channel24. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "KykNet Global". 
  13. ^ "GoesHD". 

External links

  • M-Net Channel Website
  • DStv Channel Website
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