is the fifth terrestrial television channel
in South Africa
, following three channels operated
by the state-owned South African
and SABC 3
the privately owned subscription-funded M-Net
operated by Multichoice
. It is the first
privately owned but free-to-air television station in the
e.tv is the only terrestrial TV channel in South Africa
that produces independent news
broadcasts. Their reports are sometimes critical of the SABC for
its alleged "close ties" to the ruling African National Congress
have launched print and outdoor campaigns that imply an inherent
bias in the SABC's news coverage. More recently, they have joined a
coalition of media outlets in a lawsuit to force the courts to
allow live audio and/or video feeds to be broadcast from trials
involving government officials and other prominent figures.
channel broadcasts from both Cape Town and Johannesburg, with its prime time evening news bulletin at 7pm
being broadcast from Johannesburg. Initially, this was
broadcast from Cape Town, but this changed in 2002 with the opening
of a new broadcast centre in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
Initial news broadcasts were criticised for
being too Cape Town-centric and news from other regions was not
given enough prominence. The late-night 10pm bulletin is still
broadcast from Cape Town, and the channel still runs from its Kloof
Street production centre in the city.
Because of its liberal policies regarding adult content and
continual reinforcement of being free-to-air while broadcasting
blockbuster movies, e.tv has seemingly won the ratings war against
the SABC stations, especially over the weekends.
Midi TV was the consortium that won the broadcasting licence in
1998 to operate the channel. It is currently owned by black
empowerment group Hosken
(HCI) and VenFin
, a part of the Rupert
The consortium has had many changes in ownership, however the
dominant player has always been HCI: it had bought out minority
black shareholders who had failed to repay loans they used to
purchase the Midi TV stake. Warner
sold their 25% shareholding of the channel in 2001,
concerned that they would never be able to exercise full ownership:
South African media ownership law restricts foreign entities to
owning no more than 25% of a television channel.
, a former trade
unionist, is the current CEO of HCI and also manages the
Controversy and milestones
In January 2001, e.tv showed floor plans and other blueprints for
renovations of Genadedal, the official residence of President Thabo Mbeki
, on air. The government responded by
threatening legal action, citing that the station contravened The
Protection of Information Act. In August, it was reported to be the
fastest-growing channel in South Africa. After the September 11, 2001 attacks
joined other South African broadcasters in agreeing to continue
broadcasting statements by Osama bin
. It was also the site of an anthrax
scare in October.
In 2002, the Broadcasting
Complaints Commission of South Africa
exonerated e.tv from
overstepping its code of conduct after complaints were received
following its screening of series from the Emmanuelle
soft-core porn series. In June, it
failed in its attempt to stop M-Net from acquiring a new broadcast
In 2003, it was awarded a contract from Uthingo
to broadcast the National Lottery
In 2004, e.tv was reprimanded by the Advertising
after launching a series of newspaper
advertisement in which the SABC was purported to be a "state
broadcaster" and "lacking editorial independence
." In October,
it failed in its bid to force the court to allow a live broadcast
of the proceedings of the Schabir
. In November, it was reported that Midi TV owed
million in licence fees.
In 2005, it was fined R55 000 for two offences of broadcasting
18-rated movies before 9pm. It was also prevented by court ruling
preventing it from airing a documentary concerning a prominent baby
murder, but upon appeal was ordered to show the documentary to the
case's prosecutors for review. The station also fired prominent
personality Soli Philander
year's involvement. It also garnered controversy from conservative
and religious groups after it decided to broadcast softcore
pornography late at night over weekends.
also to be subpoenaed to appear before the
Parliament's home affairs portfolio committee after failing to
attend a hearing on pornography; e.tv subsequently claimed that
they were given too short notice.
In 2006, it refused to air a controversial interview with P.W. Botha
90th birthday, which both the SABC and M-Net refused as well. They
also received 14 complaints after a contestant was injured in an
episode of the local Fear Factor
station retorted, saying they "gave fair warning" to participants
prior to the show, which was upheld by the BCCSA.
Another point of criticism of the station has been the perceived
lack of involvement in producing local content. e.tv has
commissioned two soapies which are broadcast in prime time, and
commissioned the occasional documentary .
, set in an arts
college in Cape Town, started off on a high note when it first
aired in 2000, but things soured when e.tv had a dispute with the
production company, and several popular cast members left the show.
Because of low ratings to other shows in its time slot, Backstage
was cancelled as of the end of June 2007. Backstage has since been
replaced by a new series called Rhythm City which is set in the
South African music industry.
, set at a tabloid
newspaper, experienced increased ratings
after its timeslot was changed from 8pm to 7.30pm. In its previous
timeslot, the soapie clashed with SABC 1
established soapie Generations
In South Africa, e.tv hosts some HBO
, Six Feet Under
, Whose Line is it Anyway?
Curb Your Enthusiasm
. It has
also secured broadcast rights of the World Wrestling Entertainment
(WWE) various shows; on Wednesday nights and over weekends, these
receive the highest ratings in their timeslots. e.tv broadcasts WWE
programming everyday, except Thursdays and has come to brand itself
as "the home of WWE". As of 2009, WWE pay-per-views are now
e.tv-exclusive. The rights to broadcast were previously held by
satellite provider DStv
's SuperSports channel.
e.tv was the first international broadcaster of WWE Superstars
. Although e.tv are 3 weeks
behind schedule of WWE programing.
In June 2004 e.tv started broadcasting the very popular American
Soap, The Young and the
. The show used to air in South Africa until SABC 3
cancelled it in 1999. Since e.tv has started broadcasting Y&R
again, it has become a very successful show for the channel.
To fit in with their new 24 hour news channel, etv changed their
look, giving it a simplistic look and modern design.