e.tv is the first and only privately owned free-to-air television station in South Africa. It is the fifth terrestrial television channel in the country, following three channels that are operated by the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (that is SABC 1, SABC 2 and SABC 3) and the privately owned subscription-funded M-Net. In 1997 the etv channel bought the broadcasting rights to broadcast English Premiership League (EPL) matches and later on they also bought the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League matches.
Midi TV was the consortium that won the broadcasting licence in 1998 to operate the channel. It is owned by black empowerment group eMedia Investments (Formerly Hosken Consolidated Investments) and Remgro, a part of the Rupert business empire.
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 Bros. 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.
Marcel Golding, a former trade unionist, was controversially forced to resign as the station's CEO in late October 2014, following the polemic purchase of shares he made in South African electronics equipment maker Ellies. HCI had insisted, in court documents, that the purchase of the R24 million stake in the electronics maker, which also produces digital set-top boxes, was without authorisation. Golding had, challenging his removal as CEO, stated that attempts to get rid of him was due to the ANC government wanting to control the station's news output through direct interference.
Controversy and milestones
In January 2001, controversy arose when e.tv showed floor plans and other blueprints for renovations of Genadendal Residence, 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, e.tv joined other South African broadcasters in agreeing to continue broadcasting statements by Osama bin Laden. 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 licence.
In 2004, e.tv was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority, after launching a series of newspaper advertisements, in which the SABC was purported to be a "state broadcaster" and "lacking editorial independence." In October, the channel failed in its bid to force the court to allow a live broadcast of the proceedings of the Schabir Shaik trial. In November, it was reported that Midi TV owed ICASA R7 million in licence fees.
In 2005, the channel was fined R55 000 for two offences of broadcasting 18-rated movies before 9pm. It was also prevented by a court ruling, which prevented it from airing a documentary concerning a prominent baby murder, but upon appeal, e.tv was ordered to show the documentary to the case's prosecutors for review. The station also fired prominent personality, Soli Philander, after a year's involvement. It also garnered controversy from conservative and religious groups, after it decided to broadcast softcore pornography late at night over the weekends. It was 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 before his 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; the station retorted, saying they "gave fair warning" to participants prior to the show, which was upheld by the BCCSA.
The news reports of e.tv are sometimes critical of the SABC for having "close ties" to the ruling African National Congress. Both print and outdoor campaigns by e.tv imply an inherent bias in the SABC's news coverage. More recently[vague], e.tv 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.
Because of its liberal policies on adult content and its continual reinforcement of being free-to-air while it broadcast blockbuster movies, e.tv seems to have won the ratings war against SABC, especially on weekends.
StatSat TV (formerly known as TopTV) has now announced the arrival of eMovies+, eKasi+ and e Africa+ in its R99 bouquet in December 2013. The provider later apologized that the channels will not arrive until January 2014. In May 2017, information was leaked about eToonz, eMovies, eMovies Extra & eExtra on DStv and launched on 17 May. In 2018, e.tv launched a women-orientated channel called eBella on 5 March on Openview HD and DStv.
Starting in April 2013, the channel launched "e on Demand", a catch-up service that allows registered etv.co.za viewers to watch past episodes of their favorite TV shows as well as watch exclusive content. Many of e.tv's own productions are available to view including its popular weekday soap opera Rhythm City.
In November 2018, e.tv launched two additional channels OpenNews and eReality.
In February 2019, eBella was reintegrated to eExtra, OpenNews rebranded to e.tv News then e.tv News and Sports only to shortened into News and Sports and Rewind launched.
In early days e.tv had a strong focus on local content. Many of e.tv's original productions received high ratings, beating those of the SABC.
Backstage, 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 "Rhythm City" which is set in the South African music industry.
Scandal!, set in a mass media company in Johannesburg, experienced increased ratings after its timeslot was changed from 8pm to 7.30pm. In its previous timeslot, the soapie clashed with SABC 1's established soapie Generations. In 2015 the channel introduced new dramas such as Ashes to Ashes, Matatiele, Umlilo, Z'bondiwe, Gold Diggers, Traffic, Broken Vows and eKasi:Our Stories, Imbewu: The Seed and Isipho, reality shows like Blame it on Fame, Rolling With, Katch it with Kanyi, Coke Studio Africa, Step Up or Step Out, Reality Check, Superdance South Africa and Durban Gen.
Craz-e is the children's slot for the channel, airing selected content specially curated. The slot is aired weekdays from 14:30 CAT as a 2-hour programming block. Initially it was a separate block for teens, the second one being named Littl-e for preschoolers, until they were merged In 2018. The slot was particularly popular for its local shows: Sistahood, Frenzy, Shiz Live and Craz-e World Live, which were discontinued in 2019. Littl-e's local offering such as the Cool Catz and Siyabonga Gogo were also discontinued, although reruns still air on eToonz. Craz-e gave rise to new fresh talent such as Zola Hahlatse and Pearl Modiadie The slot now boasts of international content playing Monday to Thursday and weekend mornings such as Pokémon, Winx Club, Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, Peppa Pig, Littlest Pet Shop: A World of Our Own, Power Rangers, AI Football GGO, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Regal Academy, The Boss Baby: Back in Business, Dawn of the Croods and Henry Danger among others. Fridays are reserved for live-action and animated movies that appeal to teenagers, most commonly from Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, most of the movies have played on the Big Fam Saturdays slot.
They also broadcast a variety of preschool shows in different languages other than English.
Over the years, e.tv still dominates the weekend ratings war with movies against the SABC, due to having multiple deals with various distribution companies. Movies first premiere on the e.tv channel before moving on to eMovies or eMovies Extra.
e.tv previously secured broadcast rights of the UEFA Champions League and the World Wrestling Entertainment's various shows; which aired on weekdays and weekends, these received the highest ratings in their timeslots. e.tv broadcast WWE programming everyday and had come to brand itself as "the home of WWE". As of 2009, WWE pay-per-views were e.tv-exclusive and aired only 7 days after the US premiere. But viewership started to decline and a demand on movies increased. The rights are now carried on DStv's Supersport.
As of August 2019, e.tv acquired broadcasting rights of the Premier League. The decision comes after Kwese Free Sports ceased broadcasting on the Openview platform. However, they only broadcast one live match every Saturday on e.tv News instead of e.tv or eExtra. The channel recently signed deal to also broadcast Bundesliga.
The channel has also secured rights to broadcast NBA basketball matches at midnight and rerun later again on News and Sports.
The channel started broadcasting news bulletins from both Cape Town and Johannesburg, until 2016, when the channel started broadcasting news from Johannesburg. Initial news broadcasts were criticised[ for being too focused on Cape Town, with news from other regions not given enough prominence. The channel's master control still runs from its Zonnebloem Production Centre in the city. For unknown reasons, e.tv stopped broadcasting eNews 1 PM, eNews Headlines & eNews 7 PM. eNews 1 PM was replaced by OpenNews 1 PM and eNews 7 PM was replaced by eNCA's Flagship Programme, News Night.
As of 5 August 2019, e.tv consolidated and combined it's 1PM and 8PM bulletins along with the OpenNews channel and renamed the channel and bulletins to e.tv News.
eNews Morning (Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Setswana)
The Language team brings you news, sport and weather in your favorite languages. It is aired on weekdays at 8 AM.
e.tv News (1PM)
Naledi Moleo and Koketso Sachane brings you an update on news, sport and weather. Broadcasts weekdays at 1 PM.
e.tv News (8PM)
Anika Larsen re-caps the day's stories and will give audiences an update on business, sport and weather. It broadcasts weekdays at 8 PM.
eNCA's News Night Weekend Team, Tumelo Mothothane recaps the weekend's news, sport and weather. It airs weekends at 7 PM.
Also referred to as eNews Channel Africa. A 24-hour television news broadcaster which focuses on both South African and African stories. The broadcaster became the nation's first & most-watched 24-hour news service when it launched in June 2008. e.tv first ever news channel that is available exclusively on DStv.
A movie channel showcasing family friendly movies mixed with dramas and romance.
A South African pay television channel, which replaced the defunct eKasi+ channel on OVHD ,offering a variety of telenovelas on top of other programming.
A second movie channel showing mostly action and thriller movies
A children's cartoon channel featuring cartoons that either have or haven't already shown on e.
A second news and first sports channel from eMedia Investments that launched exclusively on Openview.
It promises to be a binge watchers paradise with thrilling real-life stories, fascinating characters, and raw human emotion. There's something compelling for everyone.
A rerun channel playing content from e.tv and it's other set of channels
To fit in with their new 24-hour news channel eNCA, e.tv changed their look on 1 January 2008, giving it a simplistic look and modern design.
The channel once again went through a redesign of its graphics package, with a more 3D appearance in January 2013.
In November 2017, e.tv gave eMovies+ and eToonz+ a new look to fit in with their other channels red look and dumped the '+' sign from both these channels proclaiming them as eToonz and eMovies from that point onward.
In November 2018, the channel changed their red look to a golden look. This was in commemorating the channel's 20th Anniversary, but stopped in 2019.
In April 2019, e.tv underwent a brand, new look. In the new look, e.tv has done away with the hard red square background border, opting for a "faded edge" look, giving a softer tonal impression.