In 2003, just months after the very first Big Brother Africa production revolutionized reality television, pioneering a new experience for TV audiences across the continent, M-Net launched another initiative, one destined to change both the company’s legacy and its future forever.
On December 1, the AfricaMagic channel was born on DStv!
Envisioned as a dedicated channel made in Africa, for Africans by Africans, the very first of its kind, the channel quickly caught the attention of viewers in East, West and Central Africa from the moment it went live.
First designed as a 6-hour channel, the enormous demand for the homegrown content it offered saw the channel develop at a rapid rate, exceeding all the expectations of its creators.
It continued, unstoppable, to expand both its screening hours and its footprint with Southern African audiences gaining access to the channel just three months later. And when AfricaMagic was launched in South Africa in July 2004, the move brought its proudly African programming to an impressive 41 countries.
With the dynamic heart of African filmmaking, Nollywood, producing dozens of titles monthly and with an already comprehensive library of movies waiting to be showcased, AfricaMagic was perfectly positioned to take these properties to wider African audiences who were just awakening to the power of Nollywood’s frenetic production schedule and its rising stars.
Timing, strategy and the age-old principle of supply and demand coincided almost immediately and a new brand began rising to prominence.
Five years later, having established one of the fast-growing and most recognizable names in Africa, the channel opened another chapter in its story, exploring a new opportunity. In June 2008, the AfricaMagic Plus channel made its debut on DStv. Packaging programming from East and Southern Africa, the channel joined its successful sister in quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
But the story was just gaining momentum. In March 2010, AfricaMagic grew once more and, once again, the brand made history.
This time, M-Net simultaneously launched not one but two dedicated AfricaMagic channels in the languages of two of Nigeria’s largest communities.
AfricaMagic Hausa and Yoruba debuted on DStv channels 117 and 118 respectively, each running 12 hours daily. With sub-titles available in English, the channels were also seen throughout East, West and Central Africa.
They too quickly became popular to audiences who had long desired a dedicated television destination in the languages of their homes.
Then, little over a year later with two English language channels and two African language channels screening African programs to the continent’s increasingly enthusiastic audiences,
M-Net moved forward again, this time focusing on one of Africa’s oldest and most beautiful languages.
Launched to widespread commercial and critical acclaim, AfricaMagic Swahili made its appearance on DStv channel 127 on the 1st of July 2011. Broadcast to a range of Swahili speaking countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and the DRC, AfricaMagic Swahili continues to grow its fan base as audiences embrace both its line-up and its message of keeping Africa’s powerful languages alive.
Having launched 5 channels in just 8 years, which are now seen in 47 countries on the continent, in 4 different languages, it would be hard to dispute that the AfricaMagic brand has developed into one of the most innovative television brands in Africa.
Now its challenge and the challenge to M-Net, the company that dreamed it into existence, is to evolve AfricaMagic so that it continues to reflect the identity of the viewers who show their appreciation by tuning in daily, the producers who support it with their compelling work and of course, the Afro-hip generation who adore it for being so true to what they want Africa to be bold, fresh and forward-thinking; proud of its past, excited by the possibilities of tomorrow.