Companies / 28 August 2018, 3:00pm / Siphelele Dludla
JOHANNESBURG - The new 24-hour news channel, Newzroom Afrika, announced a "powerful" team of veteran media executives, veteran broadcasters and journalists as the individuals who will be driving the channel.
Multichoice announced Newszroom Afrika as the winning bidder, amongst 111 bidders, for its vacant 24-hour news channel on its pay-TV bouquet DStv.
The announcement came after Multichoice last week pulled the plug on Afro Worldview -- the television channel formerly owned by the controversial Gupta brothers under the name ANN7 -- which until August 20 had been aired on DStv channel 405.
Multichoice chief executive Clavo Mawela said Newzsroom Afrika won the bid because it had put a "very credible" team of veteran broadcasters and that it met the black-economic empowerment objectives as it is 100-percent black-owned and 50-percent female owned.
Newzroom Afrika is a 50-50 owned broadcast venture by veteran broadcast journalists and successful television production entrepreneurs, Thokozani Nkosi of Eclipse TV and former SABC news anchor Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation.
Nkosi, who started as an investigative journalist and has been in broadcast industry for over 20 years, said that he has run Eclipse TV for the last 16 years and has produced a lot of actuality and entertainment programmes like The Chatroom, RSVP: Dare To Change, Dijo Le Bophelo, and a 24-hour gospel channel for TopTV for three years.
"We feel that we have come full circle now. Thabile and I have been seeing gaps in the news media space that we wanted to fill and our plan was to do so on the digital space. But when the opportunity for the bid for Multichoice came around we saw it as a hand-in-glove fit," Nkosi said.
Ngwato, who resigned from the public broadcaster last month after five years, said the channel was "essentially disruptors" and their offering was different and would put digital at the heart of content and bring a "different and fresh" offering.
She announced that accomplished TV executive Zanele Mthembu will head the broadcast operation at the new channel. Mthembu boasts over 20 years of experience in television, film production and broadcasting, and has a diverse expertise. In 2005, Mthembu joined e.tv as executive producer for local content, spanning various genres.
"Her experience in running an operation of this scale will definitely be invaluable," Ngwato said.
The channel's newsroom will be under the leadership of veteran news media executive and journalist Malebo Phage, who is a former group executive of eMedia Holdings.
"Malebo was a member of the senior team that put together the successful bid for e.tv, so he is an old hand at launching new channels," Ngwato said.
The channel will also have an editorial ethics oversight board spearheaded by the former press ombudsman Joe Thloloe and Dinesh Balliah, a journalist and academic.
"Something else that we want to reiterate is that we are independent and we are impartial in running our business," Ngwato said.
The owners of the new channel declined one-on-one interviews with journalists, but said though the company was still working on its launch plan, it was planning to launch the channel early in 2019.