eNCA rebrand ahead of official satellite launch in the UK


South Africa's eNews channel is getting a new look ahead of officially joining the Sky EPG on channel 518 on Monday 20th August. It will be available as a free-to-air channel - so also available on non-Sky satellite receivers.

In a move that was made to avoid confusion with US entertainment channel E! as the channel spreads beyond Africa, a new logo and look will be launched at 7pm (local time), 19th August, one day ahead of the UK launch. The channel will now be known as eNCA. More details about the imaging are to be unveiled tomorrow.

The new look has been designed to highlight the origin of the channel to viewers so as to distinguish the channel from non-African broadcasters reporting on African issues.

Speaking to South African media site The Media Online about the cost of expanding the service to the UK, the head of eNews, Patrick Conroy said:  "The costs are manageable when compared to our overall operating expenses. The major costs are signal distribution (getting the signal to the UK) and annual platform fees."

The channel beamed to the UK will be the same as the channel available in South Africa, with the exception of sports bulletins due to international broadcast rights reasons.

"Free to Air"
According to the same site, it has been confirmed that eNCA "will be available as a free to air channel on the Sky digital satellite platform in the UK only". Free to air transmission means that the service can be manually tuned in on Freesat boxes in non-Freesat mode, even if a Freesat EPG position is not forthcoming. On the matter of the Freesat EPG, there have been contradicting statements on the internet as to whether the channel would be added or not, and as yet no formal announcement to confirm or deny anything.

Transmission to the UK is being made from the Eutelsat 28.5E position, meaning that viewers in countries surrounding the UK will also be able to get a reasonable signal and watch the channel through manual tuning. Test transmissions ahead of the official UK launch have been viewable since the beginning of August.

There has been no indication that the channel will expand onto cable or digital terrestrial in the UK, but a Tweet from Patrick Conroy suggests that the channel will join other prestigious news channels on the Livestation website soon. A full news website to accompany the channel will go online later this year.

  Current parameters: satellite: Eutelsat 28A, 28.5E, Freq: 12.607 H. Symbol Rate: 27500, QSPK; FEC:  2/3 label: 55271
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