South Africa's eNCA news channel closes UK Sky service

UPDATE  South African news channel eNCA has been withdrawn from Sky, after just over two years on the digital satellite platform, with the expense of satellite broadcasting being cited as a reason for the closure.

The channel, which was beamed free-to-air in Europe via the Astra 2F satellite, could also be received using Freesat receivers through manual tuning or non-Freesat mode.

Viewers in the UK first reported seeing on-screen adverts about the channel impending closure last week. The service, on Sky channel 517, went off-air at breakfast time.

South African website Channel 24 reports that the axe to UK transmissions comes as " and eNCA is mired in a scandalous management meltdown with CEO Marcel Golding and COO Bronwyn Keene-Young suddenly both out the door and questions swirling about the credibility of its news offering and allegations of political interference in its news coverage." eNCA however cites the cost of satellite transmissions versus cheaper online streaming services as a factor in its decision, alongside "changes to the way news media is consumed".
During its relatively short time in the UK, the channel has provided viewers with insight on some of South Africa's big news stories, including the death of Nelson Mandela and the Oscar Pistorius trial. It launched in the UK in the midst of the Marikana Miners' Strike which drew international attention when 34 miners were shot dead and many more injured.

Ahead of its UK launch in August 2012, the channel renamed itself from e News Channel to eNCA, avoiding any confusion with the E! entertainment network. Certain parts of the schedule were cut from the UK version, notably sports news, due to rights issues.

The channel's output can continue to be accessed in the UK through the website which launched in its current form in 2013 and via streaming site Livestation. Distribution via alternative platforms, including a Samsung Smart TV app are being investigated, according to Channel 24.

This is an update to the article first published 30/10/14 at 20:38
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  1. This sort of channel should be included on YouView as an "app" or on BT / TalkTalk as a channel. There must be hundreds of potential channels that would offer an interesting perspective (whether news, entertainment, film, sport etc) that is a bit different from exactly the same channels offered on every other platform. Even the on-demand stuff is essentially the same. Surely one of the benefits of YouView / BT TV is that there is essentially unlimited space to broadcast in.


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