Mzwanele Manyi, the former government spin doctor who bought 24-hour news channel ANN7 from the Guptas, is seeking to break conclusively with the channel’s association with the controversial family.
ANN7 will be renamed as Afro Worldview on 30 April and promises to have a renewed editorial policy and to subscribe to the codes of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).
Manyi is hoping Afro Worldview will be chosen by MultiChoice as the 24-hour news channel to replace ANN7 on DStv. MultiChoice said in January that it would pull the plug on ANN7 in August this year.
MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela said at a press conference at the time that it would not be appropriate to renew the ANN7 contract considering “ongoing controversies”. He said MultiChoice would issue a tender to appoint and fund a new, black-owned commercial news channel soon.
“This has been a humbling exercise for MultiChoice,” Mawela said at the press conference. “…We fully understood the outrage of the public given the endemic corruption in the country. We should have dealt with the concerns around ANN7 more swiftly.”
Those bidding for the new channel include Manyi’s Afrotone Media Holdings, Tiso Blackstar (which publishes the Sunday Times and Business Day), MSG Afrika (which owns radio assets, including PowerFM), Primedia (which owns 702, Cape Talk and other radio stations) and Independent Media proprietor Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo, the Financial Mail reported last week (paywall).
Manyi bought The New Age newspaper and ANN7 from the Guptas’ Oakbay business with R450m that the Guptas lent him in a vendor financing deal. He said in a statement at the weekend that the amount owed had since been lowered and settled in full.
New look and feel
“Afrotone Media Holdings’ ownership of Infinity Media Networks‚ ANN7 and The New Age is now debt free and unencumbered…,” Manyi said.
MultiChoice said in a statement on Monday that ANN7 will be rebranded as Afro Worldview on 30 April and will remain on DStv channel 405. ANN7 is the smallest local 24-hour news channel on DStv, trailing competitors eNCA and SABC News.
“It will still be a 24-hour news platform covering news, business and current affairs. The channel will adopt a completely new look and feel with a renewed editorial policy in line with the BCCSA code,” the pay-TV operator said.
“The channel will stop broadcasting on DStv on 20 August 2018 as the contract to broadcast ANN7 on DStv will not be renewed.”
MultiChoice confirmed that Afro Worldview is participating in the bidding process of the proposed new black-owned news channel on DStv. The final decision on the winning bidder will be announced by MultiChoice at the end of July. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media