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Society | Culture - Arts

Africa gets own MTV channel today

afrol News, 22 February - The US music and entertainment broadcaster giant MTV today launches the first-ever pan-African music television channel. The Johannesburg-based 'MTV Base' aims at putting "African artists in the spotlight" and hopes to reach an audience of 1.3 million households in sub-Saharan Africa.

While key long-form programming strands on 'MTV Base' such as African music documentary series, 'MTV Base Spotlight', will be broadcast in English, the channel aims to play contemporary music videos from all over Africa, including videos broadcast in Swahili, English, French and Portuguese. The first African artist to have their music video featured on the channel is Nigerian artist 2 FACE, who's iconic "African Queen" is to set the standard for other artists to follow.

The launch of 'MTV Base' was announced today by the New York-based media giant, known for its unpretentious streamlined music shows all over the world. 'MTV Base' will actually become the company's 100th channel worldwide when it is officially switched on during a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, at 8 PM local time this evening.

Bill Roedy, President of MTV Networks International, in a statement today held that 'MTV Base' was "the most anticipated launch in our history - it is our first dedicated African service and takes MTV's global footprint to every region of the world." The new channel was to "celebrate the diversity of vibrant music culture across Africa, while offering rich, creative inspiration for MTV's global network, Mr Roedy added.

'MTV Base' had been programmed to appeal to young Africans aged 15-34, "satisfying their immense appetite for high quality contemporary music content that transcends national borders," the US media giant said. The 24-hour music channel is to broadcast 'urban' music genres and artists from across the whole African continent, as well as artists from around the world, aimed at providing exposure for grassroots African music talent.

In keeping with the pan-African remit of the channel, the music policy for MTV base was to "showcase the creativity and diversity of contemporary music in Africa, giving an international platform to African genres such as Kwaito, Hip-Life, Mbalax and Zouk and putting African artists in the spotlight alongside their international peers," commented Alex Okosi, General Manager of MTV Networks Africa.

'MTV Base' is distributed via an Africa-wide network of cable, satellite and multi-channel, multipoint distribution systems. The channel also aims to reach a broader mass African audience via branded programming blocks on third party terrestrial broadcasters across Africa. At launch, 'MTV Base' hopes to reach approximately 1.3 million households in 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

MTV Networks International is one of the world's leading entertainment media, including the brands MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. According to the company's own statistics, their channels are seen in over 400 million households in 164 countries and 18 languages via 100 locally programmed and operated TV channels and 90 web sites. While being an avant-garde media in the 1980s, MTV became a mainstream entertainment factory during the 1990s.

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