CYBERTORIAL: In an industry known for its rapid pace of change, M-Net has used its own special brand of magic to stand its ground for the past 25 years. The station celebrates its quarter of a century in 2011 and marks the event with a campaign that launches on October 1. The theme centres around 25 years of Magic… to be continued, and features a ‘Vanity Fair-esque photo’ shoot which captures many of South Africa’s most famous faces who launched their careers at M-Net.
The campaign includes several components, including print, outdoor, on-air and online, as well as a viewers’ competition. M-Net was launched as South Africa’s first pay-TV channel. At the time of its launch, the platform offered viewers a single channel – amazing when you consider that today M-Net produces 30 channels for viewers across Africa, providing every aspect of entertainment, from movies to sport, series, reality and lifestyle programmes.
Indeed, its 25th birthday is a true milestone for the brand and a benchmark of just how far M-Net has come over the years. ProVerb (who hosts the ever popular reality show Idols SA on M-Net) has been a familiar face on the M-Net channels since he started his career on Channel O in 2003. However, he admits that his career really took off when he appeared on Survivor SA, moving over to present Idols, which he sees as the highlight of his career.
“I felt part of the M-Net family before I even started working on the shows. I grew up watching K-TV and aspired to work for M-Net.” Proverb remembers how, although his family did not have an M-Net subscription, watching ‘open time’ felt like catching a glimpse of the world. “I grew up wanting to be part of that world. It was always exclusive, always premium and extremely attractive to any young person. And when you get into the entertainment industry its natural to want to work for the best – and for me, M-Net is the epitome of premium entertainment.”
Looking back, Proverb perceives M-Net as being a mature content provider. “Over the years, it has become more cutting-edge with a greater selection of content and young, ‘funky’ presenters. It’s been an interesting revolution and one that I am proud to have been a part of. ”I hope to be a part of the M-Net magic for as long as possible. It’s been a riveting 25 years and I have high hopes for the next 25.”
Ashley Hayden began her career with M-Net on its second birthday. “M-Net has been entwined with my life for many years,” she muses. “When I began my career, I dreamt of acting, but the reality is that good roles are few and far between. So I decided to focus on what I was best at – which was communication – and M-Net was the perfect platform for that. It was a stable income and most importantly, I got to do what I love doing best.” Hayden remembers that M-Net was the station everyone looked up to – “we were the forerunners.”
She marvels at how the channel has evolved to include different business units, 30 channels and broadcasts all over the African continent! “What an amazing achievement for a tiny company launched by three guys with big dreams.”
Derek Watts, presenter of the hard-hitting Carte Blanche, needs no introduction. He started out as a sports reporter and later launched his investigative career with M-Net. “At the time I was presenting a sports programme. The shift to investigative journalism was a major change in direction. And after 23 years with M-Net, I can truly say I don’t regret it for a moment.”
Watts’ career with M-Net has taken him around the world, giving him the opportunity to meet – as he puts it “some of the most interesting, wonderful and revolting people.” He likens M-Net to a creaky old ship that has weathered its fair share of storms. “Today’s M-Net is a new and vibrant entity. I think M-Net has always shown a great deal of courage to broadcast Carte Blanche – showing the controversial aspects of life that no one else would show.” M-Net has grown considerably over the past 25 years.
“In the future I wish it even more growth – and more importantly, I hope to see it retain its integrity, the quality of its programming and the personal relationships it has fostered with all the people who make the channel what it is. After all, these are the values that have made M-Net such a resounding success over the past 25 years,” he concludes.
To experience the 25th birthday “Magical” campaign go to:
Note: Cybertorial is paid for content.