Friday, 24 March 2017

New 24/7 Esports Channel, Coming This May On DStv

In a first for South Africa, DStv and the UK-based will be launching a full 24/7 Esports and Gaming network, to be available over DStv Now and SuperSport website from 1st May 2017, with SuperSport also set to simulcast games over their DStv channels. It was revealed that SuperSport and DStv, and new partners, were working on some sort of Esports channel.

Now there's further details of the channel as well as when it will be available to the nation. In a email conversation with Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport, Khobane spoke of the benefits of the the new partnership saying: “The deal with GINX is a massive leap forward and signals our intention to embrace the newest sport out there. There is a real buzz around eSports and we want to be part of that.” With Esports continuing to grow at such a rapid rate worldwide, news of this kind of exposure on a local front is extremely exciting and should assist in further fueling the growth of the sector as the extra exposure will surely please potential sponsors, who will be more inclined to inject even more money into the industry, resulting in more tournaments, more incentive to grow talent pools and thus feeding back into the entire ecosystem.

Telkom Gaming reached out to CEO Michiel Bakker for more information on the channel, which is set to be available from 1 May 2017:

Telkom Gaming (TG): What titles and games do DStv and GINX (you) plan to broadcast?

Michiel Bakker: “One of our earliest mantras at GINX esports TV was “All the games, All the time”! It really is still at the heart of who we are and everything we do. We aim to be a broad church for our esports audience and we focus on the current games at the centre of the biggest esport events as well as those nibbling on the edges. Right now we are covering Activision’s Call Of Duty World League (CWL) as well as Blizzard’s APEX Overwatch tournament from Korea and gearing up for Valve’s DOTA 2 Kiev Major.

GINX esports TV has recently covered CS:GO, Overwatch, League of Legends,
World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, FIFA and Street Fighter V as well as titles such as SMITE, Paladins, Rocket League, Smash Bros., Heroes of the Storm and Vainglory. So our collective mission is to continue to walk that talk.” An extremely impressive amount of titles to be covered, even if I am a predominantly CS:GO fan, and this is still a giant leap forward for our local gamers and fans. Being able to watch esports on TV will not only increase viewers, but will also promote growth in our own South African competitive scene.

TG: Are there any South African or African matches you are going to cover?

Bakker: “As a consequence of our launch in Africa, we’d love to get more involved in the local African esports world. We haven’t covered South African matches so far, but we’d love to consider the option if given appropriate access and opportunity. It is very much in our DNA to cover global as well as local events and showcase local events on our international feeds. We are just as interested in grassroots esports events as we are in covering the Majors.”

TG: What is the initial plan or schedule for broadcasting? Will it be game highlights or live services?

Bakker: “Our initial agreement with DStv involves the delivery of our channel as a linear 24/7 service. Our channel includes live tournament coverage and tournament highlight programming from events such as the Call of Duty World League, ELEAGUE and Dota 2 Majors for example. We also produce many hours of esports entertainment programming such as The First Hour twice weekly live studio show ‘The Bridge’. Our agreement also includes a provision for some of our content to be showcased on one of the Supersport channels.”This would not be the first time SuperSport has tried their hand at Esports, having broadcast highlights from last year’s IEM Katowice CS:GO event on the channel last year, though this only left true fans begging for more. This time, it seems, we will be getting the full coverage we hoped and dreamed about.

TG: Will there be a whole separate channel dedicated to esports?

Bakker: “Yes! GINX esports TV is a 7-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day TV channel dedicated to esports, coming to DSTV! I don’t think we have been allocated an EPG number (Electronic Programing Guide) yet, but news on that will follow shortly. Right now we are making the necessary technical preparations to deliver the channel to DSTV’s uplink in SA.”

TG: Are you working with any other African brands to promote esports?

Bakker: “It is early days, but we are really keen to explore local collaborations. We’d love to work with African as well as with international brands to promote esports locally as well as around the world. On top of our new DSTV households in Africa, GINX esports TV reaches over 36 million homes worldwide, so we are hopeful there will be many opportunities to work with local partners to grow the esports ecosystem. We are open to explore cross-media partnerships with African online esports media, hopefully including your good selves. Being on TV brings a different, more mainstream, audience into esports, which should be complementary to existing media.”

GINX eSports TV will be available to DStv Access, Family, Compact, Extra and Premium customers, as well as to Compact, Extra and Premium customers on the DStv Now service online and on the application.

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