Cape Town – South Africa’s independent eNews Channel, which is changing its name, is going intercontinental by expanding to the United Kingdom.

The name change and broadening of the eNews Channel’s footprint beyond the African continent comes as the SABC gears up for launching its own news channel in September on DStv which will be seen in South Africa and Southern African countries.

British TV viewers told Channel24 that the eNews Channel can now be seen there on the Sky pay TV platform where the Africa Channel+1 used to be seen.

“The quality is good on the channel. It’s not on the Sky EPG yet, as its probably still a test and could launch officially in the UK when the rebrand of the eNews Channel comes into effect next month,” said a viewer.

“The eNews Channel confirms it will launch in the United Kingdom,” said the 24-hour news channel run by e.tv in a press statement.

Access to SA expat community

“South Africa’s first independent 24-hour news service, the eNews Channel, can now confirm it will launch on the Sky digital satellite platform in the United Kingdom.

“The official date is still to be confirmed but is expected to take place within weeks. This gives us access to over 10 million homes in the UK,” said Patrick Conroy, the group head of news at e.tv.

“What is really significant is that we will have access to the South African expat community. If they want news from home it is just a click away.”

eNews technical staff are still conducting tests on the signal to the UK, said the head of technical operations for eNews, Rob Brown.

“Once we’re happy everything is running smoothly, we will give it the green light. We’re getting close to finalising the test phase.”

New look, new name

The eNews Channel will also unveil its new look when it launches in the UK, said the channel.

“Due to our expansion we will have to rebrand our service to make it relevant to viewers abroad and here at home,” said Conroy.

“It will be more of a brand tweak than an overhaul, viewers need not be concerned. It will still be the same news service with the same content.

“The only difference will be our appearance. eNews will not be rebranding its eNews Prime Time bulletin on e.tv or its Afrikaans language service on kykNET. Those brands will remain as it is. We’re only rebranding the eNews Channel,” said Conroy.

High-level insiders revealed in July that the eNews Channel will be changing to the acronymn ENCA.

The news channel will also be launching its new website by the end of the year with rolling online news coverage similar to CNN and Sky News.

“The development of this service is progressing as scheduled and details will be released close to the launch date of this service,” said the eNews Channel.

Meanwhile, the SABC plans to launch its new 24-hour news channel early in September on MultiChoice’s DStv, starting with six hours of new news coverage per day, looped four times over a 24-hour cycle.