It’s been 14 years since launched its free-to-air television service into South Africa’s market. In that time not only has its offering grown into itself, from six hours a day to 24/7, but so has its brand and identity.

So it was on New Year’s Eve, as South Africa counted down the seconds to 2013, the channel counted down the launch of its new look, on-air and off.

“Our new imaging is strongly influenced by our origins and ambitions as South Africans. We are a nation that does not have many resources but through our creativity and drive we are able to push limits and thrive,” says Monde Twala, Group Head: Channel Division.

“The re-imaging will include a facelift for the revered logo, as well as a thematic overhaul of all channel material including on-air imaging, website, print, outdoor and all other communication material,” he says. is flighting an brand advertisement that gives expression to its new tagline, ‘free your imagination’.

“ is a true South African brand that has beaten all the odds to succeed in the past 14 years. The channel has survived by being innovative in serving ordinary South African viewers and inspiring free thinking, hence the ‘free your imagination’ tag line,” Twala explains.

‘Free your imagnination’, says Twala, allows the channel’s viewers to “foster free thinking”. Viewers should “engage, open up their imagination and to view content that will broaden opinions and social perceptions”.

“ has always been able to appeal to a wide variety of South Africans by celebrating the nation’s diversity and encouraging viewers to tell their own authentic stories. We regard the brand as a truly South African television channel and primary destination for entertainment,” Twala told The Media Online.

Of course, the means to free their imaginations will be brought about by the channel’s programming, says Twala. “Conducting committed research allows us to scrutinise our local content offering to ensure that it stays significant to our viewers. Local content continues to appeal and continues to prioritise this area for South Africans. South Africans want content that resonates, that reflects their dreams and aspirations. We will continue to produce quality drama’s, reality shows, news and current affairs programming and documentaries that strive to achieve this sentiment,” he says.

The last time the channel had a brand refresh was in 2008. While the new look is quite clear, it’s not divorced from what came before.

Rather, it has tapped “into the essence of who we really are and to invigorate our current brand to reflect that”, Twala says. “We took into account the future of television in South Africa and have made the necessary tweaks to ensure that we will remain relevant and dynamic for any future growth that exists.”

Source: Themediaonline – Glenda Nevill