There is some good news for Zimbabweans, Zimpapers owned ZTN is coming to DStv on channel 294. The smart kids in the room will notice that the number is close to numbers usually given to news related channels by Multichoice owned DStv and that is a hint to what the channel is all about the news and information. ZTN already operates as a streaming channel on YouTube and Facebook. It has already proved popular thanks to its shrewd programming and decent picture quality.

On launching on the DStv platform, ZTN Prime will be a Zimbabwean news and entertainment channel with an international perspective, and the content will include lifestyle, sport, business, entertainment, news and current affairs, and children’s programming, drama, and soap operas.

As Africa’s leading entertainment platform and most loved storyteller, MultiChoice continuously seeks opportunities to provide local and inspired content to Zimbabwean audiences.

MultiChoice Zimbabwe General Manager, Norman Raisbeck

On their part, ZTN is also very excited and had this to say:

We are excited to be partnering with MultiChoice in bringing a fresh and unique approach to Zimbabwean storytelling into the market.

ZTN aims to cater for a wide variety of Zimbabwean viewers and tastes.

ZTN General Manager Nomsa Nkala

There is a shortage of digital Zimbabwean content on traditional broadcast channels in Zimbabwe where the government has kept a tight grip on airwaves. This is in contrast to the more liberal airwaves that has seen a lot of competition and exciting programmes albeit from government affiliates.

ZTV is not what it used to be

ZTV, our sole TV broadcaster seems to have lost its way along the way. I think we can all agree on one thing; ZTV is not what it used to be. It is now worse than a pale former shadow of itself. For the past five or so years we have had to make do with alternatives. I am not talking about the partisanship of ZTV here. Although we cannot ignore that either, it is usually the poor production quality and the poor picture quality that puts a lot of people off.

For years there was only one ZTV channel but that has changed in recent months as several channels have been launched and these instead of exonerate ZTV have just exposed it. Unlike at ZTN, which is also owned by the government, the hand of the government seems to weigh heavily on ZTV to the extend that professionals are either lacking or not given the chance to shine. Their launch of the Jive Music channel was sad as it was laughable with boomers dominating the scene and musicians nowhere to be found.

In contrast, ZTN has been a jewel and have focused on what average Zimbabweans like me want: information and entertainment. In fact, their line up which includes exciting shows like Soul Mate, Days at Ekasi, Village Court and even the News seems very promising. ZTN seems intended to provide information and entertainment rather than wasting our time talking about politics. Zimbabweans are apathetic when it comes to politics for a reason. They are tired of everything being politicised.

People want to be informed with tidbits like the price of bread has gone up so much, news on their local favourite celebrities, dramas, local movies and documentaries without being annoyed by politicians. ZTN already provides much of that on their digital platforms and I think they are going to be a hit. When digital TV goes mainstream, ZTN will be up there.