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M-NET EXTENDS EGOLI CONTRACT (article first published : 2007-08-10)

For the seventeenth consecutive year, pay-television operator M-Net and Franz Marx Films, producers of South Africa's evergreen soap, Egoli, have renewed their production agreement.

The newly-signed contract stipulates that Franz Marx Films will produce another twelve months of Egoli episodes, to be screened on M-Net until the end of March 2009.

M-Net's Head of Original Productions, Carl Fischer, says the decision to extend Egoli's contract is based on the soap's remarkable performance. "Egoli has become an institution in the homes of many of our M-Net subscribers and even after almost 4,000 episodes it continues to grow audiences in our key target markets."

According to Fischer, both of M-Net's daily dramas, Binnelanders and Egoli, are performing extremely well after the closure of Open Time in April this year.

"Now that we don't have access to any other viewers, we can only measure a show's performance in terms of its pay television viewership," explains Fisher. "Currently, Egoli has more pay television viewers than ever before, while Binnelanders has grown the 18h30 timeslot, previously occupied by sitcoms, by a substantial 145%. Egoli also continues to be the number one M-Net programme on weekdays between 17h00 and 19h00."

Binnelanders and Egoli have become fixtures on M-Net's weekly list of Top Ten Programmes, where their ratings compare favourably to international hits such as Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Lost and Prison Break.

"Rumours that soaps on other channels are diluting our audiences, are not true", says Fischer. "Since Binnelanders moved to the 18h30 slot, viewership of its direct competitor, 7de Laan, has in fact decreased by 46% among pay television viewers. At the same time, the Binnelanders audience has shown an 11% increase since it turned into a daily drama."

These days, Egoli and Binnelanders are available on a variety of platforms, including DStv's Compact bouquet, which currently has 130,000 subscribers.




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