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South Africa: TV channel to ignite motoring industry

Launching in October 2008, DStv's new weekend motoring channel Ignition TV is allegedly the first dedicated TV platform for an industry that ranks as one of the largest contributors to South African GDP, the SA car industry. Ignition is the third in a stable of TV brands launched by BDFM Media, the publisher of Business Day and Financial Mail (and part of media group Avusa).

Initially broadcasting on Summit TV, DStv 412 on Saturdays and Sundays, Ignition promises a visual feast with the latest car launches, road tests and reviews from around the globe and back home, as well as viewer advice and tips from local experts. But more than that, it should provide a platform for industry news and in-depth interview with industry leaders about future trends and developments in the sector.

“It's unbelievable that in this car-mad country of ours there's no motoring TV channel. It's such an obvious gap - you've got a combination of powerful content, deep-rooted brands, and great commercial opportunities. It's a hugely exciting venture and we can't wait to roll this out seven days a week,” says Vernon Matzopoulos, MD of Summit and The Home Channel.

Matzopoulos sees the current industry doldrums as a great opportunity. “It's at times like these that you need innovation. We're creating a powerful visual environment that's going to help dealers and car makers stand out from the clutter. Now is the time to invest in brands and capture market share.”

One innovation, a supposed first for South Africa TV, is the TV showroom. This will allow viewers to browse videos of the latest cars for sale from dealers - without leaving the comfort of their armchairs. Professional TV crews will film the cars on location and will update these each week.

On the content side, Ignition will be fronted by car fanatic and TV personality Marius Roberts. The team will include seasoned motoring producer (and girl-racer) Lindsay Vine as executive producer, and straight-shooting journalist Morgan Naidu doing the road tests. Panels of the country's top motoring journalists will share their views and opinions on the latest cars, and answer viewer questions, plus there will be interviews with industry leaders and all the latest motoring news.

“We aim to offer a channel that is informative, entertaining and valuable to the South African motoring public,” says executive producer Vine. “It will become an interactive place for all things motoring, from the excitement wheels give many of us personally, to the more serious industry issues affecting our economy. “

To keep up to speed with international news, launches and events, Ignition has signed an exclusive deal with world-renowned motoring TV experts Auto Mundial that promises to bring additional glamour and quality footage. It has also secured the rights to top-rated shows such as Great Cars (a nostalgic look at classic marques) and Tuning Mania (turn your banger into a blinger).

“We hope Ignition will ultimately grow into a channel that attracts everything motoring, from the joys and memories cars have entrenched in most of our minds, to the excitement of gearing up towards that next new car, all done in what must surely remain the ultimate medium for showcasing cars: the moving pictures and sounds that make up TV,” says Vine.Ignition launches on DStv Channel 412 from 11 October.

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