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MTV weaves spinoff

Africa channel broadcasts to 48 countries

LONDON — MTV Networks will launch its 100th channel, a localized version of MTV Base, in Africa on Feb. 1.

The web aims to reflect the tastes and interests of African youth via a combination of African and international musicvideos as well as locally produced content alongside such MTV staples as “Cribs” and “Making the Video.”

MTV said the channel will provide a platform for a variety of African music genres including kwaito, hip-life, mbalax and zouk, plus international urban artists including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Sean Paul, IAM, Passi and Saian Supa Crew.

It will broadcast via satellite to 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

MTV Networks has sold its European channels to African markets since 1995, but this is the first service tailored to African auds.

The channel will premiere a series of local HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention messages, and screen fare from MTV Networks Intl.’s “Staying Alive” series.

Tom Freston, co-prexy/co-chief operating officer of MTV parent Viacom, said, “The launch of MTV Base in Africa completes our global footprint.”

Bill Roedy, president of MTV Networks Intl., said, “By tapping into Africa’s rich local music scene, we plan to play a major role in supporting and exporting Africa’s incredible artists and cultural heritage around the world.

“Having this platform in Africa will also help expand our efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic, a global priority for our company and a vital issue for Africans.”

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