MTV Networks will launch its 100th channel, covering the entire African continent, on Feb. 22. On its launch day, it will reach about 1.3 million African households through cable, satellite and MMDS

MTV Networks will launch its 100th channel, covering the entire African continent, on Feb. 22.

As previously reported, MTV Base will be a 24-hour, English-language music channel. On its launch day, it will reach about 1.3 million African households through cable, satellite and MMDS distribution. U.S. rapper Xzibit will be the first artist to greet the viewers.

Programming will feature videos by international and African artists.

A commitment to encouraging and developing grass-roots African music talent is a major part of the agenda, MTV says. The channel will broadcast a weekly 30-minute music documentary series, "MTV Base Spotlight," focusing on emerging artists from around the continent.

"With its focus on the broad spectrum of contemporary African music, MTV base is designed to become part of the fabric of African youth culture, providing African fans with a unique pan-regional music mix that ignores geographical and political boundaries to access the best African and urban music and talent from around the world," MTV Networks Europe president/CEO Brent Hansen says.

MTV says it has appointed "a continentwide network of talent scouts" to locate and develop new artists. "Most of our local content will be produced in Africa itself," explains a spokesperson. Initially, the channel will partner with local African production houses to develop shows, with some post-production taking place in London. "Subsequently, we hope to open our own production operation in Africa," the spokesperson says.

The channel will also present "Save the Humans," a new HIV/AIDS prevention campaign from "Staying Alive," MTV's HIV/AIDS prevention initiative.