Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, plans to separately list entertainment subsidiary MultiChoice on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
The new publicly listed company is named MultiChoice Group and comprises MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa and conditional access tech firm Irdeto.
Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This marks a significant step for the Naspers Group as we continue our evolution into a global consumer internet company. Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered top-40 JSE-listed African entertainment company.”
The level at which video entertainment has penetrated Africa is quite low, even though it is the fastest growing continent by GDP and population. This is why MultiChoice is being unbundled with limited leverage so it can pursue other opportunities in video entertainment.
This new business aims to offer streaming services online including DSTV Now and Showmax.
Video entertainment CEO Imtiaz Patel declared that: “There are significant growth opportunities for MultiChoice Group in Africa. The combination of MultiChoice’s reach, Showmax and DStv Now’s cutting-edge internet television service, alongside Irdeto’s 360-degree security suite, will provide a unique offering.”
Naspers’ video entertainment business, one of the fastest growing pay TV operators worldwide, entertains about 13.5 million households all over Africa due to its multi-platform structure.
The first MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy, which was unveiled in May, is set to begin in Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia.
It will be kickstarted by a symbolic walk to freedom by the African film and television industry on October 1 – the day Nigeria gained independence. The walk symbolises freedom from challenges that have hindered the progress of the industry.
Each academy will host 20 skilled individuals who have a one-year funded opportunity to learn skills in storytelling, film editing, cinematography and audio production. Filmmaker Femi Odugbemi, who heads the MTF Academy in Lagos, will pass on his knowledge in film and TV production to the students.
“We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs,” he said.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held a summit at the StarTimes headquarters in Beijing attended by the presidents of 18 African countries.
The event was attended by almost 3,200 delegates from Africa, China and international bodies and concluded that the long-standing relationship between China and Africa is intact and will continue.
The success of the Forum has led to an initiative to further strengthen the relationship between the continent and China, despite challenges.
StarTimes, a Chinese multinational media company as well as a major digital TV operator in Africa, has worked on projects that include helping about 10,000 African villages gain access to satellite TV and also the campaign to tackle HIV/AIDS.
President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadera said 103 villages had been helped by the company in his country. “StarTimes can bring news and information to these 103 villages where it has established its information network, and allows these villagers access to the whole world. This is a remarkable thing for these inhabitants,” he said.
This project was a collaboration between China and Africa with the aim of making sure families had access to high-quality TV programmes and images.
The 18 African heads of state came to show support for StarTimes and its endeavours in Africa.
The visitors included Ghana’s First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo. To honour her visit, StarTimes donated 24 football kits to support her foundation.
Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane and the Chinese ambassador to Lesotho Sun Xianghua were also present.
Ten villages in Lesotho were offered projector TV sets and solar powered generation systems by StarTimes president Pang Xinxing.
Also at the summit were Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio and his wife, the First Lady Fatima Maada Bio, and the Chinese ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by the MD of StarTimes, Gu Xun, and Sierra Leone’s minister of information and communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, on cooperation.
StarTimes also donated TV sets to villages in Sierra Leone.
President Bio said: “I look forward to having StarTimes in Sierra Leone.”
A meeting was held in Beijing with the aim of creating awareness among young people about HIV/AIDS using online mobile platforms. It was attended by the First Lady of the Republic of Malawi Gertrude Mutharika, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé and StarTimes Group vice president Guo Ziqi.
Nigerian regional IPTV service provider Pipul TV is set to use V-Nova’s Perseus Plus video technology when it launches.
Video processing and delivery solutions provider V-Nova’s tech will allow Pipul TV to provide content at 1Mbps and 720p video at 300kbps.
The move comes amid an expanding local IPTV and video-on-demand market, with research showing usage of mobile phones has increased recently.
Pipul TV said V-Nova will help it to give consumers the experience they want, provide video content at low cost and also address the issues of connectivity in Africa.
The Pipul TV OTT service aims to offer 200 local and international channels and reach an estimated two million users within three years.
Benjamin Okoroafor, CEO of Pipul TV, said: “Pipul TV has a clear goal to become the leading provider of premium entertainment in Nigeria.
“Pipul TV is founded on a principle of delivering content with no subscriber-side data costs through agreements with local telcos which are made feasible by the lower bitrates Perseus Plus enables.
“Because Perseus Plus can be deployed to all devices today and provides such a significant improvement in the quality of experience that our customers will receive, it was clear this would be an absolute game-changer for the economics of our business and something that will keep us well ahead of the competition.”
Guido Meardi, CEO and co-founder of V-Nova, said: “Examples across the globe are showing that IP delivery is what will drive massive growth in video and entertainment services, challenging existing networks and current technology solutions.”
The Cartoon Network has launched a PowerPuff Girls (PPG) Awards competition, with entries open until October 15 and the winner to be declared by the end of the month.
The aim of the competition is to showcase the talents of young girls in Africa aged 9-14 through the projects they submit.
The awards ceremony will take place in November in Johannesburg and the winners in each category will win US$1,500. The winners will be assisted by South African singer and songwriter Toya Delazy as their artistic mentor.
“The PPG Awards celebrates young African girls and their achievements. It aims to empower young girls to express themselves and never give up on their dreams,” said Delazy.
“We hope that the PPG Awards provide a platform to bring out the strength that every young African girl carries within her and allows her to become the amazing little superhero that she really is.”
The prizes will be named the Buttercup Award, the Bubbles Award and the Blossom Award.
The Buttercup Award is for girls who can create inventions related to science and technology. The Bubbles Award is for girls imaginative enough to come up with original art works that reflect girls’ empowerment. The Blossom Award is for girls who can think outside the box and take their ideas to another level.
Nigerian web series The Bridge is set to return to screens tomorrow.
The show, produced by BusinessDay Media, will start airing weekly from September 13.
The series consists of 13 episodes and will air on both Silverbird Television, Business Day Television and the YouTube channel of BusinessDay partner FCMB Group.
Anchoring the show will be Arese Ugwu, author of The Smart Money Woman, and other guest speakers are Mai Atafo, creative director of Nigerian fashion brand Mai Atafo; Adebola Williams, co-founder of Red Media and Statecraft; as well as other successful business owners.
Viewers will be able to take part in practice lessons. The aim of the show is to improve financial literacy among young people and help them build successful businesses.
Agricultural business organisation AgroNigeria, based in Ikeja, is set to launch a television series.
AgroNigeria has partnered with as-yet undisclosed Nollywood actors and producers to launch the series with the aim of attracting young Nigerians to work in the agricultural sector.
According to Richard-Mark Mbaram, CEO of Verdure Vision subsidiary AgroNigeria, the project aims to held people relate easily to the agricultural sector.
“We want to use the screen to demystify the notion that agriculture is a complex sector, hence collaborating with some renowned figures in the Nollywood industry,” he said.
The TV series will showcase core aspects of agriculture and address issues related to them, such as transportation, government and marketing.
“Nigeria must get its acts together to systematically take on the opportunities in the sector. We need to show and talk about issues as they occur, like transportation and marketing. In other climes, transportation of farm produce is easy but in Nigeria it is hard work because of the state of our roads,” said Mbaram.
This project is supported by the Africa Development Bank, Oxfam and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. Details of the Nollywood actors and TV producers attached to the show have yet to emerge.
AgroNigeria is the organiser of Feed Nigeria Summit, an annual conference that brings together stakeholders in the agri business, both at home and abroad, to discuss issues and innovations.
Nigerian film makers and TV producers are constantly battling with the high rate of piracy and dubbing of online materials by viewers, Nigeria International Television (NITV) Summit delegates heard this week.
In the closing session at the NITV Summit on Wednesday, before the vote of thanks by conference founder Ijeoma Onah and cocktails, panellists tackled the topic Understanding Digital Content Monetisation & the Future of VoD in Nigeria.
Media professionals discussed the challenges they encounter with their online content as well as the various formats available to them as regards VoD.
This session was moderated by Izu Osuigwe, CEO of Forest TV, while the panellists included Chioma Ude, chairman of Envivo; Denis Pagnac, founder and CEO of Summview; movie actor Emeka Ossai; and movie producer Madu Chikwendu.
One of the issues addressed by the panel was the challenges producers face when putting their content online. Some of these include the inability to have your own channel as a producer, which can ultimately lead to failure.
Another threat to producers, according to the panel, is not creating unique content and failing to partner with telecom operators, since producers often fail if they try to monetise content online on their own.
One of the proven ways that producers can get revenue from online content is by partnering with corporations to advertise their products within that content.
The panel agreed that by targeting advertisers’ needs, producers will be able to generate revenue. “Who you are and who you know matters a lot,” said Ude, who is also the founder of the Africa International Film Festival.
Marketing is also key if you want your content to be known by the masses. Not only will you garner publicity and viewers but it will also promote you as a producer.
Delegates also heard how Envivo offers content providers the opportunity to showcase their videos, which are subsequently translated into different video formats.
The panel concluded that if producers are sensitive enough to know the direction the television industry and the world is headed, they will surely not be left behind.
Producers deliberated on the issue of revenues at the recently concluded Nigeria International Television (NITV) Summit.
A plenary, attended by many TV industry producers, addressed the topic of What Producers Want: The Battle For Revenues & Justifying Production Investments.
Speakers included TV presenter and Rave TV CEO Agatha Amata, EMCOAN president Paul Igwe, EbonyLife TV’s head of programming Heidi Huys and Ana Ballo, CEO of RTI Distribution. The session was moderated by Ijeoma Onah, founder of NITV and sister event Nigeria International Film Summit.
Speaking about producers’ expectations and how the industry often falls short of them, Amata said that new producers in Nigeria must have a side business in order to sustain their work.
“Producers should stick to their day jobs because if the content holders don’t get their channels picked they can go back to the beginning,” she said.
However, according to Huys, producers can ensure growth in business and increase in revenue with the right strategy. “Budgets ever only go one way and that is down. Therefore, to remain sustainable you must realise that creating content is not about all you love but what your market likes,” she said.
“Learn to know what appeals to them, prepare content based on that and success is ensured because people will go out of their way to seek your content.
“Your decision to produce as a producer should always be dependent on demand, if you want to make it in this country, otherwise you will be left hanging. The problem is that when we produce we don’t have people in mind, we just produce and that’s not right,” said Igwe.
The panel agreed that it is hard to develop content in Nigeria and expect full returns because there are no records, no favourable policies from the government and hardly any support.
“In Nigeria, we have no data. We do not have facts that support our information because there are no templates to operate on,” said Amata.
Animation is an often-neglected part of Nigeria’s media industry but this is beginning to change, delegates at Nigeria International Television (NITV) Summit heard.
In a roundtable discussion at the Wednesday event, studio heads and animators discussed the uniqueness of the animation industry as well as the challenges.
Speakers included Mbuotidem Johnson, CEO of Basement Animation; Ayodele Elegba, CEO of Spoof Animation; Kola Olarewaju, CEO at Komotion Studios; and Niyi Akinmolayan, CEO of Anthill Studios. The session was moderated by Somto Ajuluchukwu, MD of C3 African Network.
Highlighting the challenges facing the industry, panelists agreed that one of the major issues is electrical power, saying that the use of high-powered computers and other technology necessitates constant light, which is costly in Nigeria.
According to Akinmolayan, talent is also difficult to come by because there are no training schools in Nigeria, so it falls on the animation studios to train animators, which is a long and costly process.
“Finding the right person to do your job is not easy because there are no qualified people and no training schools. Therefore, that responsibility lies on us, so we train and do the job simultaneously because that is the best tactic,” he said.
Agreeing with this, Johnson, who is also the founder of trade body Animation Nigeria, said: “I came from a background of 3D animation but as I considered my options, I switched to 2D. With 2D I can finish a project and train faster. Within a month a trained person can execute 2D renderings well enough, but 3D takes about five to six months of training and you’ve hardly begun.
“Finding investors is also one of the hardest thing to do. So to stay in this industry you have to do things in unusual ways.”
For Akinmolayan, director of The Wedding Party, the right approach to sustaining an animation studio is to get other jobs to keep the cash flowing.
“Do something on the side. I make money as a film director. If you call me to do wedding videos, I will do it. Anything to keep the money flowing in, because animation is a long-term investment and I’m not giving up.”
Olarewaju highlighted the issue of religion and animation. “When we did [short film] Sango, many people said it was fetish. They liked it but would badmouth it because of their religion. They do not see it as a work of art but as something fetish, which is mostly how Nigerians react to something out of the norm,” he said.
“The audience demand in the international market and here in Nigeria varies. Animation in the international market is often created for younger audiences, for under-nines, or nine- to 13-year-olds. However, here it appeals more to adults, so to break the market in Nigeria we are often forced to create content for adults, which is kind of restricting,” said Johnson.
Elegba, also founder of Lagos Comic Con (LCC), advised on the right strategy for getting investors. “If you are only thinking of how good your content is, you will run down,” he said. “You have to think of the business side – think distribution, coproduction, and more.”
LCC, of which Content Nigeria is a media partner, takes place at the Landmark Centre, VI, Lagos on September 15.
The first roundtable session of the Nigeria International Television Summit addressed the need for TV producers to create relevant content in the broadcast industry.
The discussion was led by Ahmadou Bakayoko, director general of Ivory Coast public broadcaster RTI, who showcased the promotion of Nollywood content on screen.
The other speakers on Wednesday included Ana Ballo, head of distribution arm RTI Distribution; Paul Igwe, president of content owners trade association EMCOAN; and Ariyikie Oladipo, film producer at EMCOAN.
The various media stakeholders deliberated on the necessity for Nigeria and Ivory Coast to partner and collaborate in order to promote African content.
“We aim to promote and distribute RTI’s own productions in Ivory Coast and abroad,” Ballo said.
There needs to be a shift from the norm and producers need to come up with new ideas that will replace existing ones on television, she added. “We require stories that have volume of content.”
In view of this, producers ought to know their market and consumer demands so that they can effectively produce meaningful content, the panel agreed.
Emphasising the point, Oladipo revealed that EMCOAN only uses equipment of international standard, which gives it the best quality content.
Coproduction was also top of the agenda, with panel members believing it would help strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and Ivory Coast. “You cannot make money alone,” Ahmadou said, concluding that partnerships are important.
Making high-quality, premium content is the way to go for the TV industry, the panel concluded.
The sixth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) was hosted on Saturday evening at the Eko Hotels & Suites in Lagos.
Media personalities and movie stars from across the continent were present at the ceremony, dressed up and ready to have some fun.
The AMVCAs had some 120 nominations in 27 categories. These included Best Short Film/Online Video, Best Movie East Africa, Best Overall Movie and Best Television Series. Other special awards were the Trailblazer Award and Industry Merit Award.
The Best Television Series award was taken by This Is It, beating four other nominees that included Gina & Friends, Professor Johnbull, Papa Ajasco Reloaded and Relatives.
Meanwhile, the winner of the best documentary award was Dennis Wanjohi for his film The Flesh Business. Other nominees were Nightfall in Lagos (James Amuta), God’s Wives (Bolanle Olukanni), Styles Defunct by Ayaworanho3d (Aderemi Davies) and Calabar Carnival: What the People Think (Oghenefego Ofili).
Actress and former Big Brother Naija housemate Bisola Aiyeola also won the AMVCA Trailblazer Award, not to mention a car from pay TV group MultiChoice, for her role in the industry.
Renowned filmmaker and producer Tunde Kelani (Arugba, Life in Slow Motion, Dazzling Mirage) was honoured with the Industry Merit Award.
The AMVCAs had its inaugural edition in 2013 and has gone on to become the biggest annual award ceremony celebrating professionals in the film and TV industry in Africa.
Broadcaster EbonyLife TV is set to air the Nigerian version of US gameshow format The Dating Game soon and has a major sponsor attached.
The broadcaster recently signed a partnership with telecommunications company Airtel Nigeria that will see the company sponsor the show.
Airtel Nigeria’s chief commercial officer Dinesh Balsingh said: “I am pleased with the partnership with EbonyLife to deliver the maiden edition of The Dating Game Nigeria to the homes and smartphones of our esteemed telecoms consumers.
“Without a doubt, the vision of the show aligns with our philosophy of connecting people and Airtel will not relent in its quest of creating and supporting credible and exciting platforms that will further unite us as Nigerians.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the show can apply here.
The Dating Game is a TV reality show that offers single people a chance to find a suitable partner by pairing them up with who best suits them.
The series is being produced under licence from Sony Pictures Television and will start on EbonyLife TV before the end of the year. It will have its finale during the Valentine season in 2019.
Broadcaster MultiChoice has released the names of 20 shortlisted applicants who have been selected to join the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).
Narrowing it down from about 3,000 applicants from Ghana and Nigeria, the MTF judges made their selections based on the candidates’ industry qualifications and their passion for telling the African narrative.
Femi Odugbemi, film director and producer and MTF regional director, said: “From the thousands of applications received, it’s evident there’s a strong desire to learn from and work with other African creatives.
“Not only will the MultiChoice Talent Factory be a springboard to a career in the entertainment industry, it will also create a closely knit community of African professionals with a willingness to narrate Africa’s stories to the world,” he added.
The shortlisted students include Nigerian candidates Idongesit Amba, Allen Onyige, Gilbert Bassey, Precious Iroagalachi, Nanret Paul Kumbet, Akpera Mnena, Umm’salma Saliu, Ugwu Uchenna Eileen, Sonia Nwosu, Moses Akerele, Metong Minwon, Bolaji Adelakun, Joseph Adeniyi, Kemi Tamara Adeyemi, Tochukwu Nwaiwu and Blessing Bulus.
The Ghanaian candidates are Edmund Kobby Asamoah, Henry Konadu Denkyira, Irene Dumevi Yaamoakoa and Patience Esiawonam Adisenu.
MultiChoice will sponsor the students’ tuition, accommodation and stipend for the duration of their training in the academy. The MTF academy will begin on October 1.
John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice, said: “As a company that is deeply rooted in Nigeria, we understand that many young, aspiring filmmakers have the capacity to learn and strengthen their skillset to give back to their communities but may not be financially equipped to do so.
“The MultiChoice Talent Factory focuses on making sure that those gems are nurtured and their talents developed to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s creative industry.”
From next month, MTF students will begin to acquire new skillsets required to work in the television and film industry. At the end of the 12-month programme, they will be expected to produce content for TV and film that will air on M-Net channels as part of MultiChoice pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.
Pay TV platform DSTV has launched an advertising campaign featuring its new brand ambassador, international football star Alex Iwobi.
In July, DSTV owner MultiChoice Nigeria announced the Super Eagles and Arsenal FC forward as its brand ambassador for the DSTV Compact bouquet.
The pay TV company has now launched an ad campaign featuring Iwobi, which includes TV, digital, radio and press adverts and was launched to coincide with the start of 2018/19 Premier League season.
With this new ad, Iwobi showcases his passion for football and uses it to tell a story about the importance of choices.
According to Martin Mabutho, general manager of sales and marketing at MultiChoice Nigeria: “It’s always about choices. As people, we make choices every single day, and the choices we make play a huge role in shaping who we become in future.
“Alex Iwobi is who he is today because of some of the brilliant choices he made in the past; taking up his uncle’s mantle by juggling a football, to signing with top football club Arsenal FC.
“The power of fun and affordability defines Compact and with over 120 channels, our customers are spoilt for choice with front-row live football action from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and perfectly picked local drama series, action movies and other lifestyle channels.”
Premier League matches are available on the Compact package for N6,800 (US$19) monthly. New subscribers can get the HD Decoder, dish and one month DSTV Compact subscription for N11,900.
Award-winning Nigerian TV presenter Stephanie Coker is set to launch a presenting course next month.
The two-day course will feature intensive studies on how to be a presenter, some of which will focus on using a teleprompter, script writing, studio and location presenting and interview techniques.
According to Coker, the maiden edition of the programme aims to teach participants what it takes to be a TV presenter in the digital era. It will take place on September 1 and 2 costing N50,000 (US$138). Those interested can apply by registering here.
The masterclass comes a few months after TV presenter Bolanle Olukanni also launched a similar course teaching the right approach to TV presenting.
Coker began her media career in 2011 as an anchor of the Street Request show on MTV Base Africa. Since then, she has acted as co-host on several platforms, such as MTV Big Friday Show, EbonyLife TV and The Voice Nigeria. She is presently a co-host of The Morning Show on Arise News.
EbonyLife TV is calling for entries for its adaptation of international television format The Dating Game.
In a post on Instagram, Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, has said those interested can now apply to take part in The Dating Game Nigeria.
“If you’re looking for love, the wait is almost over. EbonyLife TV, in partnership with Sony Pictures Television [SPT], is pleased to announce that applications for Dating Game Nigeria are now open. This could be your chance to find the partner of your dreams,” she wrote.
In March, EbonyLife TV announced its plans to launch the first ever African adaptation of the show, in partnership with SPT, sometime this year.
The Dating Game offers single people a chance to find a suitable partner by pairing them up. The gameshow involves an individual asking three potential partners a series of questions and picking the one whose answers attract them the most.
The Dating Game (aka Blind Date) has been on air since the 1960s and is set to reach more audiences in Africa by launching on EbonyLife TV.
Nigerian digital rights body Paradigm Initiative has called for the removal of Modibbo Kawu, director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), over a social media message.
The non-governmental organisation made the request through a letter to NBC’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo, claiming Kawu recently made provocative and tribalistic comments on a WhatsApp group that could incite hatred.
As Paradigm Initiative pointed out in its letter, the NBC monitors all Nigerian broadcast stations and sanctions them if they breach the national broadcasting code.
However, NBC’s director general seems not to abide by the same rules, Paradigm Initiative alleges.
“We do not believe that Mr Modibbo has the moral compass to continue to administer the affairs of the NBC. This country deserves leaders who not only promise the rule of law and the observance of democratic principle but also administer it, not only during office hours but every day of their lives,” the company said.
Boye Adegoke, programme manager at Paradigm Initiative, added: “Given the sensitive nature of Mr Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.
“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the director general of the commission responsible for, among other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. It will be hypocritical for him to remain in office and continue to determine what is broadcast and what is not.”
Further details are yet to be disclosed about the complaint or any responses to it.