All posts by Gary

TV veteran Okhai to stand for president

Victor Okhai, veteran journalist, producer and filmmaker, has confirmed he will be standing in Nigeria’s 2019 presidential elections.

Victor Okhai

Okhai will be contesting the 2019 presidential elections as a candidate of the Youth Democratic Party, with the motto Enough is Enough.

Okhai has been in the broadcast industry for more than three decades. He is a freelance journalist for TV networks including the BBC, Aljazeera, CNN, TVC and STV and is also co-founder of the Directors’ Guild of Nigeria and director of the International Film & Broadcast Academy in Lagos.

He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he gained a degree in mass communications and a master’s degree in PR. He later went on to study in several other tertiary institutions, obtaining certificates from the School of Media & Communication, Pan-Atlantic University; National Film & Television Institute; University of Lagos; and Goethe Institut, among others.

He has been a partner at the Goethe Institut, Lagos since 1988 and has worked with the institute to host the International Short Film Festival in Nigeria, the first in the country and sub-Saharan Africa.

The 51-year-old has been very passionate about the role of politics and the creative industry in Nigeria, which led to him addressing these issues in several presentations.

In 2007, he delivered a speech titled The Role of Art, Film and Politics in Nigeria at the German embassy. In 2008, he presented a paper titled Emerging Talents – Nollywood and the New Wave African Cinema.

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Falz to make Hollywood TV debut

Nigerian rapper and comic Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, will feature in an original TV drama series from BLK Prime, a Silicon Valley-based subscription VoD platform.

Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana

Falz has announced he will be making his Hollywood debut on BLK Prime’s TV series Church. He will play lead character William Randolph Church, a charismatic Nigerian billionaire.

Falz, star of popular Nigerian TV series Jenifa’s Diary, said he is enthusiastic about this new role. “I am so excited to introduce my character to audiences around the world and to be a part of BLK Prime’s mission of offering diverse streaming entertainment worldwide.”

In a statement, Scott Scherer, senior VP of BLK Prime, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Falz. With millions of fans around the world and nearly three million Instagram followers, Falz has proven to be a gifted performer with the ability to captivate an audience. Church is a complex character that will showcase Falz in a way audiences have never seen him before.”

Church is set to premiere worldwide on BLK Prime before the end of June. Falz made the announcement to his Instagram followers on Friday.

In 2016, Falz won the Africa Movies Viewer’s Choice Awards for Best in a Comedy Series/Movie, making him the first musician to win the award.

Backed by EFC Investment Group, BLK Prime is an SVoD platform based in California and is available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Prime streaming services.

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Women in TV: Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu

“I’m responsible for my own success and I have never limited my capabilities because I am a woman. I don’t see the gender factor because your performance and consistency will take you far in life.” Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu

March is recognised worldwide as women’s month. In view of this, Content Nigeria is celebrating women who have made an impact in Nigeria’s TV industry.

Today we profile Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, regional director for West Africa at M-Net, who has proven to be a constant innovator and achiever, inspiring everyone she comes across.

Mba-Uzoukwu has had a passion for broadcasting since she was a child, when she aspired to become a newscaster. After competing in a beauty pageant at 17, she went on to study political science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, forsaking her dreams of studying international relations and becoming a diplomat.

A few years after graduating in 1992, Mba-Uzoukwu started working at marketing agency Tequila Nigeria as its client service manager. She later went on to study direct marketing at the Institute of Direct Marketing in the UK, bagging a post-graduate diploma. Afterwards, she went on to work in the Nigerian offices of several multinational companies, such as British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola and Airtel.

Mba-Uzoukwu joined pay TV broadcaster M-Net Africa in 2012 as its West African regional manager, in charge of strategic planning, marketing and operations.

In 2014, she became the regional director for M-Net’s operations in West Africa, managing its various channels, including Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Family, Africa Magic Epic, Africa Magic Urban, Africa Magic World and three local-language channels: Africa Magic Hausa, Africa Magic Yoruba and Africa Magic Igbo.

She pioneered the launch of Africa Magic Igbo and the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, driven by her passion for the television and film industry in Nigeria.

According to Mba-Uzoukwu, her ideas are aided by the fact that she launched her career in strategic planning and marketing first. She once said that her husband persuaded her to go into marketing because she seemed to have a zest for it. For Wangi, content is key and the right kind helps to broaden minds.

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Nigerian media heads to MipTV in force

MipTV is set to hold another edition of its programme market in Cannes, France in April, this time with a big delegation of Nigerian TV executives in attendance.

The four-day event features masterclasses, screenings, exhibitions, panel discussions and workshops. At the MipFormats sidebar event, there will also be a panel session dedicated to the issues surrounding the development of TV formats in Nigeria.

To be held on April 8, the session will be titled The Producers Toolbox: Will Nigeria Host The Next Format Boom? Four speakers will address the topic, discussing the TV industry in Nigeria and the efforts to develop original TV formats and content for domestic and international markets.

The speakers will include Chichi Nwoko, CEO of Hey, What’s On?; Olasupo Odebiyi, creative director of Pixelator Multimedia; Neil Oyenekan, CEO of Lighthouse Television & Filmwork; and Duncan Irvine, CEO of Rapid Blue.

More than 10,000 TV professionals will represent their companies and media organisations at the event. Some of the Nigeria companies that will be buying and selling include Digital Play, National Broadcasting Commission, Rapid Blue, StarTimes Media, Screenshot Media, Pixelator Multimedia and Lighthouse Television & Filmworks.

Chineye Nworah, chief operating officer and head of content at Screenshot, told Content Nigeria about the company’s MipTV plans: “We attend various content markets annually. Content is what we are about, from feature films to reality TV shows, we aim to sell this content and distribute it. Though we would not be exhibiting at MipTV, we have meetings scheduled with other companies who have indicated their interest in our content.”

MipFormats will take place in Cannes from April 7 to 8, while MipTV runs from April 9 to 12.

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Script to Screen returns for seventh run

Abuja-based High Definition Film Academy (HDFA) is preparing to launch the seventh edition of its reality TV show on March 24.

Script to Screen aims to train filmmakers by helping to develop their skills through direct mentorship and tasks.

Some 60 participants have been chosen from more than 20,000 applicants. Auditions were held in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, US, UK and Canada.

According to the organisers at the HDFA’s production arm, High Definition Film Studio, this year’s edition will tackle the issue of corruption in Nigeria, with the theme Corruption-Free Nigeria.

Participants will be divided into four teams that will undergo intensive training and lecturing from various mentors. They will also work with the organisers of the show to produce short films featuring top Nollywood actors.

Eviction will be held bi-weekly and viewers can vote for their favourite team. Participants with the lowest performance will be evicted by a jury.

Script to Screen’s 2018 jury and facilitators include Nollywood actors and producers such as Blossom Chukwujekwu, Nse Ikpe Etim, OC Ukeje, Bright Wonder, Teco Benson and Kalu Ikeagwu.

Asides from the filmmaking training, participants will also be lectured by MacArthur Foundation representatives on the issue of corruption in Nigeria.

Script to Screen’s finale will feature the premiere of six short films produced by the teams. The leading films will be awarded in categories including Best Screenplay, Best Filmmaker, Best Actor and Overall Best Short Film (Team Award). Each award comes with cash prizes.

The show begins on March 24 and ends on April 21 and will air on TV channels including Wazobia Max, STV, AIT and Africa Magic.

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Big Brother loses Lifu

Leo and Ifu Ennada, alias Lifu

Leo and Ifu Ennada have been evicted from the Big Brother Naija (BBN) reality TV show.

The pair – also known as Team Lifu – were sent home at last night’s live eviction show after polling the lowest public vote (10.90%).

Last week, the pair were nominated for eviction alongside Cee C and Lolu (aka Ceelo), Alex and Tobi (aka Tolex) and Miracle and Anto (aka Mito).

Their eviction comes after Leo and Ifu won the Pepsi Challenge and also recently won the Heritage Bank’s Treasure Hunt.

Mito had the highest number of votes (34.16%) in last night’s public vote. Ceelo and Tolex had 30.38% and 24.56% of the vote, respectively.

Ebuka Uchedu, host of BBN, has announced that contestants will no longer be paired.

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Subair: take back control of our TV

Toyin Subair, exec chairman of media company Digital Play, has called out to the federal government to regain control of Nigeria’s TV industry from foreign companies.

Toyin Subair

In a recent interview with newspaper The Nation, Subair said Nigeria has the biggest creative industry in Africa but is unable to monetise its content because of the invasion of foreign TV companies. These control the TV infrastructure and dictate what is broadcast, he claimed.

According to Subair, home-based infrastructure is what is needed to help the industry thrive. “We need to fight the infrastructural battle. We need to own the platforms. We need to get the right kind of funding,” he said.

“We need to ensure that our stories are told the way we want them to be told and that they are not bastardised by the ones controlling it. Somebody else is deciding what goes on and what doesn’t, when it should go out and how it shouldn’t go out. You don’t want that; you don’t want people to take our creativity out of the country.”

Subair, former CEO of now defunct Nigerian pay TV outfit HiTV, said the digital switch over (DSO) transition will be instrumental in the nation’s control over its content, with the advent of set-top boxes ensuring content creators have access to more than 24 million TV households.

However, he pleaded with the Nigerian government to ensure that DSO is not taken over by foreign companies.

He also claimed that while DSO is lucrative it needs to be funded. “They say there is no money, but how can you say there is no money? The very essence of DSO is that you free up spectrum that people can use to go and sell data and make data cheaper via LT 4G 5G.

“So, 16 analogue TV channels find that if they move to digital, they will only need a fraction of it and then you can take the rest and sell it. With regards to the funding of DSO, we are sitting on it ourselves with no transaction being done properly to free it. It’s like a chicken and egg situation.

“You are sitting on the money but you need to monetise it. You just need a few smart people in one room, create a model where it is used as security to fund the rest of DSO, and then once it is funded and you remove the people, you use the asset and sell it off to monetise the investment. Now, what I just said looks simple; we make it difficult for ourselves.”

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Nigeria unearths Sony’s Dragons’ Den

Lagos-based Ultima Studios has announced it will be producing the Nigerian adaption of TV gameshow Dragons’ Den, through a deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

Femi Ayeni

The Nigerian version will be called Lions’ Den. The format originated in Japan as Money Tigers before going on to be produced in 30 other countries, with names including Dragons’ Den, Shark Tank and Lions’ Den.

Contestants on the show pitch their business ideas to five entrepreneurial judges – called the Lions in the Nigerian version – who decide if their idea is profitable and worth investing in or not.

The pact continues Ultima’s relationship with SPT, as the two are already behind the Nigerian version of gameshow Who Wants to be a Millionaire? for the NTA network.

Ultima CEO Femi Ayeni told the press: “Ultima’s choice of Lions’ Den as its next venture is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians.

“The programme will not only provide exciting viewing for viewers at home but will also provide an opportunity for serious entrepreneurs to attract much-needed investment.

Mark Young

“Furthermore, as has been the case in all other countries where the show is running, it is not just the entrepreneurs but also the viewers at home that will benefit from the comments made by the Lions.”

Mark Young, SPT’s senior VP of distribution for the UK, Iberia and Africa, said: “Sony Pictures Television already has a fantastic and longstanding relationship with Ultima and we are thrilled to be working alongside them once more to bring Lions’ Den to Nigeria.

Ultima last year announced plans to launch the Nigerian adaptation of gameshow Family Feud. This week Ayeni confirmed the show was underway, following Ultima’s deal with rights holder FremantleMedia.

Ultima is yet to announce the launch date of these shows or the channels they will air on. Content Nigeria contacted the company, but is yet to get a response.

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Women in Nigerian TV: Mo Abudu

“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness. Never, ever take no for an answer; keep pushing until you get results.” Mo Abudu.

Mo Abudu at the premiere of The Wedding Party 2

Content Nigeria is celebrating International Women’s Day this month by focusing on notable women in the country’s TV industry.

We kick off with Mo Abudu, a woman whose tenacity, zeal and passion have helped her to break through frontiers in the world of media.

Veering into the world of broadcasting from unrelated business ventures such as human resources (HR) and hotel management, Mosunmola Abudu has proven to the world that she achieves whatever she sets her mind to.

Abudu, 53, popularly known as Mo Abudu, is one of Africa’s leading media moguls and a philanthropist. She gained a master’s degree in HR management from the University of Westminster in London. Afterwards, she worked at ExxonMobil for 10 years as the head of HR before starting up her HR development company, Vic Lawrence & Associates.

However, she later sought to pursue her dreams of becoming a TV presenter by going to the London Film School. Upon gaining a degree, Abudu launched her TV talkshow, Moments With Mo, in 2009. She interviewed many notable personalities, such as Wole Soyinka, Hillary Clinton, Mohammadu Buhari, Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida. Her talkshow addressed a range of topics, from lifestyle to politics.

Moments With Mo later became the first syndicated TV talkshow on African regional television. It airs in more than 40 countries across Africa, as well as on EbonyLife TV hosted by Vimbai Mutinhiri, Bolanle Olukanni and Tallaulah Doherty.

Abudu was the brains behind the now defunct reality TV show The Debaters, a competitive show where participants live together for 13 weeks and debate topical issues and the winner was given a cash prize. The Debaters aired for three seasons.

In 2013, Abudu became the first African woman to own a TV network, EbonyLife TV. EbonyLife airs original programmes and TV drama series such as Moments, EL Now, Men’s Corner, Sons of The Caliphate and Fifty.

In 2014, she debuted her first film, Fifty, at the Toronto Film Festival, to much acclaim. In 2016, EbonyLife Films coproduced The Wedding Party, a movie that still holds the record for being the highest grossing film in Nigeria. Its sequel premiered in Dubai in December 2017 and was also a record hit.

Abudu was also behind Desperate Housewives Africa, a pan-African adaptation of popular US drama series Desperate Housewives, as executive producer. Furthermore, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is currently in cinemas across the country.

Abudu has been described has ‘Africa’s Oprah’ and Forbes magazine recognised her as the first African woman to own a pan-African TV channel. She was also listed in the Hollywood Reporter has one of 25 most powerful women in global TV.

Abudu has received numerous honours, such as the Institute of Directors Fellowship Award and Entrepreneurial Award (2017), City People Movie Special Recognition Award(2017 and 2015) and City People Movie Award for Best Movie Producer of the Year (2017).

Abudu continues to scale heights few dare dream about. She is fearless, always looking for the next mountain to climb and can’t wait to see and experience what’s in store next.

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Nigeria to be ‘capital of African TV’

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, has claimed that the country is building Africa’s biggest and most lucrative free-to-air TV platform.

At the recent digital switchover (DSO) launch in Osun State, Mohammed said he is convinced that Nigeria will become the capital of African television within a few years.

“With over 24 million TV households, and being the capital of African creativity in music and film, I am now more than convinced that we will also become the capital of television in Africa within the next few years,” he said.

He urged phone companies to take advantage of the opportunities set before them by getting data across to the 24 million TV households in the country with set-top boxes.

According to the minister, content providers will be paid to have their programmes aired, and this will be done through an audience measurement system. “To Nollywood, your movies can now be sold directly to all homes in Nigeria without the need of a VCD, DVD or even the internet, using the DSO platform to market and sell films,” he added.

Mohammed also encouraged the state government to engage residents in the DSO transitions by creating jobs for them in production and distribution.

“I congratulate the people of this state [Osun], who will now have access to more than 30 digital channels, with crystal clear pictures and hi-fidelity audio, once they procure our most affordable set-top box,” he said.

Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed gratitude to the federal government and the minister for making the DSO transition possible and bringing new opportunities to broadcasting.

However, he appealed to the government for control measures on the Free TV platform to avoid explicit and offensive programmes.

As part of the launch event, Mohammed donated 100 set-top boxes to the state.

Osun State is the sixth to undergo DSO transition in Nigeria. So far, DSO has taken place in five states: Abuja, Jos, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu.

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Team Gelah sent home in BBN eviction

Team Gelah (Ahneeka and Angel) have been ejected from the Big Brother Naija (BBN) house during the reality programme’s live eviction show this week.

Ahneeka and Angel were paired as Team Gelah
Speaking to Ebuka Uchedu, host of BBN, about her eviction, Ahneeka said it came as no surprise to her. She plans to go back to TV presenting and modeling.

Ifu Ennada and Leo were also nominated for eviction but were saved by audience votes. The pair also won the Pepsi ‘Roc da mat’ challenge and will be given a N5m cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to London for the One Africa Music Festival, plus a year’s supply of Pepsi.

Of the three teams nominated for eviction – Gelah (Angel and Ahneeka) Ceelo (Lolu and Cee C) and Lifu (Leo and Ifu Ennada) – Ceelo got the highest number of votes, 44.67%, while Gelah and Lifu received 26.97% and 28.37% respectively.

Uchedu announced this week that housemates of the show will no longer be paired. BBN season three continues with 10 participants. The show airs 24 hours daily on DSTV channel 198 and GOtv channel 29.

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Nigerian pair in Kids’ Choice Awards

Child comedienne Emmanuella and popular musician Davido, both from Nigeria, have been nominated for the 31st Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

Award nominees Davido and Emmanuella

Emmanuella and Davido are nominees in the international award category of Favourite African Star. The other African nominees are: Eddy Kenz (Uganda), Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Cassper Nyovest (South Africa) and Caster Semenya (South Africa).

This is the first time Emmanuella has been nominated. The seven-year-old, who recently hinted to fans she will be featuring in a Disney movie soon, hosted the maiden edition of NickFest Nigeria in November 2017, alongside media personality Ik Osakioduwa.

The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards will be held in California on March 24 and aired live on Nickelodeon, available in Africa via DStv channel 305, and Nick Toons, on DStv channel 308. It will be hosted by John Cena.

Alex Okosi, executive VP and MD of Viacom International Media Networks Africa, said: “The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards offer a platform for African stars to be recognised for their excellence in their various talents including, music, sport and television by kids all over the globe.

“We are delighted to feature the continent’s highly talented nominees in the Favorite African Stars category where Black Coffee is nominated for the Favorite Global Music Star category alongside international counterparts.”

Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards is an annual award show that honours the year’s biggest TV, music and movie acts as voted by Nickelodeon viewers.

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Telemundo, Zee fire back at Okpala

Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo and Indian-owned channel Zee World have responded to recent accusations that they are flooding Nigeria with foreign programming.

Last month, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, veteran Nollywood actor Chika Okpala called out foreign TV networks for their role in pushing Nigerians to overlook indigenous TV drama in favour of foreign content.

Okpala cited Telemundo and Zee World by name and said Nigerian productions were “suffering” because of the growing popularity of shows supplied by these companies.

Content Nigeria contacted Telemundo and Zee World Nigeria to get their opinion on Okpala’s comments.

Daniel Modern, regional manager of Telemundo and Zee World Nigeria, said: “We came to Africa because we saw a need for rich content that would appeal to viewers. Telemundo and Zee World consistently air programmes that draw their audience in, from telenovelas to cookery shows.

“To address Okpala’s comment, I would say that the reason why viewers are drawn to our shows is because we offer them something they want. Most of our telenovelas are based on romance, family, culture and tradition and the everyday life drama, which is something that greatly appeals to our Nigerian audience,” he stated.

“Furthermore, I do not believe that our programmes cause a drop in the audience of Nigerian TV drama. Look at [Nigerian soap opera] Tinsel. That’s one TV drama that has rich content and a vast audience.”

Telemundo is a US TV network aimed at Spanish speakers and owned by cable group Comcast. It debuted on African pay platform DSTV in 2013. Some of the telenovelas it has aired since then include My Heart Beats For Lola, Aurora, Behind Closed Doors and Woman of Steel.

Zee World, meanwhile, is an Indian channel that launched on DSTV in 2015. Some of the TV dramas it has aired since include Krishi, Twist of Faith and Saloni.

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Discop targets African animation

Market organiser Discop has partnered with a network of animators to set up an initiative designed to support and grow the African animation industry.

Ayodele Elegba

Discomics has been formed by Discop with The African Animation Network, which links various animation professionals and national associations across Africa.

Discomics will debut as an event alongside Discop’s forthcoming markets in Abidjan, Zanzibar, Johannesburg and featuring workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses, said Gert Botes, conference and events director at Discop Markets. Discop is also planning a TV conference and market in Lagos in 2019 as well.

Discop and The African Animation Network have already set up strategic partnerships between Discomics and Lagos Comic Con (LCC), Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON) and Icon Comics & Games Convention (CGC) to raise awareness around the initiative.

The agreement will see Nigerian animator Ayodele Elegba, founder of LCC and CEO of Lagos-based Spoof Animation, join Discomics as head of comics; Thomas Imboywa, founder of NAICCON, join as head of gaming and eSports; and Les Allen, director of Icon CGC, join as head of business development.

Nick Wilson, head of projects at The African Animation Network, said: “At a top level, Discomics serves as an open network platform, accelerator and bridge.

“But, at its core, Discomics is focused on localisation, engaging with local entrepreneurs, building those entrepreneurs and their industries and creating pan-African platforms for local talent to be empowered and become self-sustaining.”

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AMVCAs to be held in September

Pay TV operator MultiChoice has announced that the sixth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) will take place on September 1 this year.

John Ugbe
Entries for the AMVCAs will begin on March 1 and end on April 30. Only films or TV series that were broadcast or publicly screened during the period October 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018 are eligible for entry.

This year’s award ceremony is sponsored by Konga and supported by Nokia and Heritage Bank.

Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, director of MultiChoice-owned M-Net West Arica, said: “Nearly one year after the last AMVCAs, we are pleased to announce the call to entry for the 2018 edition.”

In all there will be 27 award categories, seven of which will be open to the public, the remaining 20 categories will be deliberated upon by the AMVCA panel of judges. The categories will include; best actor/actress, best director, best scriptwriter, best short film, best movie soundtrack and best costume design.

John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, added: “We have been inundated by calls from filmmakers across Africa, with everyone asking when the AMVCAs would return for another edition.

“After a brief hiatus, we are thrilled to announce that 2018 will indeed mark the sixth consecutive year of MultiChoice and Africa Magic successfully hosting the AMVCAs and we remain proud of the improvements seen in the industry since the inception of the awards as we know that these cannot be ignored or overstated.

“Furthermore, our continued investment demonstrates our dedication in helping unearth and celebrate talent on continent. We believe the 2018 edition of the AMVCAs will leave an even bigger impact on the African film production industry than the previous five.”

The AMVCAs debuted in 2013, with the aim of celebrating the contribution of African filmmakers, actors and technicians in the success of the continent’s film and television industry. It has since become a prestigious annual award event that the film and television industry look forward to.

According to an AMVCA representative, this year’s event is being held in September rather than March because of the ongoing Big Brother Naija show and upcoming Fifa World Cup, which would clash with its awards if they were held in March, as previously.

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EbonyLife names Moments host

Vimbai Mutinhiri

Nigerian broadcaster Ebonylife TV has announced that Vimbai Mutinhiri will replace Toke Makinwa as co-host of its Friday night chatshow Moments.

A former Big Brother Africa housemate and Zimbabwean TV personality, Mutinhiri will join Moments to co-host alongside Bolanle Olukanni and Tallulah Doherty, beginning the fourth season of Moments with a new face.

Content Nigeria reported the departure of Mackinaw here yesterday.

The new season promises more interviews looking at African culture and workplace drama. Moments is a spin-off from Moments with Mo and airs on Ebonylife TV via DSTV channel 165 on Fridays at 22.00.

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Stark advice over ‘offensive’ BB

Lauretta Onochie, special assistant on social media to the president of Nigeria, has advised viewers who find Big Brother Naija offensive to simply stop watching it.

Lauretta Onochie

Onochie also pointed out the show is aimed at adults, in reaction to recent calls by Summy Francis, president of Africa’s Youth Entrepreneurs, for the show to be axed on the grounds it lacked moral values and promoting laziness.

In a statement on Twitter, Onochie said: “Stop asking me to fix Big Brother Naija, I don’t have such powers. Big Brother Naija is an adult programme. If your children are watching it, it’s your fault, not mine. Grow up and protect your children. It’s not compulsory you watch. Use your remote, change the channel.”

Big Brother Naija season three, which began on January 28, will continue airing 24 hours a day for 11 weeks on GOtv and DSTV channels 29 and 198 respectively.

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Econet’s Kwesé takes iflix stake

Econet Media-backed pan-African entertainment company Kwesé has acquired an undisclosed stake in SVoD service iflix, based in Malaysia.

Strive Masiyiwa

Kwesé, which already had a distribution deal with iflix in Africa, has acquired what is being described as a “significant stake” in iflix’s African operation. Further details have not been revealed.

Iflix will now become the “core” mobile offering for the pay TV operator, providing local African series and international programming to viewers.

Kwese said the deal would allow it to offer “an exceptional mobile offering for consumers on the continent.”

Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Group’s founder and executive chairman, said: “We are thrilled to deepen our operating partnership with iflix to lead the transformation of media in Africa.

“Our companies share a mutual passion for innovation, along with a deep understanding of the culture and evolution of digital businesses. Mobility in content consumption has grown exponentially in Africa and by partnering with iflix Africa we are ensuring that we are not only taking part in the evolution, but are leading the movement.”

Mark Britt

Mark Britt, iflix Group’s co-founder and CEO, described the deal as “a huge milestone” for his company.

“Following the initial phase of building our business in Africa, we have seen tremendous growth across our operating markets, far exceeding our expectations. Econet’s deep experience and success in media and telecoms will be a huge advantage and enable us to continue to grow rapidly.”

Kwesé is present in 13 countries while iflix claims to be available to more than one billion consumers in 24 territories throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Last year, iflix secured a US$133m funding round with investors including US media giant Hearst. Existing shareholders such as US cable giant Liberty Global and European pay TV operator Sky were also part and have increased their investments in Netflix’s rival.

Last year’s round took the total funding raised by iflix in 2017 to more than US$220m. The firm launched in May 2015.

The company has also been agreeing distribution partnerships with telecommunications operators to bundle the iflix service with customers’ mobile and data subscriptions.

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Toke exits EbonyLife’s Moments

Award-winning presenter Toke Makinwa has left EbonyLife TV’s talkshow Moments.

Moments co-host Toke Makinwa

Friday’s episode had the topic ‘We will miss you Toke’ and featured Toke and her co-hosts, Bolanle Olukanni and Tallulah Doherty, reminiscing about her time on the show.

Bolanle took to Instagram on Saturday to bid Toke farewell, saying: “I will truly miss you on the show and I know so many of our viewers will as well.”

Toke joined Moments show in 2014 and has since interviewed many celebrities on the show, alongside her co-hosts.

Toke launched her career in 2012 when she featured as a co-host of FlyTime TV show 3LiveChicks. She went on to host a show on Hip TV in 2014. She also has a vlog series, Toke Moments, on YouTube.

Moments, a spin-off from Moments with Mo, will continue to air on Fridays at 22.00 on EbonyLife TV, via DSTV channel 165.

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Marathon Messiah’s Praise to air

The Redeem Christian Church of God’s sixth Marathon Messiah’s Praise, the world’s longest non-stop annual gospel musical event, will air this month.

This year’s Marathon Messiah’s Praise is announced

The 76-hour event programme has the theme The Great Redeemer and was announced by music director Pastor Kunle Ajayi.

The first marathon was held in 2012 and this year’s is set to begin at 11.00 on Monday February 26 and end by 15.00 on Thursday March 1.

It will air on Dove TV, via DSTV channel 349, Kwesé TV channel 800 and PlayTV channel 940.

According to Ajayi, the live event will reach 10 million viewers, locally and internationally.

“This is a giant step in our quest to bring Marathon Messiah’s Praise to the doorsteps of every living being on the planet. As we are adding more countries this year, our mode of operation has a new touch. We will have two separate stages this year, for Nigeria and the diaspora,” he said.

Marathon Messiah’s Praise will be held in 15 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, UAE, Cameroon, Kenya, Netherlands, Sweden, Malaysia, South Africa and Ireland, as well as Nigeria.

The event will be aired live but Dove TV will be the only network airing a mix of content for the diaspora and Nigeria.

One hundred and fifty ministers and choral groups will take part, with 100,000 people in attendance.

The event will also be shown on other TV channels, yet to be disclosed, and via YouTube.

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