Broadcasters in Africa have acquired scripted and factual programming from US-based producer and distributor GRB Studios.
Pan-African broadcaster MNet has picked up shows including scripted comedy Love That Girl, originally produced for TV One, and a package of holiday films such as A Christmas Blessing, You Can’t Fight Christmas and The Christmas Swap.
Elsewhere, A+E Networks has taken several seasons of On the Case for its channels in Africa, while Canal+ has taken celebrity-focused Stalker Files for French-speaking Africa. The latter tells the chilling tales behind celebrity stalking cases involving Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg and others.
Other channels in Africa to have acquired programming from GRB Studios, in deals brokered by sales consultant Liz Levenson, include CBS Chello Zone, Blackstar TV and My Channel. Levenson will be speaking at DISCOP Johannesburg, which runs from November 20 to 22, and will be representing GRB at the event.
“GRB Studios has enjoyed a strong presence in Africa for many years and these deals represent some of our reach,” said Sarah Coursey, senior VP of international at GRB Studios. “The region is very important to GRB as we see major growth potential here.”
The number of pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow to 45.63 million by 2024, according to the newly published Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.
This suggests Sub-Saharan Africa will add 16 million subscribers in the next six years, marking an increase of 61%. Pay TV revenues were forecast to reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.
Three big operators – MultiChoice, Vivendi/Canal+ and StarTimes – dominate the Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV market, with a combined 93% market share.
At the end of 2018, pay TV operator MultiChoice had over 14.34 million subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms and this figure is estimated to increase by five million by 2024.
France’s Vivendi had 4.01 million subs to its Canal+ satellite TV platform and Easy TV by the end of 2018, which will climb to 6.21 million by 2024, said the report. StarTimes had 7.75 million pay TV subscribers by the end of 2018 and it is estimated to reach 14.85 million by 2024.
According to Simon Murray, principal analyst at the report’s publisher, Digital TV Research: “Subscriber numbers will climb by 61% over this period, but pay TV revenues will rise by only 42% – indicating lower ARPUs. Pay TV revenues will reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.”
African music channel operator Trace has signed a deal with Paris-based channel distributor Thema to merge their two gospel-themed TV channels into one.
Trace Gospel will combine with Thema’s Gospel Music TV under the brand Trace Gospel, bringing together two catalogues and both companies’ expertise, operated by Trace.
The merger will see Trace Gospel promoting African gospel musicians by airing more genres of gospel music. The channel will also feature weekly playlists and gospel music events.
Trace Gospel is available on Canal+ packages in Africa as well as TNT EasyTV on channel 38.
Trace is owned by venture capital firm TPG Growth, which bought the company from Modern Times Group (MTG) earlier this year, while Thema is part of Canal+ International.
Speaking about the move, Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez said: “This partnership with Thema and Canal+ International was decided in order to offer a channel that brings even more satisfaction to gospel music fans.
“It’s a great pride and responsibility for Trace. We will bring to this channel all the means and all the expertise of the group in order to place it on the top of spiritual musical channels.”
Thema CEO Fabrice Faux added: “Thema is proud to have developed Gospel Music TV to become the reference channel for this music dear to all Africans, on the continent and in France.
“I have no doubt that Trace, whose expertise in the musical field is unanimously recognised and which is a long-standing partner of Thema, will be able to take this channel even further and, thanks to this merger, double subscriber satisfaction.”
According to the companies, Trace Gospel is “the link between all cultures” and will broadcast “gospel artists from Africa, the Caribbean, the US, Europe and Latin America.”
Artists featured on the combined network will include Nathaniel Bassey, Mike Abdul, Jimmy Gait, Dena Mwana, Jermaine Edouards, J Prince, Hezekiah L. Walker, Kirk Franklin, Erica Campbell, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs, Olivier Cheuwa, Maggie Blanchard and Gabriela Rocha.”
With more than 200 million viewers across 160 countries, Trace is currently one of Africa’s leading music broadcasters. MTG’s sale of its 75% stake to TPG in January valued the company at €40m (US$46.7m).
Thema launched its first African TV channels package on the French market in 2008. Today, the company’s African package includes 24 channels. Thema is also creator of TV channels such as Novelas TV, Nollywood TV and Nollywood Epic.
Global satellite operator Eutelsat Communications has appointed former Canal+ executive Jean-Claude Tshipama as CEO of broadband in Africa.
The Paris-based firm has confirmed it has finalised its team in charge of broadband activities by employing Tshipama to oversee satellite broadband connectivity in Africa.
Tshipama previously worked at companies including Celtel in DR Congo, Bermuda-based Digicel Group and Microsoft. More recently, he was CEO of Canal+ in DR Congo and CEO of fashion brand Zympala in Canada.
In his new role, Tshipama’s responsibility is to ensure that Eutelsat’s broadband business is successfully deployed across Africa, drawing on the in-orbit resources of the Al Yah 3 satellite, expected to enter service next summer.
The operation of the Al Yah 3 satellite will be followed next year by the launch of the Konnect satellite, formerly called the African Broadband Satellite. According to the company, the broadband business will be one of the main focuses of Eutelsat’s growth strategy in the coming years.
“We are delighted to welcome Jean-Claude Tshipama to Eutelsat. His expert knowledge of the African market serving various industries, particularly telecommunications, will be a valuable asset to us in achieving our strong ambitions on this continent,” said Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s chief commercial and development officer.
“We are now in perfect shape and looking forward to expanding our business in the fast-growing fixed broadband sector.”
Eutelsat is the third largest satellite operator worldwide, after SES and Intelsat. Launched in 1977, the company provides coverage in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the US. Eutelsat’s satellites broadcast to over 274 million cable and satellite homes.