South Africa-based SVoD service Showmax has acquired more than 150 hours of content from UK-based distributor Jetpack covering sub-Saharan Africa.
The deal means a range of shows from Jetpack’s catalogue will be available on the service in 2020 and 2021.
These include BES comedy animation Kitty is Not a Cat, Muckpuddy’s adventure-comedy animation The Barefoot Bandits, Outfit 7’s Talking Tom & Friends, Jam’s Becca’s Bunch and Funrise’s Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty.
Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content, said: “Our business has fundamentally changed over the past few months, with SVoD usage jumping dramatically, and kids’ content in particular has been extremely popular.
“The timing for this deal, which adds a wide range of new kids’ shows, couldn’t be better and it’s a perfect complement to the total revamp of the kids’ section that we recently completed, giving parents full control over what their kids can see.”
African SVoD service Showmax has commissioned four original shows as it looks to bolster its local content offering.
The titles include Life With Kelly Khumalo, a reality show about the South African singer, which will debut on August 6. Produced by Being Bonang prodco BarLeader, the show will follow single mother Khumalo as she juggles parenting with the build-up to the release of her new album.
Tali’s Baby Diary, meanwhile, a sequel to mockumentary Tali’s Wedding Diary, is set for release in 2021. Produced by Sketchbook Studios, the show will centre on main character Tali’s unexpected pregnancy, which forces her into a desperate pivot from Instagram influencer to wholesome ‘momfluencer.’
Skemerdans, a nightclub-set murder-mystery drama, follows the struggle between two brothers, a scorned widow and an organised crime syndicate. The 13-part series, exec produced by Amy Jephta (Trackers) via Nagvlug Films, will also be released next year.
Finally, Horror series Dam tells the story of a daughter who returns home to the Eastern Cape to bury her father, only to be tormented by spirits in their house. It is being written and directed by two-time South African Film & Television Award (SAFTA) winner Alex Yazbek and produced by Johannesburg-based Picture Tree (Vehicle 19) for 2021.
Showmax’s head of content for Africa, Candice Fangueiro, said: “We’ve deliberately ramped up our emphasis on local content. If you look at something like the first-view metric, which asks what’s the first show someone watches after signing up for Showmax under the assumption this is probably what convinced them to join, three out of the top five first-view pieces of content are now local.”
Previous Showmax originals have included the aforementioned SAFTA winner Tali’s Wedding Diary, plus The Girl From St Agnes and Somizi & Mohale: The Union.
Positioned to compete in Africa’s crowded streaming market, Showmax offers a unique combination of hit African content, first-run and exclusive international series, premium documentaries and award-winning kids’ shows. The service is owned by Naspers’ pay TV subsidiary MultiChoice Group.
Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of connected video at African pay TV group MultiChoice, has left the company less than two years after taking the job.
Ekdahl who has more than 19 years of executive leadership experience in the audiovisual services industry, was appointed in 2018 to handle several projects.
These included redesigning the DStv Now interface, the launch of OTT service Showmax’s mobile-only plan, and Showmax’s field tests performance for its standalone streaming service, which will offer DStv content over the internet without requiring an installed dish or decoder.
Yolisa Phahle, currently CEO of general entertainment at MultiChoice, will add Ekdahl’s role to her’s for the time being.
Joe Heshu, MultiChoice Group executive for corporate affairs, said: “Ekdahl decided to leave MultiChoice to pursue personal interests. We are grateful for his contribution in which he oversaw the growth of the Showmax and DStv Now platforms.
“Yolisa Phahle will take over Ekdahl’s position, in addition to running the general entertainment division. However, the work of our connected video business unit continues.”
MultiChoice’s video streaming service Showmax recently launched a new sports-themed streaming service called Showmax Pro. In addition, it intends launching a new service called DStv Explora that will carry SVOD platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
MultiChoice Group has partnered with the United Nations (UN) as an official supporter of its Covid-19 awareness campaign, named Pause.
The Pause campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the dangers of sharing false information related to Covid -19, launched globally on June 30 with information broadcast across Africa through the DStv and GOtv on-air and digital platforms, SuperSport and M-Net properties and Showmax.
Furthermore, the campaign asks people around the world to pause, think and take care before sharing information that could be inaccurate or a result of misinformation and may have harmful effects.
Robert Skinner, senior advisor for global communications at the UN, said: “We are in a moment of global reckoning as Covid-19 and its social and economic consequences challenge the world in unprecedented ways. Misinformation, hate speech and fake news are fueling and distorting all of these challenges and eroding the truth. We are very excited to have MultiChoice onboard as a supporter giving the launch of our campaign reach across Africa. They are uniquely positioned to deliver this important message to their diverse audiences across the continent.”
MultiChoice executive chairman Imtiaz Patel added: “Reliable information is vital to the fight against Covid -19. The dissemination of credible information has become critical to fighting this epidemic, which continues to impact millions across the globe and our continent. We are, therefore, honoured to be able to utilise the continental reach of our broadcast and digital platforms across Africa to empower people with vital information.”
MultiChoice has supported a number of initiatives in the fight against the spread of the pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc across the globe and is being felt acutely across Africa. It also continues to seek opportunities to use its platforms to combat the spread of Covid-19 while supporting initiatives and airing educational and news-related content aligned with the organisation’s commitment to making an impact in the communities where it operates.
Kids’ spy drama Alex Rider, from Sony-backed Eleventh Hour Films, has been picked up in almost 100 territories around the world, including all major African markets.
Distributed by Sony Pictures Television (SPT), the adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s young-adult spy novels has been acquired by South Africa-based M-Net, which will offer the show on Showmax across sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
Meanwhile, StarzPlay has taken the series for broadcast in multiple territories across the Middle East and North Africa and NENT Group will add it to its streaming service Viaplay in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
The 8×60’ series has also been picked up by Kinopoisk HD in Russia and will air on Nova in Greece and DSmart in Turkey.
In Asia, buyers include Sony Liv in India, Korea Telecom in South Korea and U-Next in Japan, while TVNZ is streaming the series in New Zealand. Sony-owned AXN will broadcast it in multiple European territories, including Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The news follows the agreement with Amazon Prime Video in the UK to carry the show from next month, while Movistar+ is showing the series in Spain. Deals for territories including the US, China and Australia will be announced soon, according to SPT.
Alex Rider was the first series commissioned by SPT’s international production and distribution divisions on spec, greenlighting the project independently to be distributed worldwide.
“When we started on this unique journey our aim was to create a premium drama that paid justice to Anthony’s novels, with exciting action scenes, nerve-shredding tension and great acting. Eleventh Hour have delivered just that. And at a time when the world needs escapism, there’s no better time for a new hero to step forward,” said Wayne Garvie, SPT’s president of international production.
Otto Farrant plays the lead role, with Brenock O’Connor, Stephen Dillane, Vicky McClure and Andrew Buchan co-starring. The adaptation is by Bafta-winning screenwriter Guy Burt (Bletchley Circle, The Borgias, The Hole).
MultiChoice Group’s video-on-demand service, Showmax, has launched in Nigeria with two new Big Brother Naija spin-off shows.
The shows, hosted by comedians Basketmouth and Bovi, have been produced exclusively for Showmax.
They are Big Brother Naija Extra View, a 25-minute compilation of unseen footage, and Big Brother Naija Hot Room, a 25-minute satirical commentary on the week’s main drama and action.
The company said: “Showmax Nigeria offers a dedicated slate of Nigerian television shows and movies, international hit series, Hollywood blockbusters and a Big Brother Naija partnership with live streaming and exclusive new BBNaija shows.”
Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of MultiChoice’s Connected Video division, said: “We’re aiming for the sweet spot that other services may have missed. Taking a generic service and taking on a few Nollywood movies won’t cut it, so we’re coming in with a strong mix of up-to-date Nigerian shows, international hits and favourites from across Africa, and now, as something completely new: on-demand and live Big Brother Naija content.”
Other shows to be added on the Showmax service will include Tinsel, The Johnsons, My Flatmates other Nollywood movies, Bollywood shows, telenovelas and shows from Kenya and South Africa.
Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, will list it’s pay TV unit MultiChoice on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on February 27.
The company includes MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa and Showmax. Naspers originally announced its intention to list last September.
The move means Naspers shareholders will now hold a direct interest in MultiChoice rather than through Africa’s most valuable company.
Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “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.
“With strong financials, the flexibility of an ungeared balance sheet and deep local knowledge, we hope to deliver excellent returns to shareholders over time,” added group CEO Calvo Mawela.
Naspers, one of the largest technology investors in the world, has announced the new executive leadership team for its MultiChoice Group.
The new execs include Calvo Mawela as group CEO, Imtiaz Patel as executive chairman, Tim Jacobs as chief financial officer and Brand de Villiers as chief operating officer. The appointments will take effect on November 1.
Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This announcement marks a significant step for the MultiChoice Group as they journey towards a stand-alone business. I am confident that through the leadership of Imtiaz and Calvo, MultiChoice Group will continue on its growth trajectory and unlock even more value for its shareholders.”
Calvo said: “I am incredibly excited to lead our team of highly capable executives through this new and exciting chapter for our company. Our leadership team is diverse, experienced and well-positioned to grow our position as the leading entertainment company on the African continent.
“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 security suite will provide a unique offering.”
On September 17, Naspers had made its intention to separately list its video entertainment business on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and will include MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa and Irdeto.
MultiChoice Group is one of the fastest growing pay TV operators in the world and its multi-platform business reaches 13.5 million households across Africa.
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 Yuletide season has brought about many special offers and discount prices from companies in Nigeria, the latest coming from MultiChoice.
The pay TV company is now offering free viewing of the Showmax channel on its premium bouquet on pay TV platform DStv until January 7.
Naspers-owned Showmax is an online SVoD service that offers a wide range of TV series and blockbuster movies. It launched in South Africa in 2015 and has expanded to 36 countries in Africa a year later.
Martin Mabutho, general manager of marketing and sales at MultiChoice Nigeria, said the company is committed to providing subscribers of its pay TV with the best services and innovation.
“Our mission has always been to be at the forefront of digital and technological innovation and stay in line with global trends by providing our customers with the latest technologies. Showmax provides customers access to the latest movies and series at their fingertips,” he said.
Customers who are interested in viewing Showmax on DStv must subscribe to the Premium bouquet. A Showmax subscription also allows customers to watch on two devices simultaneously.