Pay TV operator MultiChoice and its pay TV channel M-Net are working to roll out new local entertainment TV channels in African countries including Ghana, Ethiopia and Mozambique over the coming months and into 2021.
New channel Ghana M-Net will carry M-Net original productions including a local telenovela, reality shows and comedy and will be positioned as a flagship network for DStv subscribers in the country.
The companies will also launch a general entertainment channel for Ethiopia, where M-Net is already working on its first telenovela in the Amharic language, as well as a lifestyle channel for Africa similar to Discovery’s HGTV and BBC Lifestyle.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment, said: “Now it’s time to showcase to ourselves the best of our fashion, the best of our cooking and the best of the way in which we live.”
The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) has begun accepting registrations for its new online masterclass series available on the MTF portal.
Starting off with a 20-module masterclass series tagged Produce Like a Pro, the masterclass offers exclusive access to practical, expert-led skills workshops that afford film and television professionals the ability to interact and learn from the best in Africa.
According to Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment, the offering is part of MultiChoice Group’s mission to upskill emerging creatives and seasoned professionals in the Film and TV industry.
The Produce Like a Pro series will compliment recorded masterclasses which address industry concerns such as accessibility, opportunity and quality in local productions and is available to over 25 000 registered users with a profile on the MTF portal.
“What makes the Produce Like a Pro series unique is that it’s been specially designed as an A to Z package for tools and templates to equip new producers with the know-how to operate in this industry. From budgeting to casting, the modules have been created by Marie Rosholt, a highly esteemed pioneer in reality television as executive producer of 12 series of Big Brother, Survivor, Fear Factor, Deal or No Deal and other series,” said Phahle.
“The recorded masterclasses have been filmed and packaged by our MTF students sharing the industry masterclasses hosted by our MTF Academies in Lagos, Nairobi and Lusaka, with leading industry experts including Tunde Kelani, Christian Epps and Steve Gukas.”
The MTF portal is a pan-African, film and television digital marketplace for information sharing on all aspects of Africa’s creative industry. The MTF portal offers open, cost-free access to film creatives across Africa to showcase their talent, access opportunities, stay up to date with industry news and expand their industry network.
MultiChoice Group’s pay TV operator DStv has announced it will no longer remove two A+E Networks EMEA channels from its platform.
The History and Lifetime channels will remain but Crime + Investigation has been cut off.
MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner revealed the group has signed a new multi-year contract. “We’ve reached an agreement with A+E Networks for terms that we think are acceptable to our DStv subscribers for both History and Lifetime, but Crime + Investigation is still ending,” he said.
“Two further channels from another provider will be announced before the middle of November as a replacement for Crime + Investigation, as well as another factual documentary channel. We’re just finalising technical launch plans so that we can be clear on a launch date.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, added: “We are excited to have reached this agreement as it allows us to ensure we meet our commitment to get the best programming for our customers, based on commercial terms that make sense and provide a value for money offering to customers. We are pleased that Lifetime will also now be available to our Compact package customers.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and feedback and have their best interests in mind as we continue to work hard to improve our entertainment offering.”
“We are pleased to have agreed a long-term renewal of our flagship brands, History and Lifetime, in Africa with our partner DStv. As part of this renewal, the new distribution of Lifetime in Compact presents an exciting opportunity to reach millions of new viewers with our unique programming offering”, said Dean Possenniskie, MD of A+E Networks EMEA.
MultiChoice’s digital terrestrial platform GOtv is adding WarnerMedia channels Cartoon Network and TNT to its line-up.
From November 12, the channels will offer subscribers across English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa children’s entertainment as well as Hollywood blockbusters.
The titles will include Ben 10, Craig of the Creek, Teen Titans Go, The Amazing World of Gumball, an exclusive original production of Victor & Valentino and films such as Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, Spy Kids and Jumanji.
Guillaume Coffin, WarnerMedia’s VP commercial and head of business development for France and Africa, said: “We are thrilled to bring Cartoon Network and TNT to a wider African audience and to extend our partnership with MultiChoice through GOtv. The quality of our channels, combined with MultiChoice’s excellence in marketing, will contribute to bringing our premium quality American features and innovative kids’ content to an even wider audience on the African continent.
“We are convinced that our existing fans will be as excited about this new entertainment experience as we are, and we look forward to welcoming our new GOtv fans to join in on the fun just in time for the festive season.”
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment at the MultiChoice Group, added: “As the home of African television, it’s always a win for us to be able to deliver on making great entertainment accessible to more customers with top family entertainment. This new partnership with WarnerMedia is an example of that.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver more choice and value to our customers as Africa’s most loved storyteller.”
Pay TV company MultiChoice has added Discovery’s entertainment channel Real Time to its DStv and Gotv services to be aired all over the continent.
Rolling out today, Real Time features programmes that depict real-life stories, crime, medicine and nature.
According to Amanda Turnbull, VP and general manager for Discovery in Africa and the Middle East, Discovery will be offering world-class content to more African viewers including a personalised channel targeted at the modern African woman and her family.
She said: “Discovery is incredibly excited to present Real Time to a broader audience in the market and to further diversify and expand the brand’s local portfolio offering.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “MultiChoice is excited to welcome the new channel which will give viewers access to a wide variety of entertaining television shows from Discovery.”
Real Time was recently added to DStv for its subscribers in South Africa, to the Chinese StarTimes in Africa and also to the StarTimes StarSat brand in South Africa.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has appointed Nkateko Mabaso as the new CEO of its flagship channel M-Net in sub-Saharan Africa. The appointment is effective immediately.
According to Mabaso’s predecessor Yolisa Phahle: “Nkateko has been appointed in recognition of his continued commitment and contribution to local programming that audiences love and watch in increasing numbers year on year. He is passionate about our continent’s film and television industry and I wish him every success.”
While serving as the acting CEO of M-Net, Mabaso ensured the successful implementation of content strategies as well as investments in initiatives like content creation and coproduction.
He also ensured local channels that MultiChoice operates across the continent produced content that generated revenue and massive audience growth. These channels include the Africa Magic channels, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo, Zambezi Magic, Mzansi Magic, 1Magic and others.
Mabaso said: “I am incredibly excited to assume this new role and for the future of the company. I will continue to focus my efforts on local content creation to meet the growing audience demand for home-grown programming.”
Mabaso joined M-Net in 2009 as a marketing manager for Channel O and Vuzu, where he oversaw the positioning strategy ahead of the Mzansi Magic launch. Before that, he held positions at advertising agencies The Jupiter Drawing Room and Grey Advertising South Africa, as well as project manager for Edcon Group.
MultiChoice has launched a new channel, Star Life, on its pay TV platforms.
Starting from this week, DSTV and GOtv subscribers will have access to a 24/7 English-language channel that promises to showcase over two decades’ worth of award-winning and A-list shows. This includes TV dramas, Bollywood movies, celebrity dance shows and blockbuster movies.
However, Star Life is exclusive to DSTV Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family and GOtv Max bouquet subscribers. It will air on DSTV channel 167 and GOtv channel 23.
Speaking about the new channel, Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “Delighting our customers with exceptional content is key for our business.
“What makes Star Life a remarkable addition to our content offering is that it has content that is relatable, with shows that aim to tell stories about weaknesses, strengths, miracles and victories.”
Star Life is from Asian satellite TV group Star, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. Star is one of the leading companies in Indian TV programming and operates in 100+ countries worldwide.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has held the fifth edition of its annual Digital Dialogue Conference in Dubai.
The four-day conference saw media professionals and stakeholders discuss the future of Africa’s pay TV industry.
The speakers included David Abraham, former CEO of Channel 4 in the UK; marketing innovation expert and futurist Paul Papadimitriou; Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MNet; Nollywood filmmaker Femi Odugbemi; and John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria.
Discussing the amplification of African stories with digital technology, Yolisa Phahle said that creative innovation in local content is what keeps viewers interested.
“You speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disruptor and, if necessary, even to cannibalise yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example. But MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future,” she said.
According to her, creating local content in languages audiences understands is what makes content king. Emphasising the necessity for local content, she said that MultiChoice ensures it keeps all of Africa informed by producing 16 local content channels across the continent which showcase local storytellers.
“Today, in the midst of the digital revolution, collectively we have the opportunity to not only tell stories that educate and inform African audiences, but the digital age means we are in a position to take African stories to the world and create a global market for what we do.
“By using the internet and leveraging technology, we have the ability to reach audiences at a global level and the success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita N’yongo and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages,” she said.
Agreeing with Phahle, Peter Papadimitriou highlighted reasons why pay TV companies should put consumers’ interest above all else. “The current challenge for pay TV companies is to shift the focus from content delivery systems to understanding its consumers through primary data. For instance, when they watch, how long and how much,” he said.
“The new consumer is nomadic, they can be everywhere and anywhere – tribal, gathering around similarities. Singular, entrepreneurial and being who they want to be.”
Abraham discussed the plight of both pay and free TV. The pay model is about a battle between free TV and service providers’ creating pay walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote monthly subscriptions and minimise loss of customers, he claimed. But now, broadband, as an additional service, and mobile phone technology is threatening this.
The advent of telecoms service providers raised the question of whether consumers will be able to shuttle between so many providers to find the best content.
“The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution,” he said.
The Digital Dialogue Conference is an annual event organised by MultiChoice Africa. Since its inception in 2012, it has become a thought leadership platform that fosters a better understanding of the future direction of Africa’s pay TV industry.