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Gov’t inaugurates Nollywood creatives

Committee members with Lagos state governor

The Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has inaugurated a nine-member committee on film production empowerment.

The committee members include Richard Mofe Damijo, who will chair the committee, as well as Tunde Kelani, Mo Abudu, Kunle Afolayan, Peace Anyim-Osigwe, Adebukola Agbaminoja, Tinubu Ferdinand R.O, Taju Olayiwola Olajumoke and Funke Avoseh.

According to the governor, Nigeria is the second largest film producer in the world and Lagos is the centre of this huge creative enterprise.

He said: “To further support practitioners and enhance the sector as a significant contributor to our state and national GDP, today I inaugurated a nine-member committee on film production empowerment for Lagos state, made of core industry practitioners.

“Our administration will continue to invest to support the industry to create thousands of jobs and boost the economy. We trust members of the committee to deliver on their assignment with great commitment so the set objectives will be achieved.

“We have set aside a seed capital of N1billion [US$2.6m] for the creativity and tourism sector. The scheme is to support creative ideas of producers who are constrained by funds to bring their concepts to reality. I am looking forward to working with the team and taking this great industry of ours to greater heights.”

Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV, in appreciation took to Instagram to say: “I would like to show my heartfelt appreciation to Mr Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his continuous support and contributions to our creative sector in Lagos state. Today, myself alongside Mofe Damijo, Tunde Kelani, Peace Anyim-Osigwe and Kunle Afolayan were inaugurated into a nine-member committee on film production empowerment for Lagos state.

“N1 billion has been set aside for the creativity and tourism sector. We will work collectively with filmmakers to identify these projects and bring them to life on screen.”

DSO rolls out in Lagos State

The launch of free digital terrestrial television (DTT) as part of the digital switchover (DSO) of broadcasting in Nigeria recently took place in Lagos State.

Armstrong Idachaba

The DTT launch on Thursday this week marked the start of the second phase of the DSO rollout in Nigeria, which will provide 60 channel options to Nigeria’s television households. It will also provide better quality television viewing to more than five million TV households in the State.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) officially began DTT transmission on Thursday at an event in Lagos, several years after the DTT pilot in Nigeria. In addition, free set-top boxes were also launched.

The welcome address posted by NBC director general Armstrong Idachaba on Instagram reads: “After almost three years’ lull, I thank God that we have taken the bold task of commencing Phase 2 of the Digital Switchover with the switch on of Lagos today.

“The DTT free project by the Nigerian government is one that is home grown, unique in its philosophical underpinning, which has the development of our indigenous culture and tradition and the empowerment of the mass population of our country as a core value proposition. Our home manufactured Set Top Box is a melting point and convergence point of our collective heritage.

“To arrive to this point I must acknowledge the constant policy direction and support of this administration, especially that the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting only commenced earnestly in 2016 with the advent of this administration. Before then it was so much steam without motion. I therefore thank the President for his unwavering commitment to bring information and access to information to the mass of Nigerians.

“I want to most sincerely thank the honorable minister for his drive and energy to deliver this proposition for the good of Nigerians. I recall that it took his intervention and dogged commitment to drive the process before we attained the pilot roll out in Jos. For me, the greatest win of this Lagos launch is that broadcasters are owning the process. They are excited and see the success of the DSO as theirs.

“The digital switch-on we are activating here in Lagos today means that from today with just a set-top box, Lagosians can now enjoy over 30 digital television services, subscription free.”

He added that with the roll-out in Lagos, about five million Lagosians will have instant access to digital television services and also job opportunities for creatives, engineers, technicians and small-scale business activities.

Toyin Subair, chairman of Inview, also took to Instagram saying: “Free TV, the Nigerian Digital Switch Over platform launches in Lagos. 5.5 million TV households, for grabs.”

Orange lines up Y’Africa S2

Y’Africa is dedicated to African culture

Telecommunications company Orange is set to launch a second season of its TV show dedicated to African culture titled Y’Africa.

Y’Africa, a contraction of Africa Ya lelo or Africa Today in the Bantu language Lingala, puts emerging artists such as painters, photographers, sculptors, choreographers, stylists and musicians in the spotlight. It also showcases African culture in all its forms, and presents an opportunity to shine and to strengthen the local presence of the Orange brand in Africa.

Alioune Ndiaye

The second season will debut from fall 2021 and will be broadcast on 15 African national TV channels, on YouTube and also adapted as a podcast.

The 8×26’ show will be executive produced by France-based Fame Productions and directed by Dan Assayag. It presents 24 artists from eight countries – namely Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tunisia – who will tell their story through their work, while acting as a guide to the cities where they live.

Orange’s executive director of communications, engagement and brand Béatrice Mandine said: “I am delighted with the success of the first season of Y’Africa, which drew a wide audience to these artist portraits and generated plenty of attention on social networks.

“This original concept proved its value through the quality of its content, a wide choice of artists and the emotions it inspired in viewers. Building on the very positive feedback we received, we are pressing ahead and are starting shooting for season two.”

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East, added: “The first season of Y’Africa was a great success. This audiovisual programme showcases the richness of cultures and the creativity of African youth. Season two will enable us to discover new talented artists, I am looking forward to listening to their testimonies.”

The first season of Y’Africa aired in February last year. The show is distributed internationally by France’s ZED.

SA’s Ugly Betty set for launch

The South African adaptation of Latin American comedy-drama format Yo Soy Betty la Fea (aka Ugly Betty) is slated to launch on April 5 at 19.30 on SABC1.

Ugly Betty

With three weekly episodes airing from Mondays to Wednesdays, the show will feature former MTV star Farieda Metsileng, who will portray the title role of Ugly Betty.

The show will also simulcast on streaming service Viu.

South Africa’s version of the well-travelled Colombian format is titled uBettina Wethu. It follows the journey of an intelligent but gawky people-pleaser with a dated, unsophisticated sense of style who finds her self-worth and image challenged when she is hired by a brand management company.

SABC1 head of channel Phumzile Zonke said: “We are very proud to call ‘uBettina Wethu’ our own as SABC 1. The production value is astounding and is a great fit for our growing brand, and spot on in terms of our market domination strategy.

“This first-ever simulcast with Viu is breaking new ground and we are glad to be part of broadcast history in the making. As the largest television brand in Southern Africa, we’ve always set the tone and dominated the landscape with authentic storytelling.”

Regarding the casting of Metsileng and the others actors, Tshepiso Sello Phiri, producer at the SA company behind the series, Known Associates Entertainment, said: “We wanted to cast the net as wide as possible and in order to give a fair chance to talented actors and actresses who may not usually have access to agents or auditions.”

Other cast members include Zweli Dube, Tsholofelo Mashishi, Linda Jiyane, Lesego Tlhabi, Michael Potter, Elliot Makhubo, Mbasa Msongeli, Brighton Ngoma, Ayanda Bandla, Mhairi Fergusson, Motshabi Tyelele, Jason Willemse and Alex Sono.

The show is coproduced by the South African public broadcaster and the video streaming Viu and produced by boutique Johannesburg studio Known Associates Entertainment (KAE) with Tshepiso Sello Phiri the exec producer.

African films nominated at Annecy

Room 5 from Ghana’s Francis Yushau Brown

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France has selected two African short films that will be in competition during the June event.

Scheduled to take place from June 14 to 19, the event will include I Am Chuma, from South Africa’s Clea Mallinson and Wendy Spinks, and Room 5 from Ghana’s Francis Yushau Brown.

I Am Chuma is produced by Zeropoint Studios and is based on the life story of street artist Chuma Somdaka. It follows a young disabled lesbian who finds herself living rough on a bench for three years. She deals with suppressed traumas of a gang rape via street art.

Room 5, meanwhile, is produced by Daty Kaba and tells the story of how patients are treated by nurses when they visit the hospital, coupled with a sub-plot of how most people are afraid of injections.

Brown’s studio Animaxfyb took to Instagram to make this announcement; “Hey guys! Our short animated film ROOM 5 just got nominated at Annecy Festival in the Perspective short films category. We can’t keep calm at the studio.”

DStv launches movie feature

African pay TV operator DStv has introduced a new feature tagged Add Movies, which allows subscribers to top-up their current movie offering.

Yolisa Phahle

The feature enables subscribers to the Compact Plus, Compact, Family and Access packages to see extra movies available on channels M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2. It also includes movies on holiday pop-up channel FliekNet, which showcases locally produced blockbuster movies, classic favourites and a variety of Afrikaans film for an additional R99 (US$6) per month.

Some of the movies include Terminator Dark Fate (2019), Rambo Last Blood (2019), Playing With Fire (2019) and Fiela se Kind (2019).

Yolisa Phahle, chief executive of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice Group, noted that Add Movies was developed in response to customers’ appetite and interests.
“It remains our priority to give customers both choice and value. Add Movies firmly delivers on both scores, with a wide variety of quality movie content at a compelling price,” she said.

Add Movies is available for existing subscribers to add to their packages, or on sign-up for new subscribers.

MTN rolls out 5G in South Africa

Mobile operator MTN has launched its commercial 5G network in South Africa, which will provide customers with access to the new service in over 100 sites across the country.

Godfrey Motsa

The telecommunication company is stepping up its digital revolution with the next generation of mobile technology, which promises to bring about “exponential improvements” to the country’s economy, according to MTN.

During the company’s live-streamed launch event, MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa said: “Today, from MTN’s birthplace of South Africa, we are stepping up our digital revolution with the next generation of telecommunication technology, demonstrating to all South Africans that 5G is no longer just an idea. It is here, it works and it has the capacity to bring about exponential improvements to our economy, and to the lives of the people we serve.”

The launch of the network is due in part to SA telecoms regulator ICASA’s allocation of temporary spectrum, which currently covers specific parts of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Durban and other smaller cities and towns.

Giovanni Chiarelli, MTN South Africa’s chief tech and information officer, said: “Our 5G strategy has been years in the making and we are confident that we have built a strong foundation to grow and support our 5G ecosystem. One of the key innovations driving the broad roll-out by MTN has been a strategic approach to dynamic spectrum sharing, as these deployments overcome the challenges of lack of dedicated 5G spectrum.”

According to the company, the regulator had allowed certain telcos additional spectrum in order to aid South Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped the country tighter than any other in Africa. MTN’s 5G service runs on four spectrum bands, making it easier for network technology to migrate from older tech to 5G as well as cover smaller towns and rural areas.

Since the advent of cloud-based game-streaming, the main drawback for platforms in South Africa was always connection speeds. “Cloud gaming will do to gaming what video-on-demand has done to TV; it’s a complete game-changer only this is a game-changer that will be delivered by 5G,” the company said during its launch event.

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Yanga goes mobile with Vision 247

Yanga! TV, the award-winning channel aimed at the African diaspora, has brokered a deal with UK media tech firm Vision 247 and can now be streamed to smartphones via the VisionTV app.

The two-year-old channel, owned and operated by UK-based Africa MediaWorks and focused on Nollywood content, first debuted in the UK on subscription satcaster Sky, which Content Nigeria exclusively reported here back in 2018.

Now, with Vision 247 onboard as partner, the channel is also available on free digital TV platform Freeview, reaching 17.5 million UK homes, and most recently the VisionTV app, which is freely available to Android and iOS smartphones. To access the channel via Freeview, viewers need a Freeview-compatible TV set and an internet connection.

The channel said it has changed its content in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, pivoting to share relevant and topical information through original programmes. This includes the launch of Y! Community, a programme keeping African communities connected with news, hot topics and life hacks; and Your Voice, a live debate show in which hard-hitting issues are discussed.

“Recent topics on Your Voice have included the felling of historical statues linked to racial oppression and the next steps for the Black Lives Matter movement. This content has proven popular across the UK’s African communities, as the mix of drama and discussion has exposed traditional Nollywood lovers to dynamic debates about the world today,” said a Yanga! representative.

“In the current climate where stark contrasts have been uncovered in coronavirus mortality rates in black and Asian communities, and the UK embarks on an uncomfortable conversation about race, channels like Yanga! are now more important than ever,” the channel added.

Yanga! is run by Africa MediaWorks CEO Lindsey Oliver, the former director of networks at CNBC Europe and founding director of Al Jazeera International. Its programming director is Simon London.

Airing between 9am and midnight, Yanga! offers a mix of original commissions and acquired content across a range of genres, from lifestyle, comedy, music and drama to kids, current affairs and news. The network is the first commercial venture from Africa MediaWorks.

African toon shop to expand into Ireland

The Snail & the Whale was animated by Triggerfish

South African animation studio Triggerfish is set to establish its first international production arm in the city of Galway in Ireland.

Triggerfish is being supported by the Irish government through inward investment agency IDA Ireland and the Galway move is expected to create 60 new jobs over the next three years.

The Galway studio will be headed by Triggerfish’s studio producer Andy Wonnacott, who said: “We need more capacity to keep up with our ambitions and Galway ticked all the boxes for our European base.

“It has a similar time zone to South Africa; is very well connected, with both flights and broadband connectivity; has a thriving creative community; and offers loads of really fantastic business support.”

Andy Wonnacott

Ireland’s minister for business, enterprise and innovation Heather Humphreys TD added: “Galway will be a natural fit for this creative company. They will join a burgeoning list of award-winning indigenous and foreign animation studios already based here, and will be a great addition to this thriving sector.”

Investment in animation in Ireland has tripled since 2015 to €180m (US$202m) annually and employment figures have doubled to over 2,000, thanks to incentives including the Section 481 tax relief.

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said: “This is a great investment for Ireland and Galway is a great choice of location, given the availability of highly skilled creative talent there. The 60 new roles being created are a welcome boost to the economy of Galway and the West region.

Mama K’s Team 4 was Netflix’s first original animated series from Africa

“It is a huge vote of confidence in Ireland and demonstrates our continued strong value proposition and our agile and adaptable business environment at a time of unprecedented global flux due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I wish Triggerfish every success with its operations here.”

The South African studio is behind Netflix’s first original animated TV series from Africa in Mama K’s Team 4 and also animated the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes.

Its other work includes the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations Zog, The Snail & the Whale, Stick Man and The Highway Rat, all of which were produced by Magic Light Pictures.

“To keep up with demand, we started outsourcing work to Irish animators in 2019 and were quickly won over by both the quality of the work and the dedication to the craft,” said Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest.

“In many ways, the Irish creatives seem very similar to what we always look for in South Africa: a passion for animation, a love of story and the deeply felt ambition to create award-winning and entertaining work.”

Founded in 1996, Triggerfish was instrumental in the birth of the South African animation industry, co-founding the country’s official animation association, AnimationSA, as well as an ongoing monthly screening and networking event.

Mama K’s Team 4 is set in a futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, where four scrappy teen girls join a retired secret agent on a quest to save the world – on a budget. Triggerfish is also in production on its third feature film, Seal Team, an action-comedy about a brave, reckless seal who forms a rag-tag team to save his home from Great White Sharks.

OurTV offers FTA, DTH services

A new direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service called OurTV has launched in Nigeria, offering free-to-air TV channels to its viewers.

Lagos-based telecoms and data company Trefoil Networks is behind the new service.

With no monthly subscription fee but a one-time payment for the decoder, the OurTV service gives viewers access to watch YouTube and other over-the-top (OTT) services on their TV sets.

In addition, the satellite service has launched on NigComSat 1R, enabling access to content ranging from news to movies, music, kids channels, sports channels, religious and health channels and also Nollywood series channels.

Channels on the service include Channels TV, AIT, Al Jazeera, Catholic TV, The Church TV, Health & Wellness, Zamani TV, Smilie TV, Speed Factor, Yotomi TV plus several of OurTV’s own channels OurMovies, OurMusic, OurSports and OurKiddies.

Braide Sayaba, head of TV at Trefoil Networks, said: “We started our first transmission in 2015 but today, Trefoil Networks is flagging off sales of OurTV decoders nationwide. OurTV is the first and only H265 DTH satellite TV in Africa with 18 exciting channels.

“OurTV is the definition of local content: homegrown content, aggregated by Nigerians, transmitting on a Nigerian satellite and being received through decoders made in Nigeria. The contents of the channels are safe for both children and adults. These channels cut across all demographics and genres.”

OurTV is a division of Trefoil Networks, which is licensed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to provide a mix of services including ICT, broadcast, network and internet solutions.

FG unveils strategic plan for NCC

Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has unveiled the strategic management plan for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for 2020 through 2024.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

This directive was given by President Muhammadu Buhari and is aimed at creating a seamless strategy to actualise digital economy in the country, leverage on the national digital economy policy and strategy as well as the national broadband plan and also ensure all parastatals and agencies of government are efficient and effective in service delivery to Nigerians.

According to Pantami, the NCC as the regulatory body needs to drive developmental regulation in Nigeria. He also identified the five components needed in the implementation of a strategy – People, Resources, Structure, System and Orientation – and called on the commission to provide his office with a monthly report on progress made.

Executive VC of the NCC, Umar Danbatta said: “The roadmap is in line with the objective of creating a seamless strategy to augment the commission’s effective management and regulation of the telecommunications sector.

“The SMP will leverage on the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) as well as the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020 – 2024 and will cover the guiding principles and act as the operations manual for the commission towards actualising the digital economic agenda of the federal government in the next five years.

“It will be resident in the corporate planning, strategy and risk management department which will ensure that the contents of the document become the guiding principles for the commission in the next five years.”

TV among most admired brands in Africa

Television services have emerged among the most admired brands in Africa, joining a number of other globally revered brands on Brand Africa’s list of the top 100 most-admired brands in Africa.

Martin Mabutho

The list for 2020 compiled by Johannesburg, South Africa-based Brand Africa includes Nigeria’s Channels TV, Silverbird TV, NTA and MultiChoice-owned video entertainment platform DStv.

The list was revealed in a virtual event co-hosted by Brand Africa, represented by founder and chairman Thebe Ikalafeng; Feyi Olubodun, founder and managing partner of Lagos-based marketing agency Open Squares; and Martin Mabutho, chief customer officer at MultiChoice Nigeria.

Compared to last year’s list, DStv moved up nine places from its #45 ranking in 2019 to #36 in this year’s top-100 brands list and up one place from #4 to #3 on the list of most-admired African brands.

Speaking at the virtual event, Mabutho said: “It is our honour to be associated with Africa’s best brands and we are delighted to co-host this session in conjunction with Brand Africa and Open Squares.

“I believe that as Africans, we have what it takes to launch our brands to the next level and even compete favourably with global brands. It is what drives us at MultiChoice Nigeria to continuously create and enhance our platforms to showcase these excellent African brands. Congratulations to all winners.”

TNT Africa to debut movie catalogue

WarnerMedia-owned regional pay TV broadcaster TNT Africa is gearing up to launch its first slate of original productions on July 4.

Escape From Pretoria stars Daniel Radcliffe (right) and Daniel Webber (left)

The channel’s line-up will feature a slate of new movies produced or acquired by Particular Crowd, Turner Latin America’s original movie company, which was launched earlier this year.

The pan-African channel will premiere Escape From Pretoria, a true-life story of Tim Jenkin (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber).

The young, white South Africans were branded ‘terrorists’ for working covert operations for Nelson Mandela’s banned party ANC. Incarcerated in Pretoria Central Prison’s maximum-security wing in 1978, they decide to send the apartheid regime a clear message by escaping.

Other titles include Buffaloed, directed by Tanya Wexler; Human Capital, a thriller starring Liev Schreiber and directed by Marc Meyers; and Guns Akimbo, also starring Harry Potter star Radcliffe.

Guillermo Farré

Guillermo Farré, head of general entertainment channels at WarnerMedia Africa, said: “With this launch, we are expanding our TNT Africa’s channel offering. We’ve been extremely successful with our selection of American blockbusters to become the second most-watched movie channel in South Africa.

“We’re always obsessed with creating unique experiences for our fans, and with the new TNT Original Movies, we’re providing our audiences with an exciting, wide-ranging and consistent flow of high-quality programming across all genres. Our subsidiary Particular Crowd’s creators bring it all, building a slate of originals that is nothing short of amazing, aligned with international standards.

“Escape From Pretoria will resonate with the local audience while acting as a hook to introduce the new editorial strategy of TNT Original Movies. The race-against-time thriller, with an international cast, is exciting and captivating. We think this is timely wherein the current climate staying at home is our new routine.”

Netflix takes on next African original series

Jiva! is from Cape Town-based prodco Blue Ice Africa

Streaming giant Netflix has commissioned an original drama series from Cape Town-based prodco Blue Ice Africa.

Jiva! follows the life of a talented street dancer who, while juggling the demands of a dead-end job, family responsibility and a rocky love life, realises her dance moves could be her ticket out of a working-class neighbourhood in Durban, South Africa.

The series, which was created by Busisiwe Ntintili, is a local African production from script to screen, and will showcase an all-African cast and crew.

Ntintili will act as showrunner on Jiva! and will exec produce with Adam Friedlander and Tebogo Maila. Scottnes L Smith, Mandla Dube and Mmambatho Montsho will direct.

Dancer, actor and radio personality Bontle Modiselle and Tom London, founder of South African dance crew Soweto’s Finest, join the creative team as choreographers.

In March, Netflix teamed with Star Wars actor John Boyega’s production outfit UpperRoom to develop non-English-language films drawn from Africa.

Earlier this week, the streamer renewed its first African original series, Queen Sono, for a second season. The six-parter, starring Pearl Thusi in the title role, was Netflix’s first script-to-screen original production on the continent.

Netflix will soon debut another African original globally, Blood & Water, a young adult drama series set in Cape Town, South Africa. The streamer has also previously announced its first Nigerian original series, from Nigerian director Akin Omotoso, as well as an animated project, Mama K’s Team Four.

South Africa’s takes Turkish drama

South African free-to-air channel has picked up a Turkish drama series from Istanbul-based distributor Global Agency.

Evermore is from Turkey’s O3 Productions

Evermore, from Turkey’s O3 Productions, follows the love story between two people from different backgrounds and the struggles they face due to their differences.

Having also recently been sold into El Salvador, the drama is now available in 30 territories worldwide. Other countries to have aired Evermore include Poland, Romania, Kosovo, Ukraine, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Honduras, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Angola and Mozambique.

The series has also been adapted locally in the Middle East, while further sales deals are currently being negotiated, according to Global Agency.

Izzet Pinto, founder and CEO of Global Agency, said: “It’s a big challenge to be asked to wait patiently for weeks at home. In these difficult days, we try to help our clients by providing good content. We are eager to be a part of it until the end. We’d like everybody to maintain their positive attitude. We say stay home, stay safe, be with your loved ones and watch TV.”

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Africa Channel lands in Canada

Ethnic Channels Group-owned US cablenet The Africa Channel has launched in Canada via national telecoms and broadcast company Rogers Media.

Narendra Reddy

The Africa Channel has a slate of English-language pan-African series, specials, documentaries and feature films and is currently available in about seven million homes throughout the US and the Caribbean.

The channel will be available to viewers in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland via Rogers’ online channel aggregator Ignite TV.

Narendra Reddy, general manager of The Africa Channel, said: “We are confident the breadth of our content will appeal to both the African and Caribbean diaspora as well as audiences with an interest in global travel, lifestyle and culture.”

StarTimes receives GFA commendation

Chinese-owned digital terrestrial TV company StarTimes has been applauded by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for successfully covering the Ghana premier league games so far.

GFA president Kurt Okraku commended the pay TV company for the improvement in its coverage as well as having a strong African presence of the league games during the 2019/20 season.

He said: “Discussions are underway with the national broadcaster and other TV stations in the country to make them partners in broadcasting the games, via the StarTimes channel.”

A five-year agreement has been signed with StarTimes giving it the rights to broadcast live matches of the Ghanaian premier league as well as broadcast selected matches of the first division league and the women’s football league.

NCC to create innovation hubs in Nigeria

Abuja-based Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) has revealed the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) will soon embark on creating innovation hubs in six geo-political zones in the country.

Mohammed Ajiya

Having trained no fewer than 200 teachers from Niger State last year, DBI president and CEO Mohammed Ajiya said the hubs will be specifically used for the training of teachers and pupils at the grassroots level.

“In each of the geo-political zones, the NCC will very soon be sponsoring creation of innovation hubs where we can use those hubs as much as possible to harness needed talent.

“Very soon, we are going to start talent leadership training, where we are going teach out-of-school pupils and see how to harness their talents, how to become the next Bill Gates,” he said.

He encouraged teachers to improve their knowledge of digital technology and also urged the state government to avail themselves of the training being sponsored by the NCC at the DBI.

ATV secures African deals for drama duo

Turkish drama series Hercai

Turkish dramas Hercai and Love & Secrets have found more TV homes in Africa, after broadcaster and distributor ATV announced deals in Angola and Mozambique.

Patricia Abreu, channel director at Luanda-based Portuguese-language broadcaster Zap TV, has bagged the shows for both territories. The sales were unveiled at the Natpe convention in Miami, Florida last week.

HBO Max picks up Americanah

Danai Gurira (left) and Lupita Nyong’o

The TV adaptation of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah has been picked up by upcoming US-based streaming service HBO Max.

The series has received a straight-to-series order from the SVoD platform, soon to be launched by AT&T-owned WarnerMedia as a rival to Netflix and Amazon Prime, and will be a limited series with 10 episodes.

The series is based on Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same name and will star Lupita Nyong’o. It tells the story of a woman born in Nigeria and her experiences upon moving to the US.

The series has been adapted from the 2013 novel by Danai Gurira, who also executive produces alongside Nyong’o for Eba Productions, Plan B Entertainment, Andrea Calderwood for Potboiler Television, Didi Rea and Danielle Del for D2 Productions and Nancy Won.

Head of original content for HBO Max, Sarah Aubrey said: “Americanah has sparked a cultural phenomenon and is revered by fans around the world. It has affected me deeply as one of the most moving, socially relevant and romantic stories of our time.

“With exceptional talent like Lupita and Danai in front of and behind the camera, this series will give viewers a uniquely heartfelt and unforgettable experience.”