All posts by John Winfield

Africa braces for The Swarm

The Swarm is based Frank Schätzing’s novel

Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video has picked up ecological thriller The Swarm for subscribers in sub-Saharan territories.

The 8×60’ series is based on Frank Schätzing’s bestselling book and chronicles the struggle of humankind against an unknown enemy that lives in the depths of the sea.

The Swarm is produced by Schwarm TV Productions, a joint venture between Intaglio Films and ndF IP, for ZDF, France Télévisions, Rai Fiction, Viaplay Group, Hulu Japan, ORF and SRF, in coproduction with Bravado Fiction and Beside Production, in co-operation with Athos KG.

Germany’s ZDF Studios and Beta Film are handling worldwide sales. The deal with Amazon was brokered by Yuliya Fischer, director of drama at ZDF Studios.

The series, directed by Barbara Eder (Barbarians), Luke Watson (Ripper Street) and Philipp Stölzl (The Physician), stars Alexander Karim (Dying of the Light), Cécile de France (The New Pope), Leonie Benesch (The Crown), Barbara Sukowa (Hannah Arendt) and Takuya Kimura (I Come With the Rain).

“The Swarm is one of the hottest titles in our scripted catalogue. I’m delighted that Prime Video will be introducing its African subscribers to this ecological thriller that is like no other,” said Fischer.

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Ghanaian filmmaker Brown joins Qube

Indian digital cinema technology company Qube Cinema has appointed Ghanaian filmmaker Francis Yushau Brown, founder of toon house AnimaxFYB Studios, as its consultant for Africa.

Francis Yushau Brown

According to Qube Cinema, Brown is joining the team to rapidly expand the firm’s presence in Africa and develop its digital distribution business, Qube Wire, across the continent.

“His industry experience and understanding of the region will make him an asset to the Qube Wire team,” the Chennai-based outfit said.

Brown added: “I envision a valuable partnership with Qube Wire, a distinguished leader in the cinema industry. Their holistic approach to addressing the significant hurdles in the African cinema operations, through tailored electronic delivery solutions and collaborative studio/operator engagement, harmonises seamlessly with my mission as a cinema consultant and filmmaker.

“Together, we can empower African cinema operators and owners with precisely crafted solutions, thus revolutionising the industry.”

Nigel Dennis, Qube’s senior VP of global sales, said: “We know it’s tough, but Qube is rising to the challenge. Where there is a will, there is a way. We are already offering our service in Ghana, DRC, Djibouti, Mauritius and Reunion Islands. The next countries in the pipeline are Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa.

“Francis is a talented individual who has already slotted into our team perfectly. We’ll continue, as we always have, to listen to both exhibition and distribution on how we can make their lives easier and act accordingly.”

Brown is the founder and creative director of Accra-based AnimaxFYB Studios and has gained international acclaim for his animated shorts and films, which include Room 5, Kilo & Kwaata, Xena the Zebra and Way2Go.

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Al Jazeera teases streaming service

Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Networks has unveiled details of its new global streaming platform, with a plan to target the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in its first phase.

Jamal Elshayyal

Free Arab-language service Al Jazeera 360, which is due to launch between the end of this year and early 2024, is being dubbed the ‘next big thing’ in the Arab world since the launch of Al Jazeera itself back in 1996.

Details of the service were revealed yesterday by Jamal Elshayyal, manager of content strategy for OTT platforms at Al Jazeera, at the second edition of its documentary pitching forum event called Industry Days @ AJB Doc, which is held as part of the annual Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary film Festival in Sarajevo.

“Al Jazeera is establishing the first Arab-language streaming service in the world for news and information content,” said Elshayyal.

The new service will launch first in Arabic, with English- and Balkan-language versions to follow in the course of 2024.

Al Jazeera 360 will be available on all devices as a free service but requiring registration, and will offer a mix of on-demand and live-streaming options.

A core aim will be to increase its reach and retention of younger audiences. For Al Jazeera, which is also present across digital platforms like YouTube and other social media, changes in consumer behaviour towards streaming have forced news and information service such as Al Jazeera to evolve in order to compete with the vast choice of news and information available, said Elshayyal.

Al Jazeera currently has a global audience of 473.5 million Arabic-speaking subscribers and generates 66 billion views. Its core target is the 18-34 demographic, which currently accounts for over 50% of viewers on digital platforms.

A particular target in this first phase will be the MENA region, including North Africa, which other pan-Arab media are not focusing on, said Elshayyal.

The service will initially launch with 10,000 hours of content harvested from Al Jazeera’s inventory of current affairs and documentaries, as well as its own slate of new originals. The focus is human stories across a range of genres, from investigative current affairs, debate shows and documentaries to political satire and lighter factual, such as travelogues and culture shows. One of its new series strands is Victims and Heroes and in-house-produced film Day in the Life of a Fighter.

The service will also offer a new opportunity and scope for international documentary producers looking to coproduce and pitch shows that align with its values and are relevant to its audiences, said Elshayyal.

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Netflix teases further SA originals

Burnt Onion Productions’ young-adult series Miseducation

US streamer Netflix is working on more original series out of South Africa and has renewed Blood & Water, Savage Beauty and pan-African reality series Young, Famous & African.

The streaming giant detailed its commitment to the South African TV and film industry at MipAfrica in Cape Town today during a panel session entitled See What’s Next on Netflix.

Netflix shared details of a series of collaborations with local filmmakers and labels across both TV and movies.

Of the TV projects, it has signed a multiple-title book adaptation deal with Akin Omotoso and Ochre Media, while it will also develop multiple titles across various genres and formats with Gambit Films (Blood & Water, Unseen).

Stained Glass Productions will develop book adaptations across a variety of genres, and Black Brain Pictures is set to produce both TV series and films for Netflix.

It will also make two more films with director Donovan Marsh (iNumber Number, Spud & Spud 2, Hunter Killer and I Am All Girls) following the release of iNumber Number: Fool’s Gold.

Writer, producer and director Jayan Moodley (The Kandasamys franchise) has struck a three-picture partnership with Netflix, starting off with the next instalment of the Kandasamys series of films, Kandasamys: The Baby, which is currently in production.

The new partnerships come as Netflix gears up to release Miseducation, a young-adult (YA) series from Burnt Onion Productions (How to Ruin Christmas).

Set to premiere on September 15, it stars Buntu Petse as student Mbali Hadebe, who must reinvent herself after her mother is accused of political corruption.

Meanwhile, YOH’ Christmas is a holiday season series scheduled for later this year, made by BBZEE Productions.

Netflix also announced renewals for teen crime series Blood & Water (S4), mystery drama Savage Beauty (S2) and pan-African reality series Young, Famous & African (S3).

“Netflix has pioneered a path for the voices of African filmmakers to be expressed globally,” said Bradley Joshua, CEO and executive producer of Gambit Films. “As a company, we are beyond grateful for the growing relationship we are forging.”

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s VP of content for Middle East and Africa, said: “We are incredibly excited to continue with our investment in South African storytelling and to expand our relationships with these amazing storytellers.

“These long-term partnerships with local filmmakers have enabled us to uncover unique perspectives and diverse stories from South Africa to entertain our more than 238 million members around the world.

“This is why we’re committed to investing in South Africa’s creative industry and showcasing the incredible talent the country has to offer.”

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Turkish dramas set for MultiChoice, ZAP

Ariza has been picked up by Canal+ and Kana TV

African broadcasters and platforms have been shopping at Turkish distribution company Inter Medya, which has struck deals with Canal+ and MultiChoice as well as regional satellite platforms ZAP, Kana TV and Azam Media.

Canal+ has acquired three drama series from 2020 – Last Summer (93×45’), Scorpion (91×45’) and Ariza (101×45’) – to air on its French-language African telenovela channel Novelas TV. Last Summer was produced by O3 Medya for Fox; Scorpion was produced by 1441 Productions for Star TV; and Ariza is another O3 production, this time for Show TV.

Additionally, Scorpion is to air in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe through Inter Medya’s partnership with South Africa-based pay TV group MultiChoice, which operates the DStv, GOtv and Showmax platforms.

Istanbul-based Inter Medya has also licensed drama Tuzak (91×45’), which debuted on TV8 in 2022, to NOS-owned Portuguese-language channel ZAP TV in Angola and Mozambique. In Ethiopia, the distributor has closed a deal with Canal+ Group-owned free-to-air satellite channel Kana TV for Ariza; Ramo (103×45’), which prodco BKM made for Show TV in 2020; and current one-hour series Deception (Tims & B Productions for ATV).

Inter Medya’s partnership with Bakhresa Group-owned East African satellite platform Azam Media also brings current production The Girl of the Green Valley to Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The drama is produced by Yeşil Yapım and Haciyatmaz Group for Fox and is based on the 1908 Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

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Netflix lines up SA series Miseducation

Miseducation stars Buntu Petse

Global streamer Netflix is set to premiere new South African comedy-drama series Miseducation on September 15.

Miseducation is produced by Randburg-based Burnt Onion Productions, created by Rethabile Ramaphakela and Katleho Ramaphakela and directed by Catharine Cooke, Themba Mfebe, Lwazi Mvusi and Rea Rangaka.

The young-adult series tells the story of a wannabe influencer, played by Buntu Petse, who is forced to start afresh in a small university town after her mother’s implication in a corruption scandal.

Once in the remote town, she tries to regain her social status and ‘uncancel’ herself. Her haters, on the other hand, will stop at nothing to bring her right back down to earth.

As well as Petse, the cast includes Lunga Shabalala, Baby Cele, Prev Reddy, Mpho Sebeng, Micaela Tucker, Mandisa Nduna, Camilla Waldman, Nicole Bessick and Ebenhaezer Dibakwane.

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MultiChoice, BBC extend partnership in SA

African pay TV operator MultiChoice Group and UK-based BBC Studios have collaborated to expand reach of the BBC’s channels on MultiChoice-owned satellite TV platform DStv in South Africa.

Pierre Cloete

Through this deal, BBC UKTV, a multi-genre channel from BBC Studios, will be added to South Africa’s DStv Compact package. The move provides around eight million families in South Africa access to a variety of entertainment shows, natural history series, soaps and children’s programmes from BBC Studios’ award-winning catalogue.

Furthermore, BBC Lifestyle will join the DStv Family package for the first time next month, offering programming including The Great South African Bake Off S4, Listing Jozi, Jamie Oliver: Cooking for Less, Come Dine With Me South Africa S9 and Britain’s Most Expensive House S2.

DStv audiences will have access to the content for longer, with the catch-up window on BBC-owned content being extended from 30 days to 60 days from September 1.

Pierre Cloete, commercial director at BBC Studios in Africa, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with MultiChoice and are proud of our six incredible BBC channels on the DStv platform. Each channel offers something for everyone with broad genre, trusted quality and international and local talent.

“This will give even more people in South Africa access to the very best BBC content, and I can’t wait for new audiences to find their new favourite shows.”

Arran Tindall, chief commercial officer and exec VP for EMEA key markets at BBC Studios, added: “Adding BBC Lifestyle to Family and BBC UKTV to Compact enables us to reach wider audiences, utilising the richness of the BBC’s content and providing more DStv subscribers access to award-winning shows.”

Georginah Machiridza, executive head of general entertainment channels at MultiChoice Group, said: “We continue to strengthen our content offering. Therefore, we are excited about broadening the content scope for our customers.”

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Arabic SVoD subs ‘to boom’ by 2029

SVoD subscribers by platform in Arabic-speaking countries in 2029 (million)

There will be 28 million SVoD subscriptions across 13 Arabic countries by 2029, up from 15 million in 2023, according to UK analysis firm Digital TV Research.

Netflix will still lead the market come 2029, but local players will provide a strong challenge, the recently released report titled Middle East & North Africa OTT TV & Video Forecasts states.

StarzPlay, Shahid VIP and OSN+ will account for 46% of the Arabic total subscriptions by 2029, collectively adding 4.7 million subscribers from 2023.

In comparison, SVoD subscriptions in Africa will increase by 10 million in the next six years, up to 18 million by 2029, from eight million at end-2023.

Digital TV Research recently forecast that global SVoD subscriptions will increase by 400 million by 2028 to reach a total of 1.76 billion, with Netflix leading the way in this worldwide expansion by amassing a total of 277 million customers.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “As some of the US-based platforms lower their global rollout and local content commitments, the Arabic players will thrive.”

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Development platform seeks producers

The Great Lakes Creative Producers Lab, a project-development platform for creative producers from East and West Africa, is seeking talented African producers specialising in documentaries and fiction films.

The programme is intended to address some of the challenges that exist in the film industry ecosystem, including insufficient understanding around the role of creative producer.

Five producers will be selected from East Africa – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – for the documentary lab, while five fiction producers will be selected from West Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The two-session programme will be held firstly in Nairobi from November 6 to 10 and then in Saint-Louis-du-Sénégal in April 2024, during the Saint Louis Docs Festival.

The first five-day film-development programme aims to broaden the professional networks and producing expertise of participants through a series of hands-on workshops and one-on-one sessions with local and international industry mentors.

The dual sessions will centre on production and financing. Discussion points will encompass project development, constructing an effective financing strategy, recommended methodologies, evaluating the pros and cons of coproduction, essential documentation needed for seeking international funding, devising distribution and sales approaches, and more.

Two of the participants in this workshop will be selected to participate in the 77th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival in May next year. The deadline for applications is September 1. Click here to apply.

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Nollywood’s Kanaani gets cinema release

Kanaani revolves around human trafficking

Nollywood film Kanaani, directed by Tola Olatunji, is set to premiere in Nigerian cinemas on September 15.

Kanaani, which means ‘promised land,’ is distributed by Lagos-based FilmOne Entertainment and had its US premiere at the prestigious Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills in April this year. The cast includes Robb Hudspeth, Ayo Kosh and Joseph Benjamin.

Produced by filmmaker Jennifer Akporehe, the film is about the global human-trafficking crisis. It follows the lives of two young lovers who decide to leave Nigeria for greener pastures, but things do not turn out as they envisioned.

Olatunji said: “The idea behind Kanaani was not just to entertain but to create an impact and change lives. [There is] nothing more satisfying than to watch viewers’ reactions right after the screening. The shock factor, arguments, discussions and emotions that it triggers in people that makes them wait behind just to discuss the movie has been mind-blowing.”

Akporehe added: “It has been a year-and-a-half, multiple countries and a gazillion time zones later, and with the help of everyone who contributed to this project in some form or fashion, we are glad to announce that Kanaani the movie is finally here.”

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Showmax takes Flawsome to S2

Dami Elebe is the lead writer on Flawsome S2

MultiChoice-backed African video-on-demand service Showmax has ordered a second season of drama series Flawsome.

The streamer, which is now also backed by US cable giant Comcast, revealed the news alongside announcing that award-winning Nigerian screenwriter Dami Elebe would be head writer on the new season.

Season one of Flawsome delved into the lives of diverse characters navigating life’s challenges and triumphs, revealing the strong bonds that held four female friends together despite their flaws.

The cast is led by Bisola Aiyeola (Sugar Rush), Ini Dima-Okojie (Blood Sisters), Sharon Ooja (Òlòtūré) and Enado Odigie (Unmarried).

Elebe is known for series including Skinny Girl in Transit, The Men’s Club, Rumor Has It and Far From Home.

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Netflix to add seven Nollywood titles

Aníkúlápo: The Series is a spin-off from the film that was released last year

Netflix is set to release seven Nigerian films and series in the coming months, including titles from EbonyLife Studios, Charles Okpaleke, Golden Effects Pictures and Kunle Afolayan.

The new Nollywood projects are The Black Book, Blood Vessel, Òlòtūré: The Series, Ijogbon, Aníkúlápó: The Series, To Kill a Monkey and War: Wrath & Revenge.

Crime thriller The Black Book is directed and produced by Editi Effiong and follows a man who seeks justice for his son after his murder by corrupt policemen. The cast includes Shaffy Bello, Ireti Doyle, Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Patrick Doyle and Richard Mofe-Damijo.

Òlòtūré: The Series is based on the 2019 film by Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Studios. It follows a young journalist who fails to flee from human traffickers and makes a perilous journey through hostile lands. The cast includes Sharon Ooja, Omoni Oboli, Beverley Osu, Ikechukwu Onunaku and Stan Nze.

Drama-adventure film Ijogbon has been created by Kunle Afolayan and produced by Golden Effects Pictures. It tells the story of four teenagers whose lives change after finding diamonds. The cast includes Ruby Akubueze, Kayode Ojuolape and Oluwaseyi Ebiesuwa.

Aníkúlápó: The Series is a four-part spin-off from the 2022 Yoruba epic Aníkúlápó. It is directed and produced by Kunle Afolayan and will feature actors including Sola Sowobale, Kunle Remi, Bimbo Ademoye, Owobo Ogunde, Gabriel Afolayan, and Lateef Adedimeji.

Kemi Adetiba’s crime thriller To Kill a Monkey will also make its debut on Netflix. It stars William Benson and Bucci Franklin.

Mystery and crime thriller Blood Vessel is directed by Moses Inwang and is produced by Charles Okpaleke and Play Network Studios. It revolves around a group of six friends attempting to flee the unrest in the Niger Delta as stowaways on a ship. David Ezekiel, Adaobi Dibor and Jide Kene Achufusi star in the movie.

Finally, drama series War: Wrath & Revenge from EbonyLife Studios is a spin-off from the popular 2016 thriller series Sons of the Caliphate. It tells the story of a woman who seeks revenge after her husband takes a second wife. The cast includes Mofe Duncan, Rahama Sadau, Yakubu Mohammed and Patrick Doyle.

Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s VP of content in the Middle East and Africa, said: “We are fortunate to bring incredible projects from some of Nigeria’s most prolific creators. Collaborating with them has enabled us to showcase Nigeria’s immense storytelling talent and creativity and make Netflix the home of the best Nigerian stories for our audience in Nigeria and around the world.”

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MultiChoice launches FTA channel in Botswana

MultiChoice Botswana has launched a free-to-air channel called Ytv.

Stephanie Pillay

Available on satellite TV platform DStv on channel 291, the channel showcases programming from Botswana and also offers creators opportunities to grow their content on the platform.

MultiChoice Botswana MD Stephanie Pillay said: “It has always been our mission to ensure that our DStv Botswana viewers have access to authentic local stories which resonate with them and feed their television viewing appetite for homegrown entertainment.

“Ytv was an obvious choice for us when investigating where we could enhance our local content offering. The channel is built on the promise to not only tell local stories but to do it with content that is relevant, current and youthful. We look forward to bringing such to our valued customers.

“At MultiChoice Botswana, we have every intention of helping Ytv enhance its content offering, providing viewers quality shows that meets their standard of entertainment. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that through Ytv, DStv Botswana subscribers are offered value-for-money television entertainment that meets and exceeds their television entertainment needs that rivals that of the other channels on the platform.”

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Showmax apprehends The Outlaws

Tshedza Pictures production The Outlaws

MultiChoice-owned African video-on-demand service Showmax is set to debut a new locally produced series named The Outlaws.

From Johannesburg-based Tshedza Pictures, The Outlaws is set on the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. It tells the story of two families at war with each other: the Zulu cattle-farming Biyelas and the Basotho cattle-raiding Tseoles.

The show stars Lehlohonolo Mayeza, Mmabatho Mogomotsi, Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku, Nolwazi Shange, Siyabonga Shibe, Mnqobi Kunene, Mmabatho Mogomotsi and Thembinkosi Mthembu. It will premiere on September 6.

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African SVoD subs to rise 10m by 2029

The number of SVoD subscriptions in Africa will reach 18 million by 2029, up from 8 million at end-2023, according to UK analysis firm Digital TV Research.

Despite the fast growth, SVoD penetration will remain low, with only 7.7% of TV households paying for at least one subscription by 2029.

Netflix will have 7.5 million subscribers by 2029, adding 3.4 million from end-2023. Second-placed Showmax will have 4.4 million paying subscribers by 2029, which is nearly three million more than 2023.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Prime Video will have 3.1 million subscribers by 2029, followed by Disney+ at 1.5 million and Apple TV+ at 251,000. Other platforms combined will reach 1.1 million subscriptions.

Digital TV Research recently forecast that global SVoD subscriptions will increase by 400 million by 2028 to reach a total of 1.76 billion, with Netflix leading the way in this worldwide expansion by amassing a total of 277 million customers.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “The SVoD sector in Anglophone Africa is evolving into a battle between Netflix and local player Showmax. Rich in local content and sports rights, Showmax now has access to NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and HBO content.”

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Netflix lines up Stephina Zwane movie

Love, Sex & 30 Candles is inspired by Angela Makholwa’s The 30th Candle

South African drama film Love, Sex & 30 Candles, directed by Stephina Zwane (Love & Kwaito), will premiere on Netflix on 18 August.

The film focuses on four best friends. When they hit the age of 30, they deal with hardships, relationships and a secret that might destroy their friendship.

Inspired by South African author Angela Makholwa’s book The 30th Candle, it stars Amogelang Chidi, Bahumi Madisakwane, Gabisile Tshabalala and Candice Modiselle.

According to the producers, Love, Sex & 30 Candles takes viewers on a heartfelt journey of friendship, love and self-discovery.

As well as 2016 movie Love & Kwaito, Zwane’s other credits include TV series Spirit Sundae and Jika MaJika for SABC, plus Sifun’Ukwazi for Mzansi Magic. She is the co-founder of Sorele Media, a Randburg-based film production company she started with film producer and actor Salamina Mosese.

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Mo Abudu to keynote at FAME Week

Mo Abudu, CEO of Nigerian film and TV production studio EbonyLifeTV, will deliver a keynote speech at the Women in Entertainment Breakfast at FAME Week Africa 2023, which takes place in Cape Town next month.

Mo Abudu

The breakfast is scheduled for September 6 and will bring together female professionals from all areas of the entertainment industry, including music, film and television. According to the organisers, it will provide a platform for women to connect, share experiences and discuss ways to overcome the challenges they face in the industry.

It will also recognise the significant role women play in shaping Africa’s entertainment landscape and breaking barriers internationally. It is designed to inspire, empower and foster connections within the industry, and create more opportunities for women.

Abudu – described as Africa’s most powerful woman by Forbes magazine – will share her insights into how women can navigate their careers and overcome obstacles.

FAME Week Africa, organised by RX Africa, will take place from September 3 to 9 and comprises Mip Africa, the Cape Town International Animation Festival, Muziki Africa and Media Entertainment Solutions Africa. The event is powered by EarCandy Dubbing and the Cape Town International Conventions Centre CTICC.

Louise Callcott-Stevens, co-founder and CEO at EarCandy, said: “There is so much research that points to women not supporting other women to reach their full career potential. As a female-owned business that consistently sees the business benefit and RoI of developing women, we want to be a part of this change.”

CTICC CEO Taubie Motlhabane added: “At the CTICC, we believe in the power of women in driving change and innovation. We are honoured to be part of the Women in Entertainment Breakfast, as it aligns perfectly with our commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse industry.”

Martin Hiller, portfolio director of FAME Week Africa, said: “The Women in Entertainment Breakfast is a crucial milestone for FAME Week Africa. By celebrating and elevating the incredible talent of women in the industry, we are forging a path towards a more equitable and vibrant future for African entertainment.”

Alderman JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the event aligns with the city’s commitment to supporting initiatives that empower women and foster inclusivity.

“We are thrilled to be the host city for the Women in Entertainment Breakfast at FAME Week Africa 2023. As a city that celebrates diversity and creativity, we recognise the immense contributions of African women in the entertainment industry,” he said.

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Showmax reflects on eight years

As Showmax marks its eighth birthday this weekend, the MultiChoice-owned African streamer has reflected upon its journey, which has been marked by significant achievements.

Yolisa Phahle

During its existence, the streaming service has attained noteworthy milestones. The number of Showmax subscribers has exhibited an impressive average growth rate of 26% over the past four years, the company said.

Showmax is also the most highly rated streaming app in South Africa, as evidenced by its ratings of 4.6 on the South African Google Play store and 4.8 on Apple’s App Store. These figures place Showmax in close proximity to Apple TV+’s ratings, showcasing the platform’s high level of user satisfaction and engagement.

The streaming platform’s local content has also garnered awards at events such as the SAFTAs in South Africa, AMVCAs in Nigeria, Kalashas in Kenya and International Emmys in the US. Showmax cop drama Reyka, for example, clinched nominations for two International Emmys, while thriller series Spinners achieved a milestone as the first African series to be chosen at CanneSeries in France.

Furthermore, other series such as Recipes for Love & Murder as well as Donkerbos earned their spots in the esteemed Berlinale Series Market Selects, alongside other notable recent recognitions.

Showmax features local content in more than 20 African languages. In 2022, seven of the 10 most streamed titles on Showmax in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria and nine of the top 10 in Ghana were African. Overall, local content viewership on Showmax has hit 57% in 2023, while viewership for Zulu telenovela The Wife has now surpassed 50 million hours ahead of any international content.

In March 2023, Showmax unveiled a collaboration with Comcast’s US studio NBCUniversal and European pay TV arm Sky for a relaunch set to take place before the end of this financial year, ending March 2024. The new Showmax will combine MultiChoice’s investment in local content with a pipeline of international content from NBCUniversal and Sky, third-party content from HBO, Warner Brothers, Sony and others, as well as live English Premier League matches.

In addition, Showmax is the only place in Africa to stream the following international drama series that are nominated at the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards: family business drama Succession S4 (27 nominations), post-apocalyptic video game adaptation The Last of Us S1 (24 noms) and the Sicily-set The White Lotus S2 (23 noms).

Other achievements for Showmax include emerging as the first streaming platform on the continent to facilitate mobile downloads, allowing users to enjoy content offline, as well as enabling the lowest data streaming option on the continent and accepting payments in local currencies and payment platforms.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax, said: “Showmax is clearly differentiated from the international streamers by our local content and football, a strategy that has seen Showmax consistently deliver subscriber growth ahead of target. Africa’s population is growing at three times the global average – an unrivalled growth opportunity – and is expected to double in size by 2050 to around 2.5 billion – likely to be a quarter of the world’s population. Combined with growing internet connectivity off the lowest base in the world, this gives us an incredible opportunity.”

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Small World gets Note for Note rights

Note for Note’s Emo Adams and DJ Shelly (Rochelle de Bruyn)

US distributor and formats sourcing company Small World IFT has acquired the international licensing rights to South African musical game show Note for Note aka Noot vir Noot.

Originally created in 1991 by Johan Stemmet and Johan van Resburg from Johannesburg-based prodco Stemmburg Television, Note for Note has screened on SABC in South Africa for 47 seasons and 750 episodes.

It is the longest continually running gameshow in South Africa and Africa. The presenter is musician Emo Adams, with resident DJ Shelly (Rochelle de Bruyn) providing musical clues.

The show sees contestants attempt to identify melodies, titles, lyrics and general knowledge based on both the local and international music scene.

Founded in 2005, Small World IFT has previously distributed the rights to formats such as I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Better Late than Never, and South Korea’s Grandpas Over Flowers.

“I love finding new entertainment properties in places others don’t dig into,” said Tim Crescenti, co-owner at Small World IFT.

“Noot vir Noot is such a fun, family show. Add in those super-crazy numbers of episodes with so many different fantastic games, and this is exactly what viewers are craving around the world.”

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OUTtv preps first South African original

The G-List comes from The Red Pill Productions

LGBTQ+ television and streaming service OUTtv has commissioned its first South African original series, reality format The G-List.

Produced by The Red Pill Productions, the unscripted series is set in Johannesburg and is scheduled to start production this month.

It follows three of the city’s gay influencers, Kyle Clarke, DJ Lula Odiba and Mthaux, as they explore topics such as identity, love, friendship and fame.

The G-list will be released on OUTtv’s broadcast and streaming services worldwide and on Openview’s Ultraview service this autumn.

Philip Webb, chief operating officer of OUTtv, said: “South Africa is an emerging market for us and also home to an incredibly rich, dynamic and culturally vibrant queer community which we are excited to be showcasing through The G-List.”

Dale Jacobs, production lead for The Red Pill Productions, added: “We will challenge preconceived notions, celebrate diversity and uplift the power of self-expression, creating a global platform for amplifying LGBTQ+ voices in South Africa.”

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