All posts by John Winfield

Uzo Aduba to host Netflix Book Club

Uzo Aduba starred in Netflix original series Orange is the New Black

Nigerian-American actor Uzo Aduba has been revealed as the host of Netflix Book Club, a forthcoming series about books the streamer has adapted for the small screen.

Available via the Still Watching Netflix YouTube channel and the Netflix US Facebook channel, the show will introduce viewers to books that they will soon be able to watch as films and series on the streamer, as well as those that have been adapted for Netflix in the past.

It will begin with the stars and storytellers behind the latest book-to-screen adaptations sitting down for candid conversations while delving into the depths of how beloved characters, themes and stories are brought to life on the page and on screen.

Recent Netflix book adaptations that will be discussed include Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, Orange is the New Black (which starred Aduba) and The Maid.

Forthcoming book adaptations being spotlighted include Nella Larsen’s Harlem Renaissance-era novel Passing, which has been adapted as a film directed by Rebecca Hall and will be released on Netflix next month.

Passing follows the story of two black women who can pass as white and choose to live on opposite sides of the coluor line in 1929 New York. Aduba will sit down with Hall and stars Ruth Negga and André Holland to discuss the adaptation on November 16.

Netflix chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John said: “From Bridgerton, To All the Boys and Sweet Magnolias to Queen’s Gambit, Unorthodox, Virgin River and, of course, Orange is the New Black, Netflix loves bringing books to life on screen and creating conversation with passionate readers and fans. We’re thrilled that the incredible Uzo Aduba will be our host to discuss favourite books and what goes into writing, developing, casting and creating our beloved series and films.”

Aduba added: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked friends, ‘But have you read the book?’ so I’m excited to host Netflix Book Club and bring together loyal book fans, TV and movie obsessives and the creators behind their favourite stories. I can’t wait to dive deep into the creative process and what it takes to bring a book to life.”

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UCC orders Spark to suspend Live Wire

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed local broadcaster Spark TV to suspend its Live Wire programme.

The order comes after Spark TV ignored the regulator’s directive to reschedule Live From from its evening slot to a time between 22.00 and 05.00 because of its adult-themed content.

The UCC had instructed 11 TV stations to reschedule certain programmes, with Spark TV being the only one that failed to comply. Shows affected include NBS TV’s Uncut Sabula and Uncut Kalakata, Urban TV’s Short Circuit Sonsomola, ABS TV’s Evening Zone, Baba TV’s Poko Poko, and BBS TV’s Roundabout.

According to the UCC, Spark TV went ahead to air the programme as scheduled, indicating that it was not culpable of any breach.

After defying the commission’s directive, Spark TV has been ordered to submit recordings of Live Wire that aired between September 1 and October 20 this year and to “immediately suspend Live Wire until it has satisfactorily demonstrated that the programme has been appropriately scheduled in accordance with the directive of 18th October 2021.”

Outlining its concerns around Live Wire and the other shows, the UCC said:  “The programmes contain adult content, sexual innuendos and profanity, with the potential to disturb and harm some members of the public, especially children; tThe presenters of the programmes often appear on air when dressed indecently in skimpy outfits; the programmes often contain inaccurate, misleading and unverified content, which often defames other individuals.”

The broadcasters have been reminded to ensure their programmes comply with minimum broadcasting standards enshrined in the Uganda Communications Act, 2013, the Uganda Communications (Content) Regulations 2019, and other relevant laws.

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Linda Ikeji TV set to visit Laura’s Kitchen

Laura’s Kitchen is fronted by Laura Ikeji Kanu,

Laura’s Kitchen, a culinary show produced by Nigerian streamer Linda Ikeji TV, is set to debut on the service this Friday.

The show is hosted by Laura Ikeji Kanu, sister of Nigerian blogger, writer, entrepreneur and former model Linda Ikeji, who is behind the streamer.

It will showcase the various dishes that can supplement the average Nigerian family menu, as well as exploring different cuisines spanning multiple continents and cultures. Celebrity guests will feature throughout the series.

Laura’s Kitchen will also be available via social media and on Linda Ikeji TV’s YouTube channel.

Linda Ikeji said: “Yay! Our new TV show is ready for your viewing pleasure and I can’t wait for you guys to see it. This culinary show is hosted by my vivacious sister Laura Ikeji and it’s star-studded.”

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ANEL preparing new African reality show

The Residence Afrika

Lagos- and Johannesburg-based social networking company Africa Network Entertainment (ANEL) is working on a new reality show called The Residence Afrika, which will debut in March 2022.

The first season of the show, which is aimed at promoting African culture to both local and global audiences, will be subtitled The Quest Edition.

A total of 24 contestants from 12 Anglophone countries in Africa will take part, competing for a grand prize of N206,845,000 (US$500,000). Audition dates have not yet been announced.

According to ANEL, the show will be a cross-pollination of cultures, creed, idiosyncrasies, religion and ethnicities, giving contestants the chance to showcase their knowledge, talents and business skills while engaging in brand tasks.

The Residence Afrika is executive produced by Kelechi Freeman Ukadike and directed by Melvin Oduah. Viewers will be able to watch via a Residence Afrika app, which will be available on the Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.

Nollywood actor Jim Iyke, the vice-chairman of ANEL, said: “This is the fruition of a dream and vision of two years. Highs and lows, from meetings in Kigali to Joburg, to Accra, to Abuja, to Lagos. We made it! Get ready for a singular reality TV experience like nothing you’ve ever seen or experienced. Congratulations to our team at ANEL.”

ANEL is a social networking community for entertainers, entertainment lovers, and business professionals. Comprising multiple genres, ANEL describes itself as we a melting pot of arts, culture and entertainment.

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Temple, Zee strike partnership

Execs from both companies pictured after inking the deal

Lagos-based consulting agency The Temple Company and Mumbai-based TV producer Zee World have struck a partnership aimed at driving growth for Indo-Nigerian creative industries and bridging the divide between the two markets.

The deal, unveiled at The Temple Company’s headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, means The Temple Company is now the official marketing partner/creative agency for Indian content giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises and will serve as its representative to interface with public-sector organisations looking to leverage its platforms to their advantage.

Idris Olorunnimbe, founder of The Temple Company, said the partnership aligned with the firm’s goal to foster cross-border collaboration that will ultimately help drive growth for Indo-Nigerian creative industries.

He said: “We were ready for this collaboration long ago. When we launched The Temple Company, we had our job cut out to attract strategic collaborations that would impact positively on the creative economies across territories. This new partnership with Zee Entertainment embodies these aspirations.

“We are excited at the promise this presents for sectoral growth. We look forward to the fruits that this partnership will produce. Time to get to work!”

Somnath Malakar, CEO of sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Islands at Zee Entertainment Enterprises, added: “We are certainly excited to partner with The Temple Company, which positions us to collaboratively unlock the opportunities presenting themselves in Nigeria, the biggest and fastest-growing television market in Africa.’’

Bollywood channel Zee World debuted on Nigerian television in February 2015 and has proved popular among Nigerian families. The channel commands a viewing share of up to one-fifth of the entire Nigerian pay TV landscape, according to Zee, and is now ranked as Nigeria’s most watched TV channel across all platforms.

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King’s Dorm to serve up S2 on YouTube

Toyin Abraham and Miyonse Amosu

Nigerian cooking show King’s Dorm is set to enter its second season on video platform YouTube.

The show explores the richness of Nigerian meals. Each episode is hosted by different chefs, who reveal the best Nigerian delicacies and the ingredients used to prepare the dishes.

In each episode, two families compete against each other in cooking challenges as they attempt to win a cash prize of 1m naira (US$2,400), a year’s supply of products from the show’s cooking oil brand sponsor Devon King’s, plus household items and other prizes.

Announcing the renewal via Instagram, Devon King’s said: “Season 2 is here and it’s bigger, better, and more exciting. Season 1 showed us amazing new ways to recreate our favourite Nigerian dishes and enjoy them.

“In this season, your family gets to be part of the excitement as you contest against other families to emerge as the ultimate King’s Dorm Family and win a cash prize of one million naira and lots of great prizes. Get your family ready to showcase your cooking skills and the strong bond that exists between you!”

The host for season two of King’s Dorm is actress Toyin Abraham and the celebrity judge is chef Miyonse Amosu. The show is available on Devon King’s YouTube Channel, and the registration date for participants has yet to be announced.

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SA film Happiness Ever After set for Netflix

L-R: Khanyi Mbau, Mmabatho Montsho and Renate Stuurman starred in Happiness is a Four-Letter Word

South African romantic drama film Happiness Ever After, a sequel to 2016’s Happiness is a Four-Letter Word, is set to debut on global streaming platform Netflix.

The film was produced in Johannesburg by Bongiwe Selane and directed by Thabang Moleya. It follows the glittering lifestyles of a trio of Joburg-based professional women as they grapple with issues of relationship stress, parenting and family tension.

It features returning cast members from the original, including Khanyi Mbau, Renate Stuurman and Richard Lukunku, as well as newcomers Nambitha Ben-Mazwi, Yonda Thomas, Daniel Effiong and Loyiso MacDonald. The film also includes heavyweight South African stars Xolile Tshabalala and Nandi Nyembe.

Selane said: “I’m super-excited about Happiness Ever After, and being able to continue the uber-relatable story of sisterhood, friendship and love.

“Sequels are always difficult because the pressure is that much higher, but they also offer something different and exciting – and the opportunity to land the film on a global service like Netflix is its own reward. It is my sincere hope that the film resonates with audiences, and they fall back in love with their favourites and the new faces too.”

The release date of the movie has yet to be confirmed.

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Netflix to debut African design docuseries

Made by Design will profile 13 creatives

Made by Design, an original documentary series about African architecture, interior design and product design, is set to debut on Netflix this month.

The first season of Made by Design will profile 13 of today’s top Nigerian and Lagos-based creative talents, giving an insight into their lives, work and inspirations. They are Tosin Oshinowo, Demi Semande, Studio Lani, Seun Oduwole, Papa Omotayo, Theo Lawson, Osaru Alile, Diseye Tantua, Muni Shonibare, Jackie Aki, Tola Akerele, Dapo Akintunde and Julia Amadi Obi.

According to an announcement by the West African design event Design Week Lagos, which takes place later this month, the series will feature interviews with the creatives and highlights of their work, while exploring their creative process and examining the uniqueness of their designs.

The series was created and directed by Titi Ogufere, CEO of Lagos-based Essential Media Group, and coproduced with Texas-based Emmy-winning filmmaker Abiola Matesun (Fire & Ice, Inner Conflict). Last year, Essential and Matesun struck a strategic partnership to produce documentaries on African design.

The documentary has been made possible by Design Week Lagos, a festival established to create a recognisable design culture for Africa and to showcase the ingenuity of designers from various walks of life. This year’s edition will be held from October 21 to 31 in various locations in Lagos. Click here to register to attend a virtual watch party for the series on October 24.

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Triggerfish, E4D boost African animation

Kay Carmichael’s short film Troll Girl

South Africa-based animation studio Triggerfish is collaborating with a German-funded project to open up the African animation industry to school leavers, empower creatives and generate 200 jobs.

Triggerfish’s partnership with the Employment for Skills and Development in Africa (E4D) was launched at the Cape Town International Animation Festival, which took place last weekend.

It includes a free online course on editing for animation, which can be accessed on the Triggerfish Academy’s digital learning platform.

In addition, the partnership has launched a competition inviting 18- to 35-year-olds to submit a 10-second animation. The winner will receive a Wacom One graphics tablet and a 30-minute one-on-one session with Mike Buckland, head of production at Triggerfish. The deadline for entries is midnight on November 14 this year. Click here for more information.

The Triggerfish-E4D partnership has also introduced workshops on the making of Kay Carmichael’s debut short film Troll Girl, which was produced by her production company Giantslayer Studios alongside Triggerfish. It will equally capture the learnings from both Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire and the Story Artist Lab, which will shape future modules on the free Triggerfish Academy digital learning platform, among other initiatives.

According to Triggerfish foundation director Carina Lücke, there’s never been a better time to be an animator in Africa. “While so many businesses have been taking strain during the pandemic, the animation industry in Africa has been exploding,” she said.

“Among other recent breakthroughs for the African animation industry, Disney has ordered Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, Kiya, Iwájú, and Kiff; Netflix is in production on Mama K’s Team 4; Cartoon Network is airing My Cartoon Friend and has greenlit Garbage Boy and Trash Can; and YouTube has renewed Super Sema for a second season.”

Gavin Watson, team leader for E4D, said the project had identified animation as an industry sector that is attractive to young people and is growing fast, adding: “The opportunities for animation extend outside the traditional film industry, within fields like advertising, app and web design, architecture, engineering, gaming, industrial design, medicine and the motor industry, not to mention growth sectors like augmented reality and virtual reality.”

Colin Payne, CEO of the Triggerfish Academy, said: “We want to remove the gap between animation training and the animation industry, so that our training is by industry experts and aimed at skills gaps identified by industry. In the past, animation had a high barrier to entry but, through free online training, we are opening up access to both skills development and the industry itself. We want to help build a diverse industry to tell their stories to the world.”

In June this year, Triggerfish received the Mifa Animation Industry Award at the Annecy International Animation Festival. The company was also announced as the lead producer on Disney+ original animated anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.

Other Triggerfish initiatives include sponsoring 20 bursaries for The Animation School with MICT SETA for 2021; sponsoring the 2021 Women in Animation World Summit; and running the Mama K’s Team 4 all-female writers lab with Netflix and the pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, supported by The Walt Disney Company, which led to Mama K’s Team 4 being sold to Netflix and Kiya to Disney.

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Nigerian doc screened at BFI festival

Noah’s Raft is a virtual reality documentary short

Noah’s Raft, a documentary by Nigerian filmmaker Joel Kachi Benson, is being screened at the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival, which began this week.

The annual BFI London Film Festival screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts from approximately 50 countries. It started on October 6 and will run until October 17 at the BFI Southbank Centre in the UK capital.

Noah’s Raft is a 12-minute film about love, education and community. According to the BFI, acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker Benson’s VR documentary shows how one person with a vision can transform a whole community by means of education.

The BFI’s blurb for the film reads as follows: “‘No person shall be denied the right to education.’ This privilege has been declared a human right by the United Nations, but has still not become a reality for many around the world. For the children of Makoko, a floating slum on the outskirts of Lagos, education is barely a presence in their lives. They are simply raised to help their parents and schooling is often perceived as a threat to the community’s traditions.

“But Noah Shemede, a committed education worker, follows his dream and sets up a floating primary school with the mission to change his community through education. In focusing on Shemede’s work, Venice Lion winner (Daughters of Chibok, 2019) Benson tackles one of the most pressing matters of our time through the prism of cutting-edge technology.”

The documentary was shot by VR360 Stories and co-directed by VR-AR art curator Tal Michael Haring. It premiered in June at the NewImages Festival in Paris and is in the English and Egun languages.

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NITV founder Onah eyes progress

Ijeoma Onah at the NITV Summit

 

Ijeoma Onah, founder of the Nigerian International TV (NITV) Summit, used the fourth edition of the event, held in Lagos this week, to emphasise the need for industry collaboration to move the sector forward.

With the three-day event based on the theme of Digital Consumption, Distribution & Disruption: Implications for Film & TV Content Business in Nigeria & for Sub-Saharan Africa, Onah acknowledged the importance of having conversations about how businesses can reposition themselves; what streaming businesses are doing to the film industry; exploring new possibilities and models within the ecosystem; and how businesses can navigate through these disruptive times.

Looking at the Nigerian film industry, FilmOne Entertainment MD Moses Babatope said NITV had been instrumental to key business relationships. “This seemingly local event has had global impact and we hope it continues to inspire people in the film business.”

He shed more light on some of the misconceptions people have about the film industry in an effort to let people rethink their positions about film across the value chain. These misconceptions include the suggestion that there is a monetary charge for film reviews; that producers, distributors and exhibitors are one and the same. He also said many people still don’t really understand what distributors do.

Clearing up these misconceptions, Babatope stated distributors like FilmOne’s activities range from forging relationships and ensuring cinemas get to release films, to engaging in marketing strategies as well as working with producers. Babatope added that films are selected for distribution based on censorship, cast, genre, release period, advertising and publicity.

On the issue of the existence of a so-called ‘film cabal’ – an inner circle of powerful industry execs – he said: “One thing often overlooked is that the majority of the chart-toppers are collaborators, especially from their first feature projects.”

Babatope added that the industry should ensure Nigeria’s cinemas grow and pay TV platforms thrive.

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NITV puts focus on France/Nigeria trade

L-R: Juliette Vivier, Ijeoma Onah and Tatiana Moussali

Strategies for increasing trade and business opportunities between Nigeria and France were the topic of a lively panel at the Nigerian International TV (NITV) Summit this week.

NITV founder Ijeoma Onah said that since the inception of the Summit in 2018, there have been plenty of collaborations between French and Nigerian companies that have helped shaped the narrative that language is no longer a barrier in the film and TV business.

Francis Nebot, CEO of IFind Pictures; Benjamin Budd, business development manager at Vivendi Africa; Olivier Pascal, CEO of L’Académie Franco-Anglophone des Arts Audiovisuels & Cinéma; Denis Ponac, CEO of Summview; Juliette Vivier, international director at Hiventy Group; and Tatiana Moussali, CEO of WE Entertainment were all on hand to discuss how French companies have invested in Nigeria in order to strengthen their relationship via better collaborations.

Budd talked about the business of France-based Vivendi in Africa and how the Canal+ owner has impacted the film industry by establishing a theatre in Abuja, opening the first Anglophone venue in Nigeria, while the venue in Lagos is still under construction. He added that Vivendi is looking to “develop its footprint” in the Nigerian market.

He also mentioned the function of the company’s African cinema subsidiary Canal Olympia, which is to promote African cinema in Nigeria. As an example, he highlighted Oge Obasi-produced feature film Juju Stories, which will be released by Canal Olympia in 12 West African countries.

IFind’s Nebot, a distributor of Nollywood and French-language African films, said: “It was quite a challenge getting a market to like African content and accept. Even dubbing the content to their standard so the African accent won’t be noticeable was hard.”

Hiventy’s Vivier said her company is already working with Nigerian partners and is taking the business model out globally. “We are the first technology partner for Netflix in Nigeria. You should think about your content when coproducing, and it should be produced in a way that addresses a global audience.”

Onah added: “Disruption is here and it changes the traditional way of doing things. The digital era is here to stay and there is an opportunity that needs to be tapped, but we need to pay attention.”

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Gulder Ultimate Search contestants unveiled

Gulder Ultimate Search begins on October 16

The contestants who will take part in this year’s edition of Nigerian reality show Gulder Ultimate Search have been revealed after being selected from 20,000 applicants from across the country.

The 16 contestants taking part in the jungle-set show are: Adewale Adedamola Thompson, Chidinma Okeibe, Damilola Odedina, Emmanuel Nnebe, Estima Edem, Gerald Odeka, Tosin Eniola, Umorean Iniabasi, Jennifer Okorie, Mfom Mikel Essien, Tubuchukwu, Olayinka Omeya, Omokhafe Racheal, Solomon Yankari, Opeyemi Ishmael and Orevapghene Godswill.

Meanwhile, Samson Abah, Odudu Otu, Shalom Omoikhudu and Osasere Ogbanile are the remaining ‘wild card’ contestants who are also fighting for a spot, but only two of them will be chosen from votes, according to the organisers.

“Meet the 16 Gulder Ultimate Search contestants. Who would be worthy to join them? The power is in your hands, vote for your wild card,” the organisers wrote on Instagram.

This year’s show, themed The Age of Craftsmanship, will be hosted by Nollywood actor Gideon Okeke, while 2010 winner and actor Kunle Remi will assume the role of the Taskmaster.

The contestants will battle to outwit each other in the harsh terrain of the jungle in which they are camped while searching for a hidden artefact that decides the last contestant standing, thereby winning the ₦50m (US$122,000) grand prize.

The Gulder Ultimate Search series was created in 2004 and has run for 11 seasons, while a celebrity edition aired in 2010. The show is sponsored by Nigerian Breweries beer brand Gulder.

The show airs from October 16 to December 19 on channels including Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Urban and Africa Magic Family, all part of the MultiChoice group of channels.

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Nigerian animators eye int’l partnerships

L-R: Ferdy Adimefe, moderator Ray Anyasi, Tolu Olowofoyeku and Dayo Clement

Nigerian animation executives from companies including Ultricle Studios and Kugali Media are hopeful the industry can improve its ability to attract international partners.

During a panel session at Lagos Comic Con last weekend, Kugali co-founder Tolu Olowofoyeku said he was not satisfied with the low number of partnerships African animation studios have with the wider international industry.

“There is really no one to blame; it’s a work in progress. It is a function of the Nigerian state, and certain things are just too difficult to do in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on the same panel, Dayo Clement of Ultricle Studios said that even though his company had tried working with international companies, low standards remain an issue in the local industry. As more African studios emerge and international bodies see that they have consistently delivered good content, this will open the door to collaboration, he said.

Elsewhere, Ferdy Adimefe, founder of Magic Carpet Studios, warned that while his company had had discussions about partnerships and coproductions, “we cannot get ahead if international bodies tell our stories through their own eyes.”

“We defined our ideology and are into authentic African stories. Animation is a calling and we help people find their identity, so quality cannot be compromised,” said Adimefe, adding that bilateral trade agreements could aid coproduction.

Similarly, Clement said Ultricle’s selling point was offering stories from an African perspective, telling unique stories beyond what Western companies can offer. He also echoed Clement’s point about standards.

Discussing local collaboration between African animation companies. Olowofoyeku said legal agreements should be in place from the outset. Some of the challenges as noted by Adimefe include lack of capacity, lack of training at universities for people to upskill in animation and also lack of financial support.

The panelists all agreed that animation is an export and therefore African animation studios need help from international partners with both production and distribution.

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DStv Internet launches in SA

Pay TV company MultiChoice has launched internet service provider DStv Internet in South Africa

Nyiko Shiburi

The Naspers-owned company said the move aligned with its aim to add more value to customers by providing internet to those who do not have access to fibre services.

Nyiko Shiburi, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa, said: “Customer experience is at the forefront of MultiChoice’s continued product innovation. DStv Internet provides South Africans with connectivity for all their household internet requirements, giving them more convenience and choice.”

In related news, MultiChoice has partnered with mobile communications operator MTN to enhance access to digital services in South Africa.

Quintus De Beer, executive for managed network services at MTN South Africa, said: “We are proud to partner with MultiChoice. As a network wholesale provider, we are gearing up to serve the broader digital ecosystem to ensure more people can benefit from a modern and connected life.”

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DStv among SA’s most valuable brands

Pay TV operator DStv has been ranked as South Africa’s eighth most valuable brand in the recently published Kantar BrandZ 2021 report.

Jabavu Heshu

DStv has moved up two positions from its 2020 placement and is the only brand in the media and entertainment category in the top 10. It is valued at US$1.25bn, accounting for 4.3% of the top 10’s total value of US$18.7bn.

Above DStv in the South African rankings published by analyst and research firm Kantar were First National Bank in the top spot, followed by telco Vodacom, beer brand Castle, Standard Bank, telco MTN, fast food chain Nando’s and insurance firm Discovery. Below DStv were banking firm Absa in 9th and retailer Woolworth in 10th.

Jabavu Heshu, group executive for corporate affairs at DStv parent company MultiChoice Group, said: “We remain committed to placing the customer at the centre of everything we do – and the improvement in our place from 2020’s ranking shows that our strategy is working and that we continue to grow in an immensely difficult economic climate.

“Growth in such a challenging time and the entrenchment of DStv as a brand that is held in high esteem by South Africans can be attributed to the dedication employees have in seeing the brand soaring to new heights as well as the work that is put in daily.”

Experience, Function, Convenience and Exposure are the four brand-building fundamentals that drive consumer demand, according to Kantar.

Ivan Moroke, CEO of Kantar South Africa, said: “Three major factors are currently contributing to brand growth in South Africa: getting the fundamentals right, solving the value equation, and building a unique differentiation.

“The report highlights how value goes beyond the price point; money is not the only currency in the value equation. Given our hectic lives and often lengthy commutes on public transport, South Africans increasingly value things like trust and convenience.”

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MultiChoice unveils MTF class of 2022

African broadcaster MultiChoice has revealed the 60 new students selected to be part of the third cohort of its 12-month fully-funded academic programme slated to begin next month.

The 60 aspiring filmmakers were chosen after a six-week selection process across 13 African countries and will now will proceed to the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academy hubs in Nairobi, Lagos and Lusaka.

Representing East Africa are Kalkidan Fessehaye (Ethiopia), Nahusenay Dereje (Ethiopia), Ritha Saxon (Tanzania), Christopher Masalu (Tanzania), Raimon Sanga (Tanzania), Kenneth Msanjila (Tanzania), Doreen Kilimbe (Tanzania), Audrey Egesa (Kenya), Bruno Tanya (Kenya), Cesylia Oketch (Kenya), Clerick Werimo (Kenya), Desmond Okeyo (Kenya), Josh Artkins (Kenya), Mary Njoroge (Kenya), Patrick Odongo (Kenya), Yvonne Wambua (Kenya), Nassanga Ann (Uganda), Justine Nabunya (Uganda), Phillip Sentamu (Uganda) and Tusabe Ivan (Uganda).

Representing Southern Africa are David Paulo Sapalo (Angola), Fabiana Alexandra da Barros (Angola), Larona Dichaba (Botswana), Refilwe Kathleen Onana Podi (Botswana), Asante Mbaimbai (Malawi), Chisomo Kawaga (Malawi), Nelson Omar Faquirà (Mozambique), Silvana Pombal (Mozambique), Jerome Claasen (Namibia), Jose Carlos Panduleni Amutenya (Namibia), Lucia Kim Hamunghete (Namibia), Amos Mwape (Zambia), Blessings Mainga (Zambia), Canicius Kabwe (Zambia), Catherine Zulu (Zambia), Daniel Lungu (Zambia), David Senkwe (Zambia), Victor Lushinjilo Kasanga (Zambia), Chimwemwe Chipidza (Zimbabwe) and Yvonne F Feresu (Zimbabwe).

Representing West Africa from Nigeria are Andrea Peregrino, Abimbola Akinrinbola, Ayo Lawson, Emmanuella Bakare, Doris Nwoye, Favour Eniayekan, Ibrahim Mamman, Murewa Ayodele, Oluwatoyosi Fowode, Omowonuola Giwa, Plangnan Amtu, Samuel Ishola, Temitope Mariam Odo, Teniola Oyelumade, Wapah Kelechi Ezeigwe and Tosin Alabi. Alice Johnson, Emmanuel Horla Nuvor, Kwame Addae and Nubuke Amoah represent West Africa from Ghana.

MTF’s partnership with the New York Film Academy will enable the new cohorts to learn how to produce micro documentaries, public service announcements, TV commercials and music videos, broadening their skillset and allowing them to be economically active in the film industry and in other sectors, according to MultiChoice.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice, said: “As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, our commitment is not only to tell authentic African stories but to also invest in them. That is why some of our alumni are working on M-Net and Showmax productions.

“Currently, we have alumni in seven countries working on M-Net and Showmax productions, and the list keeps growing. They are helping us to realise the vision of taking African stories to the world with a hyperlocal approach, producing relevant content within the respective regions of our continent, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all strategy.”

According to MultiChoice Africa, the course qualification will be conferred on the students upon completion of the academy programme by its partner institutions – the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, Kenyatta University in Nairobi and the University of Zambia in Lusaka. They will also be offered an orientation intervention at the beginning and end of the programme and entrepreneurial workshops on business for creatives by the Henley Business School.

The MTF has honed the skills of 120 emerging filmmakers in 13 countries across the continent, who are now part of the growing MTF alumni network.

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NITV Summit to take place in Lagos

The next Nigerian International TV (NITV) Summit is scheduled to be held from September 28 to 30 in Lagos.

This year’s hybrid edition will mix in-person sessions with virtual content,  under the theme ‘Digital Consumption, Distribution & Disruption: Implications for Film & TV Content Business in Nigeria & for Sub-Saharan Africa.’

It will address the challenges, solutions and opportunities particular to the next generation of filmmakers, said the organisers.

In conjunction with the Emerging Cinema Market Africa event, there will also be a session that will look at the significant challenges and uncertainty that have arisen due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on Africa and the Nigerian film and cinema industry, aka Nollywood.

There will be special screenings in partnership with EbonyLIfe CEO Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Place, aimed at bringing next-generation, upcoming and established Nigerian producers to the fore in terms of distribution and reach locally and internationally. The screenings will focus on the following categories: new movies seeking cinema distribution; new movies seeking TV, VoD and ancillary distribution; new drama series seeking TV, VoD and ancillary distribution; documentaries; and short movies.

Speakers include Joy Odiete, CEO of Blue Pictures Distribution, and Todimu Adegoke from the Next Gen Young Nigerian Producers organisation.

The NITV Summit provides a platform to examine issues related to the business of film in Nigeria as it relates to Hollywood distribution in the country and Nollywood’s international appeal.

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SANParks unveils reality TV show

Rami Chuene and Romeo Mabasa front Away for Repair

South African National Parks (SANParks) is set to launch a reality TV series called Away for Repair.

The 13-week series will feature four South African couples who are experiencing relationship difficulties. It will air on Thursdays from October 7 at 21.30 on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161.

The couples will be guided by their hosts – South African actor Rami Chuene and motivational speaker and life coach Romeo Mabasa – as they travel into the wilderness to work on defining who they are personally and in their relationships, with the hope of inspiring a different outlook with their partners.

They will also explore Southern Africa’s first ancient African Kingdom, in the Mapungubwe National Park, the coastline of the Tsitsikamma National Park and the iconic Kruger National Park.

The winning team will receive an all-expenses-paid weekend stay at the spectacular newly built Skukuza Safari Lodge situated in Kruger National Park, while yjr runners-up will receive an all-expenses-paid weekend experience at Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

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Lionsgate eyes African opportunities

Africa and the Middle East will soon become as important to distributors as North America and Europe, according to Lionsgate’s senior VP of international TV coproductions and acquisitions.

Marc Lorber

Speaking at the Series Mania conference in Lille, France this week, Marc Lorber highlighted the US-Canadian media company’s work all over the world but added that the two areas were of particular interest to Lionsgate.

“We need to be looking at all emerging territories,” he said, “and the Middle East and Africa are part of that now.

With regards to sub-Saharan Africa, he added: “Most of the money is in Nigeria and South Africa, but Ethiopia is also there as the second largest country. We’ve got key partners in South Africa like pay TV broadcaster M-Net and national broadcaster SABC, with a view to coproducing.”

As for the Middle East, he said: “It’s difficult because they’re singular countries and there are more of them than in the EU. Egypt is still the main production engine in the Middle East but a lot of the money has moved to Qatar in recent years.

“Our company Starz is starting to produce local originals in North Africa and the Middle East for our joint-venture streaming platform StarzPlay. Netflix is also producing there, while Amazon is developing projects there also.”

Lorber also said the regions were becoming more open to content featuring issues such as crime, and that it was a question of understanding and respecting the culture of the authorities and script checkers.

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