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.
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.