Tag Archives: Canal+

Canal+ gets Saudi league in France, Africa

A host of high-profile footballers and managers have joined Saudi clubs in recent months

French pay TV outfit Canal+ Group has secured the rights to broadcast Saudi Pro League football in France and across Africa for the next two seasons.

Starting with the 2023/24 season, which kicks off this weekend, Canal+ will present two matches per week in the French regions and African territories on its Canal+ sports channels, myCanal platform and social media networks.

Thomas Sénécal, director of sports at Canal+ Group, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this brand new soccer league exclusively to Canal+ subscribers. The Saudi Pro League brings together a line-up of prestigious players that we’ll be able to see every week on our channels and in our programmes such as Canal Football Club.

“We’re looking forward to following some of the world’s biggest star –  Ballon d’Or winners Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, World Cup champion N’Golo Kanté and Sadio Mané – in this fast-developing league.”

With this addition, the Saudi league joins the expansive Canal+ football portfolio, which already includes significant competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, D1 Arkema and Ligue 1.

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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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Writer Olisakwe talks up Agoodjie

One of the three Nigerian writers working on the recently announced African drama Agoodjie from France’s Canal+ has commented on the project, which tells the true story of an army of female warriors in 19th century Africa.

Ukamaka Olisakwe

Content Nigeria recently reported that Ukamaka Olisakwe is one of three Nigerian scribes working on the 8×52’ drama, alongside Jude Idada and Adachioma Ezeano.

Created by Didier Lacoste (Guyane, L’Ecole du Pouvoir, Spin) and Joy Fleury (Tristesse et Beauté, La Fête des Pères), the series will focus on the Agoodjies of Dahomey, an elite corps of 4,000 female warriors who, in the late 1880s, took on the most powerful French army of the time in a bloody four-year war.

Taking to her Instagram page, Olisakwe told of the impact the writing job has had on her career. “So thrilled to finally share this amazing news with you. I am co-writing an epic series for StudioCanal and Canal+. It is a story of love, loss, revenge and justice,” she said.

“My eternal gratitude to the incredible and brilliant creators, Didier Lacoste and Joy Fleury, who read my body of work and made me a part of the family in 2020. You changed my life. And it’s an honour to be writing this with my sister Adachioma Ezeano and Jude Idada! I can’t wait for you all to see the magic.”

The drama weaves together the stories of a young female villager destined for great things and the once-wealthy kingdom of Dahomey, now part of Benin. The series will be filmed in English in locations across South Africa, Nigeria and Benin.

Nathalie Folloroux, senior VP of Canal+ Channels at Canal+ International, said the French company “was immediately conquered by the project held by Joy Fleury and Didier Lacoste, given its authentic rooting in Africa. The project reflects the banner’s investment in African production, and its dedication to promoting African culture, legends and heroes.”

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SA’s Noodle & Bun heads to France

Non-verbal animated series Noodle & Bun
Canal+ in France has picked up seasons one and two of South African animated children’s series Noodle & Bun.

Produced by South Africa’s Polycat, Noodle & Bun is a 3D non-verbal animation aimed at 6-12s. It follows the adventures of a wobbly cat who causes trouble, a pug who whimpers in the face of danger and a little mouse who holds the peculiar group together.

Canal+ is the first broadcaster to acquire S2, which has just gone into production following the completion of S1.

The first run of Noodle & Bun has also been picked up by YLE in Finland, Filmin’s SVoD service in Spain and Portugal, Megogo in Ukraine, children’s streamer Kidoodle and airlines Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Aegean.

The series, which comprises five-minute episodes, already has a big presence on social media, with 7.1 million followers.

Dublin-based Monster Entertainment distributes Noodle & Bun internationally.

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Canal+ takes FightBox to Ethiopia

International pay TV player SPI/FilmBox has partnered with France-based pay TV operator Canal+ to launch its sports entertainment service FightBox in Ethiopia.

Alexandre Gruner

FightBox will join the Canal+ platform to be broadcast in English and will be made available to subscribers in the basic package. It will feature combat sports, live events and multi-discipline mixed martial arts (MMA) coverage, including Fight Exclusive Night, Cage Fury Fighting Championship, King of Kings Hero’s World Series, Makowski Fighting Championship, Superkombat and Oktagon.

Georgina Twiss, MD for Western Europe and Africa at SPI, said: “I am very happy to be supporting Canal+ Group in this new adventure. We have a strong partnership across many territories and it’s always great to be there at the start of a new platform launch. MMA enthusiasts in Ethiopia can now tune in to some of the most exciting combat sports live events on FightBox with Canal+ and feel the rush of the ring from the comfort of their own homes.”

“Our new Canal+ Ethiopia offer combines quality and diversity through popular thematic channels and varied contents. In this context, we are very pleased to bring to the new Ethiopian subscribers FightBox, which perfectly meets their expectations. This unique fight combat sports channel will offer them great moments,” added Alexandre Gruner, senior VP of channels, acquisitions and partnerships at Canal+ International.

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Showmax, Canal+ link for SA drama

Spinners was co-created by Joachim Landau, who also produces

African streamer Showmax and France’s Canal+ are coproducing an action-drama series set in South Africa called Spinners.

Filming on the series, produced by Empreinte Digitale and coproduced by Ramadan Suleman’s South African outfit Natives at Large, has commenced in Cape Town.

The narrative of Spinners (8×50’) revolves around the popular and dangerous South African motor sport spinning, which sees cars driven at high speed with drivers performing stunts in and out of the vehicle.

The series centres on a 17-year-old driver working for a local gang. Trying to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted with this life and constantly on the edge, he discovers a possible way out via spinning.

Spinners is produced and co-created by Empreinte Digitale’s MD Joachim Landau, with the company’s co-founder Raphaël Rocher also producing.

Jaco Bouwer is directing, while series co-creator Benjamin Hoffman is showrunner. Writing the series are Matthew Jankes, Sean Steinberg, Gillian Breslin, Daniel Zimbler, Byron Abrahams and Zoë Laband.

StudioCanal is handling international distribution.

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IrokoTV revisits LSE listing plan

Nigeria-based Nollywood streaming company Iroko TV plans to go public by listing on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the next 12 months to raise between US$20m and US$30m.

Jason Njoku

According to the company, the move will put Iroko TV on the select list of African companies that have listed outside their primary market. It would also help Iroko get diaspora subscribers as well as give the company a valuation of up to US$100m.

The AIM listing will also draw attention to Iroko TV products and services, increase its brand recognition and improve its business overall, the company said. The move comes after Iroko dropped a plan to float on AIM back in 2019 and instead sold its production studio, ROK, to Canal+ for an undisclosed sum.

Iroko TV’s CEO, Jason Njoku, told TechCrunch: “I believe the time is right to take the company public and shore up its finances. US$10m to US$15m would be for corporate development, the rest will be secondaries for shareholders. As a private company, Iroko’s valuation was never priced above US$70m.

“We exited ROK for close to the total amount of capital we raised for Iroko; we have returned US$11m to early investors and shareholders already. We still have material capital left from the ROK-Canal+ acquisition coming in every six months until 2023.”

The company increased its annual subscription from US$25 to US$60 for its diaspora subscribers in 2020 and saw no negative impact on the number of international subscribers. Customers gained from the diaspora suggests demand for African content is high among West Africans abroad, which has led the company to direct its focus towards gaining more customers internationally.

“This is more profitable for the company because the revenue is less impacted by the instability and constant devaluation suffered by the Naira. An international subscriber base is much more sustainable,” Njoku added.

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Showmax, Canal+ coproduce crime drama

Alfred Munyua and Sarah Hassan

MultiChoice VoD service Showmax and France-based pay TV operator Canal+ have begun production on a gritty police procedural and legal show titled Crime & Justice.

The show is being directed and produced by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff (All The Little Things We Kill) and is set in Nairobi. It follows criminal cases through to the courtroom verdict and stars Sarah Hassan (How to Find a Husband) and Alfred Munyua (The First Grader, Sense8) playing detectives.

The show marks Showmax’s first original Kenyan series.

Munyua said the delivery and realness of his character attracted him to the show. “It’s not exaggerated and he’s no Rambo hero, he just tackles his cases the normal way. I found a very real edge with this script,” he added.

Hassan will play a detective for the first time and said: “This is a very different character; I’ve never played anything like it before. It’s very exciting to get a character that makes me grow as an actor.”

Other stars include Maqbul Mohammed, Paul Ogola and Brian Ogola. Muhugu Theuri, Brian Abajah, Martin Githinji and Justin Mirichii will guest star.

The production team consists of Neutzsky-Wulff and a Kenyan crew, including coproducer Maureen Wanjiku (Subira, East Africa’s Got Talent) as well as stage and screen icon John Sibi-Okumu.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice, said: “We believe in African talent and look forward to shining the international spotlight on not only Kenyan stars but the Kenyan technical industry’s capabilities. We believe that streaming video is a powerful way to deliver these shared stories. This is one of many more Showmax originals we have in the pipeline across Africa.

“We are fundamentally an African business and are invested in telling African stories that reflect the lives, languages and cultures of the continent.”

Canal+ will distribute Crime & Justice to its French-speaking territories and is also committed to entertainment in Africa.

Fabrice Faux, chief content officer of Canal+ International, said: “As part of our strategy of providing our subscribers with the best original content from the continent, we are proud to partner with Showmax.”

Crime & Justice is set to come to Showmax and Canal+ in 2021 and is MultiChoice’s second copro with the French company after Blood Psalms, due to air this year.

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African TV subs set to rise to 57 million

The number of pay TV subscriptions in Africa is set to climb from 39 million in 2021 to 57 million by 2027, according to newly released projections from UK analysis firm Digital TV Research.

However, while the number of subscribers is predicted to grow by 46%, the revenues derived from those subscriptions will rise by only 35%, due to the fact Africa’s three dominant pay TV providers – Multichoice, StarTimes and Canal+ – will reduce their prices as they tussle for supremacy in the region.

According to Digital TV Research, pay TV revenues in Africa will climb to US$6.46bn in 2027, up from US$4.78bn in 2021.

By 2027, South African broadcaster and pay TV provider Multichoice will have 20.8 million subscribers across its DStv and GOtv platforms, said the research firm. Meanwhile, Chinese media company StarTimes, which has a significant presence across sub-Saharan Africa, will grow to 18.4 million, and Vivendi-owned French company Canal+ will climb to 11.2 million subs.

“Few new players are expected. Instead, the three protagonists will battle for supremacy – often by cutting prices,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.

While the pay TV sector in Africa is set to grow significantly over the next five years, data from Digital TV Research indicates that OTT will grow at a much faster rate. A report released last year suggested revenue from movies and TV series on OTT platforms in Africa will reach US$1.7bn by 2026, compared with US$392m in 2020. Around US$1.5bn will come from SVoD platforms, said Digital TV Research.

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UNESCO hails Africa’s $20bn potential

The film and audiovisual industry in Africa has the potential to create over 20 million jobs and generate US$20bn in revenues per year, a new report claims.

The report, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), was conducted between November 2020 and May 2021. It forms part of UNESCO’s commitment to the diversity of cultural expression and to help develop dynamic cultural and creative industries (CCIs) on the continent.

Titled The African Film Industry: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Growth, the report maps the film and audiovisual industry in the 54 states of the African continent, analyses their strengths and weaknesses and offers recommendations for action at the continental, regional and national levels.

The report states: “The economic potential of the film and audiovisual sectors remains largely untapped and is historically and structurally underfunded, underdeveloped and undervalued, generating only US$5bn in annual revenue out of a potential US$20bn, according to the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers.”

Even though cinemas closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, from an infrastructure perspective, the distribution sector underwent profound changes.

“Before the pandemic, new French investments in francophone West Africa, Morocco and Tunisia were expected to triple the number of screens in the region by 2024. Most impressively, Nigeria emerged as a true success story, showing a 200% increase in cinema locations between 2015 and 2020, with the total number of Digital Cinema Initiative-compliant screens reaching 237 in 2020. Home-grown Nollywood films now rival Hollywood blockbusters at the box office.”

Thanks to digital technologies, production has been growing rapidly in Africa in recent years. The broadcast industry is now almost fully liberalised, with over 1,000 private television channels operating across the continent.

This follows the opening up of some of the last markets, such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire, and the gradual transitioning process from analogue broadcasting to digital terrestrial television.

There is now growth in pay TV, dominated by South Africa’s MultiChoice (with 20.1 million subscribers), China’s StarTimes (7.8 million) and France’s Canal+ (six million).

Technology has given rise to affordable digital film equipment and the ability to distribute and monetise content directly to consumers via online platforms, ranging from YouTube, other social media and Netflix to local mobile video services. This has led to a new economy for African content creators which bypasses traditional gatekeepers.

The report states there are positive signs that countries across the continent are waking up to the potential of their creative industries, and more specifically of film and television.

Moreover, in this tumultuous period, it is becoming increasingly urgent for African governments to establish strong national, regional and continental strategies to take control of their fast-growing creative sectors.

The report highlights four potential blueprints for growth, namely the Nollywood model, the Auteur model, the Service model and the Festival model.

“Particular attention must be paid to addressing current industry trends and challenges in an informed and collective manner. Only in this way can states ensure that their past, present and future creative products are protected, preserved and developed, and that their cultural and commercial value benefits Africa and contributes to its global outreach,” it adds.

The African VoD sector is also growing rapidly, with subscriptions poised to balloon from 3.9 million in 2020 to 13 million in 2025, according to UK-based analyst Digital TV Research.

“Netflix now has about two million subscribers across the continent, while the South African Showmax has some 688,000 direct subscribers. In North Africa (and the Middle East), StarzPlay is another strong contender, with 1.8 million subscribers across the Arab region,” says the UNESCO report.

“In Côte d’Ivoire, VoD services have developed spectacularly recently thanks to the deployment of more than 5,000 kilometers of optical fibre in the territory. Most local operators, such as RTI and mobile operators Orange, MTN and Moov Africa, have also launched their own VoD services.”

It adds that the Nigerian film industry employs over a million people directly or indirectly, having produced some 2,599 films in 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, making it the world’s second largest film industry in terms of output after Bollywood and ahead of Hollywood.

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Canal+ ups stake in MultiChoice

French broadcasting giant Canal+ Group has increased its stake in African pay TV company MultiChoice to 6.5%.

Shares in the South Africa-based company, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), spiked upon the news during Monday morning trading and were reportedly up 8.2% at R110.84 apiece at 10.39 today.

MultiChoice said: “Groupe Canal+ became shareholders in MultiChoice Group in April this year. We received notification that their shareholding has now increased to 6.5%, thereby exceeding the 5% threshold that requires us to inform our shareholders through the JSE, as well as the takeover regulation panel.

“We remain committed to acting in the best interests of all our shareholders and to create sustainable long-term value for them. As a publicly held company, MultiChoice regularly engages with its strategic partners and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community. The group’s policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders nor on its interactions with them.”

Canal+ Group is owned and controlled by French conglomerate Vivendi. As well as producing film and TV content, it has a significant pay television business and a film library of more than 5,000 titles. It is headquartered in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris.

MultiChoice is backed by African internet company Naspers. The pay TV firm already partners with Canal+ on programming initiatives, such as the recently announced 10-episode South African drama series Blood Psalms.

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AUB, Canal+ fight against TV signal piracy

Officials from the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) and French broadcasting giant Canal+ met in Dakar this month ahead of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations to discuss television signal piracy and how it threatens intellectual property rights.

Grégoire Ndjaka

The meeting was aimed at ensuring technical and legal measures were put in place to secure the signals of African channels, whose governments spend huge sums of money to acquire the rights to sporting competitions.

Both parties also spoke out on the issue of broadcasting rights, since TV channels depend on the advertising market during major competitions.

The AUB said that during the African Nations Championship, held in Cameroon in January and February, several of the 32 games delivered were screened illegally.

Grégoire Ndjaka, CEO of the AUB, said: “Our permanent concern is the protection of TV signal. The fight ought to be carried at all levels. Are you allowed to screen the match? If yes, there is no problem. Secure your signal. But if you don’t have a broadcast contract, should you be allowed to operate illegally while others are paying? That’s the problem.”

From a technical point of view, Alexandre Gruner, director of channel relations and partnerships at Canal+, said: “If we have compelling evidence and take note of any illegal activity on the Canal+ bouquet concerning the Africa Cup of Nations or the FWC, be rest assured, we will suspend your signal.”

Sebastien Punturello, managing director of Canal+ Senegal, added: “I spend at least 20-30% of my time fighting signal piracy. For several years, we have actively led the battle thanks to the support of local authorities, our relations, various ministries –culture, communication and justice – as well as [Senegal’s] National Audiovisual Regulatory Council.

“Almost everywhere on the continent, television signal piracy is developing using handcraft techniques, helped by [technology companies] and other rival groups whose audience rates sometimes compete with those of Canal+ whereas they haven’t acquired the right to broadcast in certain territories in sub-Saharan Africa”.

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Canal+ renews La Liga deal

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is among La Liga’s biggest stars (photo: L F Sala via CC)

France-based pay TV operator Canal+ has renewed its sub-Saharan African broadcasting rights deal with Spanish top-flight football division La Liga.

The broadcaster – which also holds rights to the UEFA Champions League, France’s Ligue 1, the English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A in the region – will continue to offer La Liga coverage to its customers in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius via the four-season renewal.

Melcior Soler, director of the La Liga audiovisual department, said: “We are pleased to bring French-speaking fans of La Liga another exciting way to discover the competition in sub-Saharan Africa, while extending our successful partnership with Canal+. These are important steps to continuing our global growth together with a historic partner that has broadcast our games in this territory for years.”

Jacques du Puy, sresident of Canal+ International, added: “We are very happy to welcome La Liga for four new seasons, one of the championships most appreciated by our African subscribers and which completes our incomparable offer in terms of international football.”

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MultiChoice, Canal+ link for African drama

Blood Psalms will premiere in 2021

South Africa’s MultiChoice Group and France-based pay TV operator Canal+ are coproducing a 10-episode South African drama series.

Blood Psalms is based on a pre-colonial Xhosa legend and will debut next year on MultiChoice streaming service Showmax and Canal+’s African OTT platform MyCanal.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces of South Africa, Blood Psalms tells the story of a teenage African queen who battles a world-ending prophecy to guide her people through injustice and war.

Produced by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka, co-owners of South African prodco Yellowbone Entertainment (Knuckle City), the series stars local actors including Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Andile Nebulane, Awethu Hleli, Ayanda Daweti, Ayanda Makayi and Bokang Phelane.

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video, said: “This massive coproduction highlights Showmax’s commitment to a dynamic approach to superior-quality content. The partnership with Canal+ also creates an environment that is ripe for invaluable skills exchange between the South African and French production teams.”

Fabrice Faux, chief content officer at Canal+ International, added: “This African story, inspired by a Xhosa legend, will carry our viewers into mythological and epic adventures. With an outstanding directing and production team and a talented cast, Blood Psalms promises to be a big phenomenon that will resonate in all of Africa and internationally.”

Swart said: “Every one of the actors selected brings their own unique ability to authentically translate this magical epic on to screen. The goal, for us, is to ensure that the golden thread of Africa’s stunning history really shines. The story of Blood Psalms not only entertains, but also contributes to the preservation of African culture and languages as authentically told by Africans, to be enjoyed by the world.”

The production was made possible by several key partners, including South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, MultiChoice flagship channel M-Net, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund, which supports South African entrepreneurs.

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Canal+, Bboxx roll out TV access in Africa

International pay TV company Canal+ has partnered with solar energy firm Bboxx to provide Africans with greater access to TV news and entertainment.

Mansoor Hamayun

Through the partnership, underserved African households in rural, peri-urban and urban communities that are living off-grid or without a reliable grid connection will have access to electricity and to TV content via a bundled offer.

According to Bboxx, the deal will provide access to more than 100 channels and radio stations, such as A+, France 24 and Trace Africa, added to a selection of local channels, at an affordable price.

This is the first time Canal+ has adapted its business to the pay-as-you-go model used by Bboxx’s energy technology. The intention is to make the service more affordable and accessible to underserved communities.

Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and co-founder of Bboxx, said: “During Covid-19, Bboxx has been experiencing strong demand for energy – an essential need. Alongside this, the pandemic has meant more people are staying at home than ever before. Having access to news and entertainment to stay informed on current affairs while keeping entertained has never been so important.”

David Mignot, CEO for Africa at Canal+, added: “We are delighted to partner with an established next-generation utility like Bboxx to extend our footprint to new customers and make television accessible to the greatest number of people by removing the barrier of access to electricity.”

Bboxx and Canal+ services will be accessible by several hundred thousand people in the next few years, and the roll-out in Africa will begin in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo.

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Canal+ preps Ethiopian DTH platform

French pay TV operator Canal+ is set to launch Ethiopia’s first premium direct-to-home platform at the beginning of 2021.

Jacques du Puy

The service will offer more than 50 premium channels in a mixture of standard and high definition, and a selection of Ethiopia’s free-to-air channels. It is being launched in partnership with satellite operator Eutelsat.

Jacques du Puy, chairman of Canal+ International, said: “We are delighted to launch our DTH pay TV offer in Ethiopia, relying on the experience of our trusted partner, Eutelsat, in this market.

“Our new platform, the first such offer in the Ethiopian market, will contribute to the already rich and diverse video landscape in this dynamic market and support our commitment to providing high-quality, diverse programming in the African continent, where we are already present in 25 countries.”

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, added: “We are honoured to accompany our long-standing partner Canal+ as it extends its services to the Ethiopian broadcast market, which Eutelsat already knows well.

“This agreement highlights the appetite for high-quality and varied programming in this dynamic country, as well as throughout the broader African continent, which is the fastest-growing satellite broadcast market. It also confirms the relevance of our investments in selected incremental resources to tap growth pockets in emergent video markets.”

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Cartoon Network, TNT enter Rwanda

US giant WarnerMedia and France-based pay TV operator Canal+ have teamed up to launch Cartoon Network and TNT in Rwanda, with a Nigerian toon on the former’s launch slate.

Garbage Boy & Trash Can

The two channels will be made available to local subscribers to Canal+’s existing Les Bouquets Canal+ pay TV package.

As a result, Les Bouquets Canal+ subscribers will have access to Cartoon Network titles such as ThunderCats Roar, Teen Titans Go!, DC Superhero Girls and the Nigerian animated short Garbage Boy & Trash Can.

Garbage Boy & Trash Can is from Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood, and won Cartoon Network Africa’s Creative Lab competition in 2018.

The show tells the story of a garbage boy who believes he has superpowers he can use to fight for justice together with his trusty sidekick, a trash can.

Ridwan Moshood

TNT titles available include movies Apocalypto, Green Lantern, Batman Begins, Anaconda 3: Offspring and Million Dollar Baby.

Guillaume Coffin, VP and head of commercial and business development at Turner France, Africa and Israel, said: “WarnerMedia has been present in Africa for more than 20 years, operating six channels across the continent in 56 English-, French- and Portuguese-speaking countries.

“Launching TNT and Cartoon Network is an exciting expansion of our partnership with Canal+ Group in Africa. I am convinced that the tremendous success of these two channels in Africa, as well as their dedicated line-up of content and productions tailored for African viewers, will be welcomed by Canal+ subscribers in Rwanda.”

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GRB shows head to Africa

Broadcasters in Africa have acquired scripted and factual programming from US-based producer and distributor GRB Studios.

Sarah Coursey

Pan-African broadcaster MNet has picked up shows including scripted comedy Love That Girl, originally produced for TV One, and a package of holiday films such as A Christmas Blessing, You Can’t Fight Christmas and The Christmas Swap.

Elsewhere, A+E Networks has taken several seasons of On the Case for its channels in Africa, while Canal+ has taken celebrity-focused Stalker Files for French-speaking Africa. The latter tells the chilling tales behind celebrity stalking cases involving Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Steven Spielberg and others.

Other channels in Africa to have acquired programming from GRB Studios, in deals brokered by sales consultant Liz Levenson, include CBS Chello Zone, Blackstar TV and My Channel. Levenson will be speaking at DISCOP Johannesburg, which runs from November 20 to 22, and will be representing GRB at the event.

“GRB Studios has enjoyed a strong presence in Africa for many years and these deals represent some of our reach,” said Sarah Coursey, senior VP of international at GRB Studios. “The region is very important to GRB as we see major growth potential here.”

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Trace, Thema merge gospel nets

African music channel operator Trace has signed a deal with Paris-based channel distributor Thema to merge their two gospel-themed TV channels into one.

Olivier Laouchez

Trace Gospel will combine with Thema’s Gospel Music TV under the brand Trace Gospel, bringing together two catalogues and both companies’ expertise, operated by Trace.

The merger will see Trace Gospel promoting African gospel musicians by airing more genres of gospel music. The channel will also feature weekly playlists and gospel music events.

Trace Gospel is available on Canal+ packages in Africa as well as TNT EasyTV on channel 38.

Trace is owned by venture capital firm TPG Growth, which bought the company from Modern Times Group (MTG) earlier this year, while Thema is part of Canal+ International.

Speaking about the move, Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez said: “This partnership with Thema and Canal+ International was decided in order to offer a channel that brings even more satisfaction to gospel music fans.

“It’s a great pride and responsibility for Trace. We will bring to this channel all the means and all the expertise of the group in order to place it on the top of spiritual musical channels.”

Fabrice Faux

Thema CEO Fabrice Faux added: “Thema is proud to have developed Gospel Music TV to become the reference channel for this music dear to all Africans, on the continent and in France.

“I have no doubt that Trace, whose expertise in the musical field is unanimously recognised and which is a long-standing partner of Thema, will be able to take this channel even further and, thanks to this merger, double subscriber satisfaction.”

According to the companies, Trace Gospel is “the link between all cultures” and will broadcast “gospel artists from Africa, the Caribbean, the US, Europe and Latin America.”

Artists featured on the combined network will include Nathaniel Bassey, Mike Abdul, Jimmy Gait, Dena Mwana, Jermaine Edouards, J Prince, Hezekiah L. Walker, Kirk Franklin, Erica Campbell, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs, Olivier Cheuwa, Maggie Blanchard and Gabriela Rocha.”

With more than 200 million viewers across 160 countries, Trace is currently one of Africa’s leading music broadcasters. MTG’s sale of its 75% stake to TPG in January valued the company at €40m (US$46.7m).

Thema launched its first African TV channels package on the French market in 2008. Today, the company’s African package includes 24 channels. Thema is also creator of TV channels such as Novelas TV, Nollywood TV and Nollywood Epic.

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African pay TV subs set to hit 46m

The number of pay TV subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow to 45.63 million by 2024, according to the newly published Sub-Saharan Africa Pay TV Forecasts report.

This suggests Sub-Saharan Africa will add 16 million subscribers in the next six years, marking an increase of 61%. Pay TV revenues were forecast to reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.

Three big operators – MultiChoice, Vivendi/Canal+ and StarTimes – dominate the Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV market, with a combined 93% market share.

At the end of 2018, pay TV operator MultiChoice had over 14.34 million subscribers on its DStv and GOtv platforms and this figure is estimated to increase by five million by 2024.

France’s Vivendi had 4.01 million subs to its Canal+ satellite TV platform and Easy TV by the end of 2018, which will climb to 6.21 million by 2024, said the report. StarTimes had 7.75 million pay TV subscribers by the end of 2018 and it is estimated to reach 14.85 million by 2024.

According to Simon Murray, principal analyst at the report’s publisher, Digital TV Research: “Subscriber numbers will climb by 61% over this period, but pay TV revenues will rise by only 42% – indicating lower ARPUs. Pay TV revenues will reach US$7.72bn by 2024, up by US$2.3bn on 2018.”

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