Tag Archives: Crime & Justice

Canal+ ups its stake in MultiChoice

Blood Psalms

France’s Canal+ Group has increased its stake in African pay TV company MultiChoice Group to more than 26%, having almost doubled its interest in the company over the past year.

Canal+ has gradually upped its stake in the South African company behind the DStv and GOtv pay TV platforms since it first acquired a 6.5% interest in October 2020.

A year ago, the Paris-based broadcasting giant announced that it owned 15% stake in MultiChoice; this rose to 18.44% in June this year, then 20.12% a month later.

A statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this week revealed that Canal+ has further increased this to 26.26%. Canal+ is owned by Vivendi, a mass media holding company that also owns Gameloft, Havas and Prisma Media.

As required by South Africa’s Companies Act, MultiChoice has filed the required notice with the JSE’s Takeover Regulation Panel. If Canal+ acquires a 35% interest in MutliChoice, it would trigger a mandatory offer to shareholders.

However, whether or not Canal+ and Vivendi owner Vincent Bollore intends to make an offer to acquire MultiChoice, it would face some major hurdles, given South Africa’s tight restrictions over the foreign ownership of broadcasters.

“While the group regularly engages investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders, nor on its interactions with them,” said MultiChoice this week.

Canal+ and MultiChoice have worked together in recent years, coproducing shows such as the South African action-drama series Spinners (8×50’) and gritty Kenyan police procedural Crime & Justice, both made with MultiChoice’s streamer Showmax.

Showmax and Canal+’s African OTT platform MyCanal also coproduced 10-episode South African drama Blood Psalms, based on a pre-colonial Xhosa legend. Canal+ also operates Canal+ Afrique, an African version of Canal+ available mainly in the francophone countries of Central and West Africa.

MultiChoice is backed by African internet company Naspers.

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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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