MultiChoice-owned African pay TV channel MNet has launched a pop-up channel named AfroCinema in honour of Africa Day on May 25.
Aimed at celebrating African filmmakers, the channel is showcasing movies from all over the continent, from Angola to Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana and others.
AfroCinema is available to DStv subscribers from today until May 30. Movies on the channel include Sew the Winter to My Skin, Bed of Thorns, Payback, Promises, I Am Not a Witch, The Train of Salt & Sugar, Ensulo, Vaya, The Ghost & the House of Truth, Heritage Africa and Sylvia.
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s group CEO of general entertainment and connected video, said: “At its essence, Africa Day is about celebrating African unity and success as well as acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead. The pandemic has hit the film industry quite hard and African filmmakers were not spared.
“This Africa Day, we want to celebrate the talent and resilience of the continent’s film industry with the launch of this festival of African films where our audiences can enjoy AfroCinema from the comfort of their own homes.”
AfroCinema is available to stream via the DStv app and can be accessed on DStv 198.
MultiChoice-owned African pay TV channel MNet is planning to commission original Ugandan films for its channels.
This move is aimed at engaging Ugandan filmmakers and giving them the opportunity to expose their films to a wider African audience. Mbu.ug, an entertainment news website for Uganda and East Africa, reports that themes should focus on all facets of daily life.
Interested persons between ages 20 and 49 can submit films (up to 90 minutes long) with an engaging storyline in English and/or Luganda. Subtitles must be provided for any parts in Luganda.
There will be pitching sessions for shortlisted proposals before the final selection, after which the winning proposals will be notified. The deadline for submission of proposals and previous works done is March 15. To submit a proposal, click here.
Pay TV channel MNet has bagged the African broadcasting rights to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan’s exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The two-hour interview, titled CBS Presents Oprah With Meghan & Harry, will air in Africa on March 8 on Mnet, DStv channel 101, at 19.30, according to South African blog TV With Thinus.
In the show, Oscar winner Winfrey discusses a range of topics with Meghan including life as a royal, philanthropic work, marriage and handling pressure. Harry will also speak about their move to the US, future plans and dreams.
CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan & Harry is produced by Harpo Productions, executive produced by Terry Wood and Tara Montgomery as well as Brian Piotrowicz, co-executive producer.
Broadcasters in Africa have acquired scripted and factual programming from US-based producer and distributor GRB Studios.
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.”
African pay TV group MultiChoice’s flagship channel MNet has announced it will not be televising two of its own award shows this year.
The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) and DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (DMVCAs) will not be aired due to the inability to find sponsors to share the production costs that come with mounting the shows.
The AMVCAs, which started in 2013 to promote and recognise African TV and film productions from across West, East and Southern Africa, had its sixth edition in September 2018 in Lagos. The DMVCAs, which began in 2017 to promote and recognise South Africa’s entertainment industry, had its second edition in November 2018.
According to MultiChoice Africa, the AMVCAs might return in the future while the DMVCAs will take place some time in 2020.
“The AMVCAs requires huge funding to make happen, as well as an alignment between the production, competition and commercial teams, as well as staging it in Nigeria, where there are limited venues capable of a production of this scale,” MultiChoice said.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has held the fifth edition of its annual Digital Dialogue Conference in Dubai.
The four-day conference saw media professionals and stakeholders discuss the future of Africa’s pay TV industry.
The speakers included David Abraham, former CEO of Channel 4 in the UK; marketing innovation expert and futurist Paul Papadimitriou; Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MNet; Nollywood filmmaker Femi Odugbemi; and John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria.
Discussing the amplification of African stories with digital technology, Yolisa Phahle said that creative innovation in local content is what keeps viewers interested.
“You speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disruptor and, if necessary, even to cannibalise yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example. But MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future,” she said.
According to her, creating local content in languages audiences understands is what makes content king. Emphasising the necessity for local content, she said that MultiChoice ensures it keeps all of Africa informed by producing 16 local content channels across the continent which showcase local storytellers.
“Today, in the midst of the digital revolution, collectively we have the opportunity to not only tell stories that educate and inform African audiences, but the digital age means we are in a position to take African stories to the world and create a global market for what we do.
“By using the internet and leveraging technology, we have the ability to reach audiences at a global level and the success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita N’yongo and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages,” she said.
Agreeing with Phahle, Peter Papadimitriou highlighted reasons why pay TV companies should put consumers’ interest above all else. “The current challenge for pay TV companies is to shift the focus from content delivery systems to understanding its consumers through primary data. For instance, when they watch, how long and how much,” he said.
“The new consumer is nomadic, they can be everywhere and anywhere – tribal, gathering around similarities. Singular, entrepreneurial and being who they want to be.”
Abraham discussed the plight of both pay and free TV. The pay model is about a battle between free TV and service providers’ creating pay walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote monthly subscriptions and minimise loss of customers, he claimed. But now, broadband, as an additional service, and mobile phone technology is threatening this.
The advent of telecoms service providers raised the question of whether consumers will be able to shuttle between so many providers to find the best content.
“The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution,” he said.
The Digital Dialogue Conference is an annual event organised by MultiChoice Africa. Since its inception in 2012, it has become a thought leadership platform that fosters a better understanding of the future direction of Africa’s pay TV industry.