Tag Archives: Showmax

Jay-Jay Okocha toon set for Showmax

Jay Jay: The Chosen One

An animated series inspired by Nigerian football legend Jay-Jay Okocha is set to launch on streaming service Showmax.

Jay Jay: The Chosen One tells the story of Austin, an 11-year-old football-loving schoolboy who is blessed with the abilities of various animals. He becomes the superhero Jay Jay, tackling poachers and guiding his school football team to victory.

Born Augustine Azuka Okocha in Enugu in 1973, Okocha is regarded as one of the best African players of all time. He made 73 appearances for the Nigeria national team and played for clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Bolton Wanderers.

The 13-part series will be voiced by a cast of Nigerian actors including Prince Unigwe (as Jay Jay) as well as Chinedu Ikedieze, Samuel Ajibola and Eric Obinna.

It is produced by Nihilent Limited in partnership with production studio 5th Dimension and animation studio I-Realities. The soundtrack features music from popular Nigerian singer and vocalist Waje.

Okocha said: “A passion for football, a love for animals and the ability to become a superhero. I’m honoured to have an animated series that reimagines my childhood. Jay Jay: The Chosen One is going to bring back good childhood memories as well as inspire young children who have dreams to be football players.”

Jay Jay: The Chosen One will debut on Showmax on April 6.

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Showmax unveils new dramas, doc

Ten-part Ghanaian drama The Billionaire’s Wife

African streamer Showmax is preparing to launch a range of new titles this month, including Ghanaian drama The Billionaire’s Wife, crime documentary Stella Murders and Johannesburg-set drama Adulting.

The Billionaire’s Wife is a 10-part drama set in Accra. Debuting this week, it follows a 19-year-old from the slums of Ashaiman who marries an old billionaire with the aim of turning her fortunes around, only to find that being a billionaire’s wife is not as easy as she thought.

The drama is directed and produced by Ad-Visors execs Danny Adotey and Collins Amlalo respectively. The cast includes Andriana Akua Amegbor, Kingsley Yamoah, Roselyn Ngissah, Pascaline Edwards and Ophelia Walker.

“This series was inspired by countless real-life stories of rich men taking young wives. While this is not a new phenomenon, the rise of social media coupled with today’s culture that openly celebrates money-driven relationships is making them commonplace, forcing us to rethink our attitudes towards these relationships,” said Amlalo.

Busola Tejumola, executive head of content and West Africa channels at Showmax parent MultiChoice Group, said: “Across Africa, the appetite for local content is stronger than ever. In Ghana, seven out of the 10 most watched titles on Showmax in 2022 were local, among them Showmax’s first original drama ENO.

“We are excited to unveil The Billionaire’s Wife, another premium original drama series that will captivate Ghanaian viewers and push the Ghanaian television industry to greater heights.”

Stella Murders, meanwhile, is a 90-minute documentary directed by David Enright and produced by Randburg production company IdeaCandy. Arriving on Showmax on March 17, it investigates the deaths of teenage best friends Sharnelle Hough and Marna Engelbrecht at their hostel at Stella High School in South Africa in 2020.

The documentary features interviews with both girls’ parents; Stella South African Police Services station commander Captain Markus Ferreira, the investigating officer; private investigator Chris Saunders; and advocate Johan Smit, the state prosecutor.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and connected video at MultiChoice, said: “Stella Murders is a heart-wrenching story. It deals with every parent’s worst fear. The production was made with cooperation from Sharnelle and Marna’s families, who hope their story will prevent similar tragedies.”

Enright added: “While working on Stella Murders, it became important for us to understand if there was any form of emotional healing for the families and community that experienced this trauma. It became clear that the impact of this tragic event was far-reaching and calls for important reflection on the culture that cultivates gender-based violence.

“Hopefully, this documentary will not only highlight some of the red flags to look out for, but will also become part of the nationwide conversation about the shameful levels of violence against women in South Africa.”

Lastly, Adulting is an eight-part drama set in Johannesburg and produced by Tshedza Pictures. It explores the parallel universes of four varsity friends whose strong bond has held them together even as their lives have taken them in very different directions.

The cast includes Thembinkosi Mthembu, Luthando BU Mthembu, Thabiso Rammutsi and Nhanhla Kunene. MultiChoice Talent Factory graduate Thembalethu Mfebe, who shares directing duties with Menga Nhlabathi (eHostela, Umkhokha), said: “We wanted to root the show in Joburg pop culture right now.”

Tshedza Pictures co-founder Phathutshedzo Makwarela added: “There’s so much creative freedom in working with Showmax, which has broadened the landscape of what’s being made on South African TV. You haven’t seen anything like Adulting before.”

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Showmax UK lines up more African titles

The Real Housewives of Nairobi

SVoD service Showmax in the UK has lined up more African originals to debut this month, including The Real Housewives of Abuja and season two of psychological thriller DAM.

South African show DAM’s second run will debut on February 16, with The Real Housewives of Abuja premiering the following day and a further instalment of the reality franchise, The Real Housewives of Nairobi, launching on February 23.

DAM S2 is set in an Eastern Cape farming community and follows a woman who returns home from Chile for her father’s funeral, only to be met by the ghosts of her past. The series was created by four-time SAFTA winner Alex Yazbek.

According to Yazbek, the second season is going to be another twisted tale of love triangles, monsters and suppressed memories being uncovered. The cast includes Lea Vivier, Pallance Dladla and Natasha Loring.

Meanwhile, The Real Housewives of Abuja is the second Nigerian instalment and 21st international version of The Real Housewives, which is licensed as a format by NBCUniversal Formats. The series is made by Lagos-based Delmedia Productions and follows the lives of six influential and successful women.

The Real Housewives of Nairobi, the Kenyan version of the show, is produced by Eugene Mbugua’s D&R Studios (formerly Young Rich Television).

In addition, S6 of 1Magic’s hit telenovela The River debuted on the streamer this week. The drama is set in the colliding worlds of the privileged on one side of the river, who will go to any lengths to keep their wealth, and those on the other side, who have little to show for their hard work. The cast includes three-time SAFTA winner Siyabonga Thwala as well as Sindi Dlathu, Hlomla Dandala and Presley Chweneyagae.

Other shows set to debut on Showmax UK this month include South African sitcom Lenyalo Ha se Papadi and Thato Ya Modimo, Lahira. Showmax UK is part of South African pay TV group MultiChoice.

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Showmax to stream Big Brother Titans

MultiChoice-owned VoD service Showmax will stream the latest African edition of Big Brother, Big Brother Titans, from January 15.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (left) and Lawrence Maleka

Nigerian media personality Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Mzansi presenter Lawrence Maleka will co-host the show, which will bring together selected housemates from the previous Nigerian and South African editions of the format in one house to compete for the ultimate prize.

“Big Brother Titans is a special edition of the widely loved Big Brother show,” said MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe. “This special edition is a fusion of two TV phenomena, BBNaija and BBMzansi. It promises an abundance of Nigerian and South African swag, banter, romance and everything in between.

“This is a meeting of the Titans, and the winner will take home a sum of N150m [US$337,000] of prizes, including a brand new SUV. As usual, the viewers on DStv and GOtv will be able to vote and keep their favourite housemates on the show.”

Big Brother Titans, which runs for 72 days, will be available to stream 24/7 on Showmax, as well as DStv channel 198 and GOtv channel 29.

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Showmax preps Kenyan Christmas feature

MultiChoice-owned streaming platform Showmax is set to debut what is being billed as the first Christmas film from Kenya.

Reuben Odanga

Airing on December 15, A Familiar Christmas follows a family as they reunite to spend a Christmas holiday together for the first time in three years. However, their plans are disrupted when secrets and a meddling mother wreak havoc in the household.

A Familiar Christmas is written by Natasha Likimani and directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Reuben Odanga.

The cast includes Pascal Tokodi, Maureen Kunga, Keith Chuaga, Alice Mbeyu, Dennis Musyoka and Uganda’s Ruth Kamanzi.

Odanga said: “I love Christmas because it’s usually a time to step back and let go of the pressure of the year. In Kenya, Christmas means going home for the majority of us, where we get to interact with our extended family. To be the director of Kenya’s first Christmas feature film means documenting our present culture to offer something that is relatable to the Kenyan audience. It’s daring and exciting at the same time.

“I have always felt that our content sometimes doesn’t take significant calendar events like Christmas into account. A Familiar Christmas captures the mood of the season from our perspective; it’s a step to bring our content and culture home.”

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Acclaimed African films set for Showmax

Ousmane Sembène’s Black Girl

A number of African films that have made ‘best films of all time’ lists, Oscar shortlists and have been nominated for the iEmmys will premiere on video-on-demand service Showmax this month.

Lakutshon’ Ilanga (aka When the Sun Sets) will debut on December 15. Inspired by real events, it tells the story of a young nurse in 1985 apartheid South Africa. She must face her worst fears when she learns that her activist younger brother may be in danger when he doesn’t return after school.

Written and directed by Phumi Morare, Lakutshon’ Ilanga won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short (Live Action) this year and was shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

Respect, a music biopic about US soul singer Aretha Franklin, will premiere on December 22. Directed by South Africa’s Liesl Tommy, it stars Oscar winners Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker, plus Emmy winner Audra McDonald.

Meanwhile, the third season of the Durban-set adaptation of hit US reality franchise The Real Housewives will be released on Showmax in early 2023. The Real Housewives franchise is licensed as a format by NBCUniversal Formats, a division of Universal Studio Group. The show offers viewers a glimpse into the glamorous lives of wealthy women living in the South African city.

Other movies already airing on Showmax include Ousmane Sembène’s 1966 film Black Girl and Bafta-winning animation The Snail & the Whale, directed by Max Lang and South Africa’s Daniel Snaddon. It was animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by Magic Light Pictures.

Also on the Showmax slate is M-Net crime series Reyka, which was recently renewed for a second season and won the International Emmy for Best Drama, while Africa & I is a 90-minute documentary that won Best First Feature Documentary at the 2022 Pan African Film and Arts Festival. It was directed by Othmane Zolati and co-directed by Chris Green.

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Showmax takes Crime & Justice to Lagos

Crime & Justice Lagos

African streamer Showmax is set premiere the new Lagos-set version of its Kenyan police procedural Crime & Justice on December 8.

Crime & Justice Lagos has been adapted from the hit Kenyan show that debuted in 2021.

The new series follows investigations by an elite team at the fictional Serious & Special Crimes Unit. It stars Nigerian radio host and presenter Folu Storms and Nollywood actor Jammal Ibrahim (The Delivery Boy), whose characters lead the fight against criminals in the city of Lagos.

Executive produced by Yinka Edward, it also stars Paul Adams, Femi Durojaiye, Margaret Osuome and Makinde Adeniran.

Crime & Justice was the first Showmax Original series produced in Kenya and is also Showmax’s first coproduction with France-based international broadcaster Canal+ Group.

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Showmax organises Perfect Funeral

My Perfect Funeral

African streaming service Showmax has ordered an original Ghanaian reality series focusing on funerals.

Titled My Perfect Funeral, the 10-parter will premiere on December 8 and will be available to Showmax subscribers in the UK and 32 other countries in the African diaspora.

The show follows five families in Ghana as they prepare to bury their loved ones. Each episode will show the different stages of the funeral and will also feature interviews and confessional sessions from key family members.

It will show everything from the planning process to the day of the burial and the aftermath. It will also expose the elaborateness of Ghanaian funerals while exploring unique traditions and fanfare.

In addition, Benjamin Aidoo, Ghana’s most prominent pallbearer, will share his perspective on what a proper Ghanaian funeral entails and will be seen alongside his team of pallbearers.

Deloris Frimpong Manso, executive producer of the series, said: “Even though funerals are a sad and morbid experience, African families – and Ghanaians in particular – go the extra mile to make sure this occasion is done perfectly and, in some cases, flamboyantly and without any holding back. It’s a story that hasn’t been told before on our screens. But then again someone has to tell this story.

“It’s also a way for families to create lasting, tangible moments with their dearly departed. I personally buried both my parents and I don’t have a single picture from their funerals. This production is going to be a place of record-keeping for the five families.”

My Perfect Funeral is the second Ghanaian Showmax original after drama series ENO, which became the most watched show on Showmax in Ghana during its 13-week run.

Busola Tejumola, executive head of content and West Africa channels at MultiChoice, said: “My Perfect Funeral is a reality show like no other. The show forms part of Showmax’s strategy to invest in more authentic and diverse local stories that generate emotions and experiences in our audiences across Africa.

“And after launching ENO earlier this year, we are excited once again to be collaborating with Ghanaian filmmakers to bring this unique concept of My Perfect Funeral to our subscribers in Ghana and across the continent who will identify personally with the stories of the five families featured on the show.”

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The Wife S3 debuts, sets viewing record

The Wife

The third season of South African telenovela The Wife has premiered and has set a new four-day viewing record on SVoD service Showmax.

This breaks the record previously held by the multi-award-winning Showmax original telenovela’s second season.

The Wife follows two star-crossed lovers, a Tswana doctor and Zulu taxi driver. When one goes missing, the Zulu brothers face the heat.

The new season stars Gaisang K Noge with other cast members including SAFTA winner Wiseman Mncube, Lungelo Mpangase and Sipho Ndlovu.

“In my acting journey, I was hoping for something that would challenge me – something that would take me out of my comfort zone because I was tired of playing the timid little girl from rural KZN,” Mpangase said.

Regarding her own personality versus that of her character in the soap, she added: “I’m such a soft girl. If there’s a fight, I will just cry or go home. I don’t want to be part of it. Yet she’s very strong and I love how brave she is. She’s a trigger-happy type of person.”

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MultiChoice reaches 22.1m households

MultiChoice Group achieved solid subscriber growth and steady earnings for the half-year ended September 30, according to the African entertainment company.

Calvo Mawela

The group’s linear pay TV subscriber base (measured on a 90-day active basis) increased by one million (5%) to 22.1 million households, comprising 9.1 million (41%) in South Africa and 13 million (59%) in the rest of Africa (RoA).

The year-on-year (YoY) growth rate for paying subscribers on the company’s streamer Showmax was 50%, while the overall online user base increased by 13%. Actual subs numbers for Showmax were not disclosed.

RoA maintained its growth trajectory on the back of successful local content productions, MultiChoice said. In South Africa, growth rates recovered during the second half of the reporting period despite evidence of rising consumer pressure.

In terms of the local content strategy, the company launched two more local channels in sub-Saharan Africa and produced another 3,084 hours of local content, an increase of 15% YoY. Accounting for 48% of total general entertainment spend, this ongoing investment in local content brought the total content library to around 73,000 hours.

In Nigeria, a new season of Big Brother Naija delivered record viewership, as well as strong growth in advertising revenues. In South Africa, the group produced two coproductions – Blood Psalms and Girl, Taken – with another seven coproductions in the pipeline.

Reyka, an original coproduction from South Africa, was nominated for the Drama Series prize at the International Emmy Awards 2022.

The group is currently producing the epic original drama series Shaka Ilembe, which will be broadcast during 2023 and is already receiving significant international interest. It also continues to roll out adaptations of popular telenovelas in different regions, such as 1Magic’s The River, which has been successfully adapted as Kina in Kenya and O Rio in Angola.

Showmax further localised its business with more local content such as Real Housewives of Lagos, Troukoors S2, Uthando Lodumo S2, Diiche and Steinheist.

In terms of financials, MultiChoice Group revenue was up ZAR1.8bn (US$104m) to ZAR28.6bn, and trading profit amounted to ZAR6.1bn – up 6% despite a ZAR700m investment in new decoders ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

“After a slower-than-usual start to the year, with global fuel and food price shocks negatively impacting consumer sentiment, our business regained momentum due to our engaging local content slate and strong local capabilities,” said Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice Group.

“Despite the challenging macro-economic environment, we are well positioned given our exciting content slate. In the second half of the financial year, a core focus will be the broadcasting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and producing more local content that resonates with our customers. Going forward, we will look for more opportunities to grow beyond pay television.”

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MultiChoice, WWE close broadcast deal

Pay TV company MultiChoice and over-the-top streaming service WWE Network have entered into a broadcast deal making the Showmax platform the new home of WWE in Africa.

Matt Drew

All WWE premium live events, including WrestleMania and WWE Network’s vast library of original and archived programming, will be made available to stream on-demand.

The deal also means SuperSport will continue to broadcast live weekly episodes of Raw, SmackDown and NXT, as well as all of WWE’s premium live events.

Matt Drew, WWE’s senior VP for international, said: “Showmax is the market leader and a perfect home for WWE content. By delivering our premium live events, including WrestleMania, we believe this partnership will expand our audience and deliver even more to WWE fans throughout the region.”

“Adding WWE to the Showmax platform is an exciting development that we know our entertainment and sport-loving African subscribers are going to enjoy, making WWE even more accessible and affordable,” said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MultiChoice Connected Video.

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Showmax renews drama Single Kiasi

Single Kiasi

MultiChoice-backed African streamer Showmax has renewed drama series Single Kiasi for a second season.

Due to air in 2023, the show will continue to follow the lives of three women in Nairobi – Sintamei, Mariah and Rebecca – as they deal with the challenges that marriage, relationships and their careers throw at them.

Picking up a couple of months after the season one finale that threw uncertainty over their love lives, the new season will find the central characters experiencing transformational events that will impact their friendship in unforeseen ways.

Gathoni Mutua, Minne Kariuki and Faith Kibathi are reprising their roles as leads Sintamei, Mariah and Rebecca respectively. Also returning are Michael Munyoki (A Grand Little Lie), Brian Abajah (Sincerely Daisy), Kevin Maina, Walter Bruce Opiyo, Derek Bbanga and Maggie Kiundi.

The show is made by Insignia Productions and Grace Kahaki will direct with company partner Philip Bresson.

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Blood Psalms launches on Showmax

Blood Psalms’ first two episodes launched at the same time

Hotly anticipated African epic fantasy series Blood Psalms has launched on African VoD service Showmax.

With its first two episodes landing simultaneously, the series is set in ancient Africa, 11,000 years ago. It follows Princess Zazi (played by Bokang Phelane) as she battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.

The 10×60’ show “went straight to number one on Showmax and is getting rave reviews and wonderful feedback on Twitter too,” a representative from the streamer told Content Nigeria.

Created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka and produced by Yellowbone Entertainment, the show also stars Bongile Mantsai, Hamilton Dlamini, Hlubi Mboya, Mothusi Magano, S’dumo Mtshali, Siv Ngesi, Thishiwe Ziqubu and Warren Masemola.

“I was always extremely curious about our continent. The question mark around the history of Africa and where we come from has been a great platform for us to be able to build this world,” said Qubeka.

According to Swart, the show’s first season looks at various tribes: the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini and the Great Nziwemabwe as they migrate south from Kemet, which is now Egypt, and form their cultures.

“It’s a pioneering show that attempts to redefine our very perception of our identity as Africans. What we’re trying to do is to reclaim the continent’s history from an African perspective. The goal, for us, is to ensure that the golden thread of Africa’s stunning history really shines,” Swart added.

Qubeka said: “It’s a sweeping epic adventure that doesn’t hold back. It is definitely a large canvas, one that I personally have not seen from this continent. This thing is big. I’m very excited to see how audiences engage with this world.

“There are a lot of things that people are going to look at and be like, ‘What are you talking about? Did they have guns in that time? Do they have electricity?’ There are all sorts of things we challenge in terms of conventions of what people understand of our glorious past.”

New episodes of Blood Psalms will debut on MultiChoice-owned streamer Showmax every Wednesday until the end of November.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation, the National Film & Video Foundation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

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Showmax takes Real Housewives of Nairobi

The Real Housewives of Nairobi

African streaming service Showmax will premiere reality show The Real Housewives of Nairobi next year, in collaboration with NBCUniversal Formats.

The Real Housewives of Nairobi begins production this month and is the 22nd international version of The Real Housewives format. It is also the sixth to be adapted in Africa, the format having successfully been produced in Johannesburg, Durban, Lagos, Cape Town and – currently being filmed – Pretoria.

The Nairobi series is being produced by Eugene Mbugua’s D&R Studios and it follows a group of powerful and affluent women in the Kenyan city.

Denise Mwende, Showmax’s content specialist in East Africa, said: “As an African streaming platform, Showmax is dedicated to telling diverse African stories, and celebrity reality TV remains a genre that excites our viewers across Africa. We love to watch other people’s lives, and The Real Housewives of Nairobi is a chance to get a much closer look at Nairobi’s elite.

“D&R Studios already has a portfolio of celebrity reality content like Sol Family, This Love and Kyallo Kulture under their belt. They understand the structure, and are willing to work hand-in-hand with our local teams and NBCUniversal to bring the Nairobi franchise to life.”

Mbugua added: “The team at D&R Studios is very stoked about the opportunity to produce The Real Housewives of Nairobi. We’ve had a long and good relationship with Showmax and are very excited to now be working together on an international format. We’ve gone through a very rigorous process of being shortlisted and are now geared up and ready to start production.

“There’s quite a bit of pressure from the audience to deliver a stellar show but if what we’ve seen in the casting process is anything to go by, Nairobi promises to hold its own. Fans can expect surprises in everything, from the choice of the cast to the storylines.”

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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 appoints Filani as GM

African streaming service Showmax has named Opeoluwa Filani as the new general manager for its Nigeria operations.

Opeoluwa Filani

Filani has over 16 years of senior management experience. In his new role, he will provide strategic direction and implement plans aimed at growing Showmax’s business in Nigeria and achieving its profit objectives.

Prior to joining Showmax, Filani was the country sales director for Nigeria at JCDecaux, a multinational out-of-home advertising company, where he led the sales and marketing department.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of connected video at MultiChoice, said: “We’ve witnessed 68% growth in our paying subscriber base over the past year, and it’s become even more important to have a dedicated team at the helm of affairs of Showmax in one of our most important markets.

“Opeoluwa brings almost two decades of relevant experience and a refreshing perspective to business development. His appointment couldn’t be more timely as this is a defining period for our business in Nigeria. I am confident that with his experience and vision, Opeoluwa will drive Showmax Nigeria to even greater heights.”

Filani added: “These are exciting times for the SVoD industry in Africa and Showmax is right at the centre of this emerging sector. I believe Showmax’s commitment to developing a local Nigerian strategy is right for this fast-changing environment and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Filani holds an executive MBA from the Warwick Business School in the UK and an MSc in international marketing management from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, with certifications in sales and distribution from Harvard Business School in the US.

Showmax has continued to expand its presence and investment in Nigeria, having released more than 40 original African series and movies in the last year.

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Blood Psalms set for September release

Blood Psalms is a coproduction with France’s Canal+

African VoD service Showmax will debut epic African fantasy series Blood Psalms on September 28.

Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms “draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies” and looks at various tribes. It follows the story of a young princess who must navigate primordial curses, ancestral vendettas and her role as the harbinger of a damning prophecy.

Blood Psalms was created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment. The cast is led by Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo), Mothusi Magano and Zolisa Xaluva.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at Showmax parent MultiChoice, said: “Blood Psalms is the biggest and most ambitious series we’ve ever made, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Phelane added: “This show was specifically created as a reimagining of ourselves as Africans, as an answer to ‘Who are we?’ It’s done in a very entertaining way, with a lot of drama and action. I got to witness the greats at work. The cast is filled with actors who have inspired me from quite early in my life to pursue acting.”

Blood Psalms will also have its world premiere in Cape Town on August 24 as the opening-night screening at MipAfrica, part of FAME Week Africa.

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Showmax lines up third Tali’s Diary

African VoD service Showmax has greenlit the third season of its original comedy following the adventures of the character Tali, which will debut in November.

Julia Anastasopoulos

The new season, Tali’s Joburg Diary, has already gone into production and will see Tali, played once again by Julia Anastasopoulos, move back to Johannesburg, determined to get her son Jayden into premium preschool and reclaim her crown as Class Mom.

Tali’s Joburg Diary is the latest in the franchise that began with Tali’s Wedding Diary in 2017, following the eponymous ‘Joburg princess’ who moved to Cape Town and got married.

Tali’s Baby Diary premiered in 2021 and saw an unexpected pregnancy force our heroine into a desperate pivot from Insta-influencer to wholesome ‘momfluencer.’

Produced by Sketchbook Studios for the MultiChoice-owned streamer, the new season will feature a returning cast including Anton Taylor, Kate Pinchuck, Kate Normington, Glen Biderman-Pam and Sharon Spiegel Wagner.

“That’s right guys, season three is coming. I am so excited for you guys to follow us on our next adventure. I’m actually finished, and I love you guys so much,” Anastasopoulos said on Instagram.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at MultiChoice, said: “We all need a laugh after the past few years, so we can’t wait to have Tali back on Showmax in November. It’s going to be the same Tali, with a very different bank balance, in a very different Joburg. Tighten your belt and sharpen those nails. Let the battle for Class Mom begin.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary took home five prizes at the 2019 SAFTAs while Tali’s Baby Diary had 11 nominations, including Best TV Comedy at this year’s awards.

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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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Showmax unveils Kenyan political series

County 49 comes from Kibanda Pictures

African streaming service Showmax will debut Kenyan political drama series County 49 on August 25.

In the show, a disgraced security officer is compelled to save the governor and her chief of staff – his estranged wife – after they are kidnapped by a local terror group.

The cast includes Wakio Mzenge, Nyokabi Macharia, Ainea Ojiambo, Maqbul Mohammed, Martin Githinji, Peter Kawa, Benson Ojuwa, Nick Kwach, Emmanuel Mugo, Angela Mwandanda and Sam Psenjen.

County 49 is produced by Kibanda Pictures, directed by Likarion Wainaina and co-directed by Brian Munene.

It is Showmax’s fifth original title in Kenya, following the debuts of Crime & Justice, Baba Twins, Single Kiasi and Igiza.

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