Tag Archives: Showmax

Showmax preps action drama series

Nqobile Sipamla features in the Sipamla cast

MultiChoice- and Comcast-owned African video-on-demand service Showmax will premiere an action-packed drama named Empini later this month.

Debuting on May 23, the 52-episode series centres on a troubled private security bodyguard in search of answers.

The cast includes Siyabonga Thwala, Nambitha Ben-Mazwi, Charmaine Mtinta and Nqobile Sipamla.

Sipamla said: “Empini is an edgy show that will have viewers thoroughly entertained. It will showcase the intricate dynamics of how it is sometimes necessary that some secrets be kept for the safety of others, while, on the other hand, some secrets must come to light.”

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Showmax reflects on eight years

As Showmax marks its eighth birthday this weekend, the MultiChoice-owned African streamer has reflected upon its journey, which has been marked by significant achievements.

Yolisa Phahle

During its existence, the streaming service has attained noteworthy milestones. The number of Showmax subscribers has exhibited an impressive average growth rate of 26% over the past four years, the company said.

Showmax is also the most highly rated streaming app in South Africa, as evidenced by its ratings of 4.6 on the South African Google Play store and 4.8 on Apple’s App Store. These figures place Showmax in close proximity to Apple TV+’s ratings, showcasing the platform’s high level of user satisfaction and engagement.

The streaming platform’s local content has also garnered awards at events such as the SAFTAs in South Africa, AMVCAs in Nigeria, Kalashas in Kenya and International Emmys in the US. Showmax cop drama Reyka, for example, clinched nominations for two International Emmys, while thriller series Spinners achieved a milestone as the first African series to be chosen at CanneSeries in France.

Furthermore, other series such as Recipes for Love & Murder as well as Donkerbos earned their spots in the esteemed Berlinale Series Market Selects, alongside other notable recent recognitions.

Showmax features local content in more than 20 African languages. In 2022, seven of the 10 most streamed titles on Showmax in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria and nine of the top 10 in Ghana were African. Overall, local content viewership on Showmax has hit 57% in 2023, while viewership for Zulu telenovela The Wife has now surpassed 50 million hours ahead of any international content.

In March 2023, Showmax unveiled a collaboration with Comcast’s US studio NBCUniversal and European pay TV arm Sky for a relaunch set to take place before the end of this financial year, ending March 2024. The new Showmax will combine MultiChoice’s investment in local content with a pipeline of international content from NBCUniversal and Sky, third-party content from HBO, Warner Brothers, Sony and others, as well as live English Premier League matches.

In addition, Showmax is the only place in Africa to stream the following international drama series that are nominated at the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards: family business drama Succession S4 (27 nominations), post-apocalyptic video game adaptation The Last of Us S1 (24 noms) and the Sicily-set The White Lotus S2 (23 noms).

Other achievements for Showmax include emerging as the first streaming platform on the continent to facilitate mobile downloads, allowing users to enjoy content offline, as well as enabling the lowest data streaming option on the continent and accepting payments in local currencies and payment platforms.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax, said: “Showmax is clearly differentiated from the international streamers by our local content and football, a strategy that has seen Showmax consistently deliver subscriber growth ahead of target. Africa’s population is growing at three times the global average – an unrivalled growth opportunity – and is expected to double in size by 2050 to around 2.5 billion – likely to be a quarter of the world’s population. Combined with growing internet connectivity off the lowest base in the world, this gives us an incredible opportunity.”

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Showmax takes Flawsome to S2

Dami Elebe is the lead writer on Flawsome S2

MultiChoice-backed African video-on-demand service Showmax has ordered a second season of drama series Flawsome.

The streamer, which is now also backed by US cable giant Comcast, revealed the news alongside announcing that award-winning Nigerian screenwriter Dami Elebe would be head writer on the new season.

Season one of Flawsome delved into the lives of diverse characters navigating life’s challenges and triumphs, revealing the strong bonds that held four female friends together despite their flaws.

The cast is led by Bisola Aiyeola (Sugar Rush), Ini Dima-Okojie (Blood Sisters), Sharon Ooja (Òlòtūré) and Enado Odigie (Unmarried).

Elebe is known for series including Skinny Girl in Transit, The Men’s Club, Rumor Has It and Far From Home.

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Showmax apprehends The Outlaws

Tshedza Pictures production The Outlaws

MultiChoice-owned African video-on-demand service Showmax is set to debut a new locally produced series named The Outlaws.

From Johannesburg-based Tshedza Pictures, The Outlaws is set on the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. It tells the story of two families at war with each other: the Zulu cattle-farming Biyelas and the Basotho cattle-raiding Tseoles.

The show stars Lehlohonolo Mayeza, Mmabatho Mogomotsi, Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku, Nolwazi Shange, Siyabonga Shibe, Mnqobi Kunene, Mmabatho Mogomotsi and Thembinkosi Mthembu. It will premiere on September 6.

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South African crime doc set for Showmax

Thea Pretorius in Original Sin: My Son the Killer 

African streaming service Showmax has unveiled a crime feature documentary titled Original Sin: My Son the Killer.

Original Sin is a coproduction between Showmax, Bafta-winning UK prodco Rogan Productions and Electric Shadow Company in association with Red Earth and Combined Artists. The latter is the South African prodco behind the iconic investigative journalism show Carte Blanche and the Safta-nominated true crime series Strangers You Know.

The doc tells the story of South African killer Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who murdered his 25-year-old girlfriend Andrea Venter in front of her neighbours, security guards and CCTV cameras.

He then escaped authorities in South Africa and Brazil for years, assuming three identities and starting families with multiple women.

The story is told from the perspective of van Vuuren’s mother, Thea Pretorius, who was also a victim of gender-based violence. After initially helping him escape, Pretorius slowly had to come to terms with her son being a killer.

The doc’s director John Gutierrez said: “Every 63 seconds a woman becomes a victim of gender-based violence in South Africa. Before Andrea was murdered, she was hunted by Gerhard. She did everything that could be expected of her, including filing a restraining order and moving cities, but it wasn’t enough.

“Thea’s perspective is central. She’s asking herself how her little boy with a gentle spirit became a murderer, and what her responsibility is. Thea is both Gerhard’s mother and a survivor of gender-based violence herself, so she’s deeply conflicted.”

Original Sin is produced by South African Sarah Laita and Jay Taylor from Electric Shadow Company, and Mark Hedgecoe and James Rogan from Rogan Productions, while Jana Marx (Devilsdorp) serves as the editorial producer. Abacus Media Rights is in charge of handling international sales.

Laita said: “As a South African now living in London, this story is close to my heart. I was back in South Africa in 2020 during one of the lockdowns when I first heard about this story and was captivated by it. Beyond all its twists and turns, it’s a deeply moving family drama that shows how gender-based violence and femicide continue to be a deep problem not only in South Africa but around the world.”

Hedgecoe added: “Original Sin is a story that works on two levels. On the one hand it is the compelling account of a resourceful and clever murderer going on the run, and the authorities’ urgent efforts to track him down. But it also gives powerful insight into the many women who were his victims – most obviously Andrea, who he killed, but also his mother, Thea. It’s this that gives the story real depth.”

The doc premieres on MultiChoice- and NBCUniversal-owned streamer Showmax on March 22.

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SVoD demand surges in Africa

African SVoD subs by platform in 2029 (000)

Sub-Saharan Africa will have 16 million paying SVoD subscribers by 2029, up nine million from the end of 2023, according to Digital TV Research.

South Africa and Nigeria will supply 59% (9.4 million) of the region’s total, the UK-based analysis firm said.

However, African SVoD penetration is still expected to be comparatively low by 2029, with only 7.1% of TV households paying for at least one subscription – although this is up from 4.7% at the end of last year.

Netflix will remain the most popular streamer, with 6.9 million subs by 2029, Digital TV Research said. It also predicted that local OTT service Showmax will be in second place with 3.7 million paying members.

Meanwhile, Disney+ will only have 905,000 subscriptions by 2029, as its roll-out on the continent is expected to be limited to South Africa.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “SVoD is a battle between Netflix and regional player Showmax. Rich in local content and sports rights, Showmax now has access to NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and HBO content. Showmax’s parent MultiChoice recently rejected a takeover bid from Canal+.”

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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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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 orders four Kenyan originals

Igiza is about twin sisters at war with each other

MultiChoice-owned African SVoD platform Showmax has commissioned a slate of four original Kenyan productions, set to launch later this year, as it expands its investment in the country.

Its 2022 slate includes crime drama Pepeta, which follows the intertwined lives of an aspiring 17-year-old footballer, an unforgiving cop and an ambitious football coach.

Produced by CJ3 Entertainment’s James Kombo, Mwangi Rurengo and Wanja Mworia, the show is set to go into production this month. Damaris Irungu (Crime and Justice), Charles Ouda (Waiting Room, Makutano Junction) and Abigail Arunga (How to Find a Husband) are writing.

Showmax has also ordered a 13-part thriller called Igiza, about twin sisters who are at war after a betrayal that changes their lives forever. The project is helmed by Abdi Shuria (Nafsi), King Muriuki (The XYZ Show) and Abu Melita under their company Yare Productions. Serah Ndanu (Sumu la Penzi, Pieces of Us) plays both sisters in the series, which is currently in production.

Also on the docket for 2022 is County 49, a political thriller about the citizens of a fictional county who are suffering from the high cost of living and scarce resources, despite the county’s wealth. It is produced by Likarion Wainaina, Brian Munene and Millicent Ogutu of Kibanda Pictures and Bruce Makau. Munene also writes alongside Voline Ogutu (Crime and Justice), Mercy Mutisya (Too Early for Birds) and Martin Kingondu.

In addition, Showmax has commissioned Kenya’s first-ever Christmas movie. The as-yet-untitled project is produced by Reuben Odanga, who is writing the film alongside Natasha Likimani.

The greenlights come on the heels of the release of Showmax’s first Kenyan original, Crime & Justice, which is now in its second season, in addition to drama series Single Kiasi and feature film Baba Twins.

Timothy Okwaro, MultiChoice channel director for East and Southern Africa, said: “We have worked with new production houses to expand our genre offering to ensure our viewers get to see the very best of Kenyan stories told in different facets of life, from thrillers to crime dramas to political thrillers.

“This slate speaks to our localisation strategy and the keen focus on working with local producers, both established and upcoming, to ensure we give our viewers what they want.”

Outside of Kenya, Showmax’s original productions include ENO, which is the company’s first Ghanaian original, soon-to-launch reality show The Real Housewives of Lagos, South African telenovela The Wife, The Real Housewives of Durban and upcoming fantasy epic Blood Psalms, set in ancient Africa.

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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 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 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’s Wura gets second run

Wura is based on South African show The River

Showmax original Nigerian telenovela Wura is returning for a second season on the South Africa-based streamer.

Wura is an adaptation of hit South African telenovela The River and is set against the backdrop of the gold mining industry. It follows the secret life of a perfect wife and loving mother who is also the ruthless chief executive of a mining company. The River originally aired on M-Net.

Wura stars Scarlet Gomez, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Ray Adeka, Iremide Adeoye, Ego Iheanacho, Martha Ehinome, Carol King and Lanre Adediwura. The series is executive produced by award-winning filmmaker Rogers Ofime and will resume its run as a 260-episode telenovela. The first season was 100×30’ and was produced by Native Media.

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Showmax studies Ndlovu murders

Rosemary’s Hitlist focuses on Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu

African video-on-demand service Showmax has premiered a true crime documentary series about murderer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu.

Rosemary’s Hitlist focuses on the former police officer who became a serial killer. It tells the true story of her crime spree, which shocked South Africa.

In 2021, Ndlovu was sentenced to six concurrent life sentences for murdering her live-in partner and five of her relatives. They were murdered for so-called ‘killsurance’ – funeral cover payouts worth more than R1.4m (US$77,000) to Ndlovu.

She was also sentenced to an additional 30 years: 10 years each for fraud, incitement to commit murder and the attempted murder of her mother, Maria Mushwana, her sister Joyce, and Joyce’s five children.

Rosemary’s Hitlist is produced for MultiChoice-owned Showmax by IdeaCandy and directed by Valen’tino Mathibela. Richard Gregory (Steinheist) served as a consulting director.

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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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