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.
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.
MultiChoice-owned African pay TV network M-Net has revealed the new judges for returning cooking competition reality series MasterChef South Africa, which set for a fourth season after five years off-air.
The new judges are chefs Zola Nene and Gregory Czarnecki and food editor Justine Drake. The trio will be the culinary masters whose palates and expertise will guide 20 contestants to the ultimate R1m (US$66,000) prize and the coveted title of MasterChef.
According to M-Net, the judges, with their varied experience and viewpoints, will inject freshness into the new season of MasterChef SA, with Czarnecki bringing the perspective of an international chef and Nene and Drake the local experts.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video for MultiChoice, said: “We’re very excited to have one of our most-loved shows – and toughest of reality competitions – returning to our screen after some time away. We have always had a rich crop of home chefs to choose from, but the pandemic has certainly created more, and this is the perfect time for MasterChef South Africa to make a comeback.”
Commenting on having two women on the MasterChef SA panel, Dave De Bie, format consultant at Banijay, the company that owns the format, said: “We are focused on improving the gender balance in MasterChef judges worldwide. Over the last couple of years, we have increased the number of female judges and this is something we are continuing to improve upon.
“Out of 37 active markets, 26 now have female judges. We are delighted that MasterChef SA joins the likes of Israel, Norway, and Brazil with two female experts on their panel.”
The 20-episode series is produced by Cape Town-based production company Homebrew while the MasterChef format and programmes are represented internationally by Banijay Rights.
MasterChef South Africa S4 premieres on February 28 on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) at 18.00 and the finale will air on March 31.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice Group, is one of the 50 most senior women in corporate Africa mentioned in Africa.com’s Definitive List of Women CEOs.
According to South African pay TV group MultiChoice, Africa.com undertook rigorous research to identify the women who run the largest, most complex businesses on the African continent.
Phahle has held several senior roles within MultiChoice South Africa and is now the driving force behind the group’s content strategy to be the world’s leading African storyteller as well as delivering the best international and local content to the organisation’s more than 19.5 million customers, with a strong focus on innovation and industry development.
“It is an honour to be recognised along with other women leading big business in Africa. I hope that our collective efforts will pave the way for more African girls to aspire to reach their biggest goals in Africa’s private-sector corporations,” Phahle said.
African pay TV operator MultiChoice has revealed plans to launch a new network named Me on channel 115 through its digital satellite TV platform DStv.
Me combines two channels – M-Net City 115 and Vuzu 116 – and is targeted at DStv Family and DStv Compact viewers but will also be available to subscribers to the DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus packages.
MultiChoice said the channel, which launches at 16.00 on November 1, will enable viewers watch world-class series and reality shows in one place by offering them a wide selection of international programming.
This includes daily episodes of imported series such as The Rookie, NCIS: New Orleans, Survivor Australia and Young Sheldon from 17.00 to 20.00, as well as other series like Lioness, Prodigal Son, reality shows Beat Shazam, American Idol and Growing Up Hip Hop, and acclaimed dramas including Queen Sugar.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment for Multichoice Group, said: “We’re changing the way we package content and creating a single, extensive, well-curated destination. Me will give our viewers and subscribers a multifaceted, competitive channel offering, and we’re pleased to offer the best international entertainment in one place.
“Me is a destination for primarily the 18- to 34-year-old market and, in addition to international scripted content, it will feature lifestyle shows and celebrity content that has been previously broadcast on M-Net Channel 101 and 1Magic. Me is taking us in an exciting direction that speaks to the multiplatform world we live in and further sharpens our aim to give our subscribers content that they connect with.”
MultiChoice said M-Net City (DStv channel 115) and Vuzu (DStv channel 116) will officially close on Friday October 29 to make room for the new service.
MultiChoice-owned African streaming service Showmax Pro has announced plans to live-stream the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in more than 50 countries across Africa.
The 2020 games were postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. From July 23 to August 8 this year Showmax Pro subscribers will be able to live-stream hundreds of Olympic events on the service, including the opening and closing ceremonies and every medal event.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO for MultiChoice Connected Video, said: “We are thrilled to bring all the action to our Showmax Pro subscribers to stream wherever they are, and we’ll be backing our African athletes every step of the way.”
Marc Jury, CEO of MultiChoice’s SuperSport channels, added: “There is no bigger – or better – celebration of sport than the Olympic Games. It’s wonderful theatre, particularly at a time when we need to be entertained, and we look forward to the best-ever broadcast offering.”
MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) has started accepting applications for its film and TV training programme scheduled to take place in 2022.
About 60 emerging filmmakers with either industry experience or a relevant post-school qualification in film can apply to be a part of the programme.
MTF is taking applications from 13 African countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Angola and Mozambique. To apply, click here.
The selected students will take part in the MTF Masterclasses, backed by industry partners including Dolby, CBS Justice and Jasco Broadcast Solutions. The top-performing student from each region will be awarded a scholarship by the New York Film Academy of Visual & Performing Arts.
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO of general entertainment and connected video, said: “The MTF Academy is our commitment to the future of our industry and gives young Africans the chance to hone their television and film production skills through a world-class training programme. After two successful years, we’re proud to announce a new call to entry to and look forward to meeting the next generation of African filmmakers.”
Cheryl Uys-Allie, director of the MTF initiative, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic was undoubtedly a difficult challenge for all involved in keeping the MTF Academy programme going as well as the students. The unwavering support from stakeholders, partners and students has nevertheless been overwhelming. We couldn’t be more excited to have reached our third year as one of MultiChoice Group’s anchor shared-value initiatives directly investing in the next generation of African storytellers.”
The MTF Academy was launched in May 2018 and has so far given 120 students the opportunity to harness their expertise in film and TV and become skilled industry professionals.
The deadline for applications is 17.00 SAST on June 30.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has received more than 140 nominations across all categories in the 15th edition of the South African Film & Television Awards (SAFTAs).
The company said the achievement demonstrated its high investment in local content and is a win for the local TV and film production industry.
The TV shows nominated include telenovela Legacy, 1Magic’s The River and Mzansi Magic’s drama Housekeeper.
The KykNET channel secured 50 nominations in the TV Soap, Telenovela, TV Comedy and Feature Film categories; Gomora received five nominations in the Best Telenovela and Most Popular Telenovela categories; 2019 Rugby World Cup documentary Chasing The Sun secured four nominations for Best TV Documentary, Best Directing, Cinematography and Editing.
Showmax originals including Lockdown, Loving Thokoza and Black Tax were also nominated, while TV series Lebo M: Coming Home, Life With Kelly Khumalo and Somizi & Mohale are competing against each other in the category of Best Structured Reality TV Show.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment for MultiChoice group, said: “We are excited to once again see most of our shows scoop the bulk of this year’s SAFTA nominations. This is a win for local TV and film and demonstrates MultiChoice Group’s commitment to investing in local content to allow for local stories to be told by Africans.
“The nominations are also a testament to the incredible resilience of all the talent, cast and crew in various productions as our industry navigated the complexities brought on by the global Covid-19 pandemic, which were characterised by production stoppages and a period of uncertainty for many creatives.”
The SAFTAs ceremony will take place on May 22 on Mzansi Magic DStv channel 161 at 19.00.
MultiChoice-owned African pay TV operator DStv is gearing up to debut a new pop-up Korean channel called tvN Africa.
The new channel will air on DStv 134 from March 1 for four months with new programming every weekday at 18.45. It will feature music variety shows like I-Land, Korean dramas including Encounter, romantic series and action dramas such as Signal.
Michael Jung, MD of tvN owner CJ ENM Hong Kong, said: “It is evident Hallyu fever is on the rise in Africa. We are thrilled to partner with MultiChoice, the leading pay TV provider in Africa, to be the first Korean entertainment brand to launch on DStv. We will do our best to bring all premium Korean entertainment to the fans.”
Yolisa Phahle, Multichoice Group’s CEO of general entertainment and connected video, said: “Delivering the tvN channel to millions of viewers on our continent is part of DStv’s commitment to bring the best of the world home.
“DStv customers can now explore South Korean lifestyle through tvN’s dynamic entertainment offering. Through the quality of its rich stories the channel broadens the already extensive range of viewing options we have on DStv for a variety of audiences.”
The new channel will be available to DStv Premium, Compact and Compact Plus customers.
Global media company SPI/FilmBox has partnered with MultiChoice Group to launch its Turkish drama network Timeless Dizi Channel (TDC) on DStv in sub-Saharan Africa.
The channel will be available to DStv subscribers from November 2 on DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact and Family packages in South Africa and Lesotho, and on DStv Premium, Compact Plus and Compact across all other sub-Saharan territories.
It will offer DStv viewers hundreds of hours of Turkish dramas including International Emmy nominee Black Money Love and other series such as Karadayi, Kurt Seyit & Shura, The End, Red Scarf, Moms & Mothers, Wings of Love, The 8th Day and Kuzgun.
Georgina Twiss, MD for western Europe and Africa at SPI International, said: “We are very excited about launching on DStv as a leading video entertainment platform in Africa. This brings the Timeless Dizi Channel to a wider audience across the region. SPI and MultiChoice are both committed to bringing phenomenal content that’s built on compelling stories capable of capturing the hearts and minds across generations and geographies.
“That’s why we believe TDC is the perfect addition to DStv’s channel offering with its well-curated selection of dramas, a unique genre of high-budget series from Turkish producers that focus on relatable and engaging stories of family, relationships, morality and love.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group’s CEO of general entertainment and connected video, added: “This Turkish pop-up channel is such an exciting opportunity for us to offer a new and unique genre of content to our customers as part of our commitment to bring the best of the world back home.
“As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, we will continue to invest in both local and international content that excites our customers, both young and old, and offers the best entertainment at a great value.”
TDC has reached over five million households worldwide within the first year of its launch and continues to increase its footprint across the globe, with recent distribution deals in Switzerland, Nepal and the Middle East, according to SPI/FilmBox.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice and its pay TV channel M-Net are working to roll out new local entertainment TV channels in African countries including Ghana, Ethiopia and Mozambique over the coming months and into 2021.
New channel Ghana M-Net will carry M-Net original productions including a local telenovela, reality shows and comedy and will be positioned as a flagship network for DStv subscribers in the country.
The companies will also launch a general entertainment channel for Ethiopia, where M-Net is already working on its first telenovela in the Amharic language, as well as a lifestyle channel for Africa similar to Discovery’s HGTV and BBC Lifestyle.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment, said: “Now it’s time to showcase to ourselves the best of our fashion, the best of our cooking and the best of the way in which we live.”
The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) has begun accepting registrations for its new online masterclass series available on the MTF portal.
Starting off with a 20-module masterclass series tagged Produce Like a Pro, the masterclass offers exclusive access to practical, expert-led skills workshops that afford film and television professionals the ability to interact and learn from the best in Africa.
According to Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment, the offering is part of MultiChoice Group’s mission to upskill emerging creatives and seasoned professionals in the Film and TV industry.
The Produce Like a Pro series will compliment recorded masterclasses which address industry concerns such as accessibility, opportunity and quality in local productions and is available to over 25 000 registered users with a profile on the MTF portal.
“What makes the Produce Like a Pro series unique is that it’s been specially designed as an A to Z package for tools and templates to equip new producers with the know-how to operate in this industry. From budgeting to casting, the modules have been created by Marie Rosholt, a highly esteemed pioneer in reality television as executive producer of 12 series of Big Brother, Survivor, Fear Factor, Deal or No Deal and other series,” said Phahle.
“The recorded masterclasses have been filmed and packaged by our MTF students sharing the industry masterclasses hosted by our MTF Academies in Lagos, Nairobi and Lusaka, with leading industry experts including Tunde Kelani, Christian Epps and Steve Gukas.”
The MTF portal is a pan-African, film and television digital marketplace for information sharing on all aspects of Africa’s creative industry. The MTF portal offers open, cost-free access to film creatives across Africa to showcase their talent, access opportunities, stay up to date with industry news and expand their industry network.
MultiChoice’s digital terrestrial platform GOtv is adding WarnerMedia channels Cartoon Network and TNT to its line-up.
From November 12, the channels will offer subscribers across English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa children’s entertainment as well as Hollywood blockbusters.
The titles will include Ben 10, Craig of the Creek, Teen Titans Go, The Amazing World of Gumball, an exclusive original production of Victor & Valentino and films such as Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, Spy Kids and Jumanji.
Guillaume Coffin, WarnerMedia’s VP commercial and head of business development for France and Africa, said: “We are thrilled to bring Cartoon Network and TNT to a wider African audience and to extend our partnership with MultiChoice through GOtv. The quality of our channels, combined with MultiChoice’s excellence in marketing, will contribute to bringing our premium quality American features and innovative kids’ content to an even wider audience on the African continent.
“We are convinced that our existing fans will be as excited about this new entertainment experience as we are, and we look forward to welcoming our new GOtv fans to join in on the fun just in time for the festive season.”
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment at the MultiChoice Group, added: “As the home of African television, it’s always a win for us to be able to deliver on making great entertainment accessible to more customers with top family entertainment. This new partnership with WarnerMedia is an example of that.
“We look forward to continuing to deliver more choice and value to our customers as Africa’s most loved storyteller.”
MultiChoice Group’s pay TV operator DStv has announced it will no longer remove two A+E Networks EMEA channels from its platform.
The History and Lifetime channels will remain but Crime + Investigation has been cut off.
MultiChoice CEO Mark Rayner revealed the group has signed a new multi-year contract. “We’ve reached an agreement with A+E Networks for terms that we think are acceptable to our DStv subscribers for both History and Lifetime, but Crime + Investigation is still ending,” he said.
“Two further channels from another provider will be announced before the middle of November as a replacement for Crime + Investigation, as well as another factual documentary channel. We’re just finalising technical launch plans so that we can be clear on a launch date.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment, added: “We are excited to have reached this agreement as it allows us to ensure we meet our commitment to get the best programming for our customers, based on commercial terms that make sense and provide a value for money offering to customers. We are pleased that Lifetime will also now be available to our Compact package customers.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and feedback and have their best interests in mind as we continue to work hard to improve our entertainment offering.”
“We are pleased to have agreed a long-term renewal of our flagship brands, History and Lifetime, in Africa with our partner DStv. As part of this renewal, the new distribution of Lifetime in Compact presents an exciting opportunity to reach millions of new viewers with our unique programming offering”, said Dean Possenniskie, MD of A+E Networks EMEA.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has added Discovery’s entertainment channel Real Time to its DStv and Gotv services to be aired all over the continent.
Rolling out today, Real Time features programmes that depict real-life stories, crime, medicine and nature.
According to Amanda Turnbull, VP and general manager for Discovery in Africa and the Middle East, Discovery will be offering world-class content to more African viewers including a personalised channel targeted at the modern African woman and her family.
She said: “Discovery is incredibly excited to present Real Time to a broader audience in the market and to further diversify and expand the brand’s local portfolio offering.”
Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “MultiChoice is excited to welcome the new channel which will give viewers access to a wide variety of entertaining television shows from Discovery.”
Real Time was recently added to DStv for its subscribers in South Africa, to the Chinese StarTimes in Africa and also to the StarTimes StarSat brand in South Africa.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has appointed Nkateko Mabaso as the new CEO of its flagship channel M-Net in sub-Saharan Africa. The appointment is effective immediately.
According to Mabaso’s predecessor Yolisa Phahle: “Nkateko has been appointed in recognition of his continued commitment and contribution to local programming that audiences love and watch in increasing numbers year on year. He is passionate about our continent’s film and television industry and I wish him every success.”
While serving as the acting CEO of M-Net, Mabaso ensured the successful implementation of content strategies as well as investments in initiatives like content creation and coproduction.
He also ensured local channels that MultiChoice operates across the continent produced content that generated revenue and massive audience growth. These channels include the Africa Magic channels, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo, Zambezi Magic, Mzansi Magic, 1Magic and others.
Mabaso said: “I am incredibly excited to assume this new role and for the future of the company. I will continue to focus my efforts on local content creation to meet the growing audience demand for home-grown programming.”
Mabaso joined M-Net in 2009 as a marketing manager for Channel O and Vuzu, where he oversaw the positioning strategy ahead of the Mzansi Magic launch. Before that, he held positions at advertising agencies The Jupiter Drawing Room and Grey Advertising South Africa, as well as project manager for Edcon Group.
MultiChoice has launched a new channel, Star Life, on its pay TV platforms.
Starting from this week, DSTV and GOtv subscribers will have access to a 24/7 English-language channel that promises to showcase over two decades’ worth of award-winning and A-list shows. This includes TV dramas, Bollywood movies, celebrity dance shows and blockbuster movies.
However, Star Life is exclusive to DSTV Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Family and GOtv Max bouquet subscribers. It will air on DSTV channel 167 and GOtv channel 23.
Speaking about the new channel, Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice’s CEO of general entertainment, said: “Delighting our customers with exceptional content is key for our business.
“What makes Star Life a remarkable addition to our content offering is that it has content that is relatable, with shows that aim to tell stories about weaknesses, strengths, miracles and victories.”
Star Life is from Asian satellite TV group Star, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. Star is one of the leading companies in Indian TV programming and operates in 100+ countries worldwide.
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.