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Low turnout at 2019 DISCOP Joburg as african marketplace evolves

By Ransome Mgbeahuru
08 December 2019   |   3:22 am
The eighth edition of DISCOP Johannesburg ended last week with a lower attendance in comparison to last year — leading to some key changes in the 2020 edition.

The eighth edition of DISCOP Johannesburg ended last week with a lower attendance in comparison to last year — leading to some key changes in the 2020 edition.

976 delegates from 68 countries, down from 1155 delegates in 2018, attended the 3-day film, television and digital content market and co-production forum, including 194 content buyers and 216 content producers from Africa, and 281 international content distributors.

As a result, organizers are moving forward with plans to hold the 3-day content market and co-production forum at the end of July. The next edition of the film fiesta will be held from July 29 to 31.

“In July, content buyers still have money to spend for the current year. Budgets are much tighter at the end of November and negotiations always slow down before the holiday season,” says Patrick Zuchowicki, President of DISCOP.

He added, “October and November are also very busy months with MIPCOM, MIP CANCUN and the American Film Market pulling a lot of resources out of global content distributors.”

Despite a difficult economic outlook and challenging market conditions, organizers are happy to report a boom in intraregional business signaling exciting new opportunities as content produced in Africa is increasingly headed to other countries on the continent.

In response to these important shifts, this change of dates will also bring DISCOP ABIDJAN (27 to 29 May) closer to the fiesta. Being held two months apart from each other, the proximity of the two events will help forge stronger ties between content producers, buyers, and sellers from Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

Organizers also reported a well-attended sidebar conference and workshop program featuring 30 sessions; most of them dedicated exclusively to content coproduction, monetization and distribution issues. 65 speakers shared the stage representing the likes of Netflix, The Africa Channel, Al Jazeera, the African Animation Network, Agence France Presse, Warner Media, Icon Comics, Kana TV, Cote Ouest, Vubiquity, SABC, Rapid Blue, GRB Entertainment, Afrikatoon, Multichoice, Euronews/Africanews, IDC, Zee Entertainment, WeWork, AAA Entertainment, Known Associates Entertainment, Voice of America, Twentieth Century Fox Television Studios, ITV, Discovery, etc.

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Meanwhile, AFRIDOCS, Africa’s only free streaming platform for documentary films, is set to bring some of the best documentaries to TV screens across the continent. The 2019 edition of Migration Stories will see six moving documentaries about the various realities of migration from an African perspective.

With the support of the German Government, AfriDocs will present stories that reflect the difficulties of migration as faced by thousands of people looking for a better life in Europe.

This diversity of films from Kenya, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Burundi as well as from Europe bring in to stark focus the hardships that drive many Africans to leave their homelands, as well as the stark realities awaiting those who do.

The films are being screened as a way to increase awareness around migration in the communities that are most affected.

The films are available to stream on Africa’s only FREE streaming platforms for documentary films, AfriDocs Anytime, www.afridocs.net that will stream all six of the documentaries anytime for anyone viewing from Africa.

Free to Air TV screenings will also hold in the Horn of Africa and in Nigeria and Ghana during December and January.

The following films are available for streaming, Cinema Dadaab, Special Flight, Espoir Voyage, Chez Jolie Coiffure, Rosina Mbakam, Uncertain Future, No Way Back and A Walk on the Tightrope.