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Media group pledges commitment to creative sector, promises to enhance customer experience

By Ransome Ngbeahuru
01 December 2019   |   4:14 am
MultiChoice Group (MCG) has reiterated its commitment to the development of the creative industry in the continent.

Faces at the event

MultiChoice Group (MCG) has reiterated its commitment to the development of the creative industry in the continent.

At the last Joburg Film Festival, sponsored by the company, three Nigerian films — Living in Bondage: Breaking Free (directed by Ramsey Noah), The Herbert Macaulay Affair (directed by Imoh Umoren) and Farming (directed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) — were screened.

The festival featured a curated mix of 60 of the finest films and documentaries from across Africa and around the world – including a once off screening of South Africa’s 2020 Academy Award contender, Knuckle City.

Films produced by graduates of the M-Net Magic in Motion (MiM) internship programme and the MultiChoice Talent Factory’s (MTF) Academies in East, West and Southern Africa will also be screened at the dedicated structure on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton and at Kings Theatre in Alexandra, at no cost.

Speaking on the group’s vision for the creative sector, when it hosted its second yearly media showcase under the theme, ‘Africa’s most-loved storyteller’, in Johannesburg, South Africa recently, Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of General Entertainment, said the group has achieved much since its first showcase event.

She stated that this year’s media showcase was the first since being listed as an independent media company.

Phahle highlighted the many achievements made by the company in the past year, saying the group will continue to make a significant investment in promoting local talent and developing the African creative industry through initiatives such as the MultiChoice Talent Factory and Magic in Motion.

On local content, the company now has 18 local language channels across all continent. “We will continue to increase our local content spend and also industry development. As we continue to develop our various markets, we are committed to consolidating the company’s position as Africa’s most loved storyteller,” Phahle said.

Also speaking, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, Channel Director, Africa Magic, said the portfolio of local content production carried out by MultiChoice is geared towards ensuring the video entertainment industry across the continent thrives and grows to compete with the best in the world.

Mba-Uzoukwu noted that the launch of the two brand new telenovelas, Brethren and Unbroken, shown on its Africa Magic channels, reiterated the brand’s commitment not only to create platforms for sharing Africa’s stories, but to continue its investment in the development of local content and local talent.

“We will not relent in ensuring that our customers have the best local entertainment for Africa, by Africans with our double bill of intense drama and intrigue, airing six days every week,” she said.
The group also pledged its commitment to emphasise on improved customer service, promising to bring top-quality international content to African screens.

In a related development, TAC Studios, the production arm of US-based The Africa Channel’s newly created contents, Move On and Asylum, as well as My Design Rules and May’s Kitchen headlined 2019’s DISCOP Johannesburg.

These new shows will feature as part of the studio’s premium premier slate for local African distribution amongst its broad catalogue of African-influenced content.

Brendan Gabriel, the Johannesburg-based Head of Creative and Production for TAC Studios, said, “as the borders of content become blurred thanks to OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon, our new and current slate of finished and development shows aspire to meet the demand for content with appeal beyond its borders of origin. This has always been our core agenda of our mother ship, The Africa Channel, that has for over the past 12 years bridged the geographical divide between African influenced content and North America.”

Gabriel’s sentiments are reflected in the studios’ scripted co-developments, Asylum, with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia producer Conor Galvin, and Move On, with award-winning writer-producer trio, Matt and Jordan Toronto and Anders Lykke Pedersen.

Conor Galvin’s Asylum is a single camera workplace comedy series that follows the lives of the support staff in a foreign embassy in South Africa. International intrigue and global crises are above their pay grade, but there is no shortage of betrayal, alliances, or comedic intrigue.

Move On is a comedy series about a frantic romantic on a desperate quest to silence her late husband’s ghost who barges in on every date with a consoling message for her potential suitors.

While My Design Rules, a home design competition series, and May’s Kitchen, an original cooking series filmed in Egypt, were created with a global aesthetic for audiences both across Africa as well as for North American and UK Pay TV.

They come on the heels of other recent productions from the studio including, Africa on a Plate, Minjiba Entertains, and World Wide Nate, which have successfully been distributed to platforms in Africa as well as globally.

Narendra Reddy, General Manager of the channel added, “Our finished and in-development originals stand as testament to our commitment to building and investing in talent to foster quality and excellence in media production on the continent. We anticipate engaging with local broadcast networks seeking finished shows and investment in pre-sales in content that is uniquely African with an international production aesthetic.”