After a year of action and unprecedented activity, the MultiChoice Group has unveiled an equally busy and eventful year ahead for its business operations, partners and customers across Africa.
MultiChoice Zimbabwe publicity and public relations manager Liz Dziva said some of the plans for an exciting 2020 were unveiled at the recent MultiChoice media showcase, held in South Africa and attended by MultiChoice representatives and media personalities from across the continent.
“It was the second annual media showcase, held under the theme Africa’s Most-Loved Storyteller, and aimed at encouraging interest in the MultiChoice Group as an organisation and DStv as a brand.
“Those of us in attendance heard that many positive things had been achieved since the first showcase, held in 2018, among them the listing of the MultiChoice Group on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on February 27, a major milestone in a journey of growth.”
As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MCG’s commitment to creating platforms for sharing Africa’s stories and investing in the development of local content and local talent was also highlighted and the group re-committed to helping ensure that the video entertainment industry across the continent thrives and grows to compete with the best in the world.
“With more than 30 years’ experience, MCG is the leading producer of local content in Africa,” said Ms Dziva.
“There was an emphasis on the message that local content is a key differentiator for us, and MCG intends to producing more of it for the various markets. Half-year results showed a 12 percent increase year-on-year in the number of hours of local content production, and the local content library now exceeds 54 000 hours.”
Local content highlights over the past six months have included the launch of MCG’s first international co-production, Trackers, based on the book by South African author Deon Meyer. The locally-produced drama The River was nominated for an Emmy Award and MCG won an award at the Seoul International Drama Awards in Korea for The Herd.
Votes cast in the latest season of Big Brother Naija increased to a record 240 million and the ratings for Survivor South Africa rose by 36 percent in comparison to the previous season.
“We heard that investment in the development of local talent enables MCG to be a contributor to award-winning entertainment content that resonates with 18.9 million subscribers across the continent.”
MCG also unveiled a new collaboration with international producers Mannequin Pictures with the co-produced Rogue, set to launch on Showmax in 2020.
“This will be a thrilling man-versus-animal drama that pits a team of ex-military fighters against foreign terrorists and a pride of escaped lions, as they battle to save a group of schoolgirls from the clutches of a terror organisation,” said Ms Dziva.
In the spirit of collaboration, this co-production will combine the know-how and talent of Hollywood with local talent, making for a perfect fit in keeping with the strategy of elevating content production to an international level. This also creates job opportunities and improves the economics of filmmaking for everyone involved.
Bringing top-quality international content to African screens is also key in the MCG mandate.
“A constant review of international content and channel offerings will ensure African audiences are given fresh and exciting content, such as the launch of three exciting new international channels on DStv in November alone,” she said.
“These are CuriosityStream, with its world of factual entertainment in one place, CBS Justice with its true crime documentaries and EuroNews, which adds a European perspective to the already extensive portfolio of news channels on DStv. The launch of these channels follows MCG’s recent agreement with A+E Networks to extend the carriage contract for History and Lifetime, which continue to air on DStv.”
MCG’s commitment extends to continuing to bring subscribers the best local and international sporting content. Over the past year, using the latest broadcasting technology, equipment and a skilled crew, SuperSport delighted sports fans with world-class broadcasts of the Africa Cup of Nations, the ICC Cricket World Cup and the IRB Rugby World Cup, at which SuperSport was one of only four official broadcasters. This year also marked the point that live-streaming of sports went mainstream in Africa, breaking online viewing records.
Sports content in 2020 will include the Summer Olympics in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, as well as “the Match in Africa,” a tennis showdown between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Cape Town on February 7. With five 24-hour channels, SuperSport will ensure that every Olympics medal event will be broadcast live.
Ms Dziva said that innovation was a driver of business for MCG, which had dedicated resources and expertise to ensure continuous improvement in the way in which customers interact with the business.
“Using knowledge of the behavioural patterns of customers and how they consume content, the company has been able to create platforms tailored to customer needs.”
Earlier this year, MCG launched new self-service apps, including the DStv app. The company also redesigned its website to ensure an even better user journey for customers. By creating tailored customer experiences, MCG is driving user engagement on its various platforms such as DStv Now and BoxOffice.
“What the media showcase revealed to us was the extent to which the MCG thrust into and for Africa is solid, strong and poised for even greater things,” said Ms Dziva.
“I can’t wait for 2020 and I know that DStv viewers in Zimbabwe will benefit enormously from what is going to be done for them in the coming 12 months