Africa’s most-loved storyteller shares exciting content plans for 2020
MultiChoice Group (MCG) hosted its second annual media showcase, under the theme ‘Africa’s most-loved storyteller’, in Johannesburg today with representatives from across the African continent in attendance.
“Much has been achieved since our first showcase event,” shared Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO of General Entertainment. “The MultiChoice Group listed on the JSE Main Board on 27 February 2019, an important milestone in our exciting journey of growth.”
In Africa, people love entertainment more than most, with daily consumption of video entertainment on the continent around 50% higher than the global average. As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MCG’s commitment is not only to create platforms for sharing Africa’s stories but also investing in the development of local content and local talent to ensure that the video entertainment industry across the continent thrives and grows to compete with the best in the world. With over 30 years’ experience, MCG is the leading producer of local content in its markets.
“Local content is a key differentiator for us, and we intend to continue producing more of it for our various markets. Our latest set of half-year results showed a 12% increase year-on-year in the number of hours of local content production, and our local content library now exceeds 54 000 hours,” added Phahle. “We will continue to shift a greater percentage of spend towards local content.”
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 local author, Deon Meyer. The locally-produced drama, The River, was nominated for an international Emmy Award and MCG won an award at the Seoul International Drama Awards in Korea for The Herd. The final 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% in relation to the previous season.
“Our investment in the development of local talent enables us to be a contributor to award-winning entertainment content that resonates with our 18.9 million subscribers across the continent,” continued Phahle.
Hot on the heels of Trackers, MCG has announced a new collaboration with international producers, Mannequin Pictures. The co-produced “Rogue” – which is set to launch on Showmax next year – is a thrilling man vs animal drama which pits a team of ex-military fighters against foreign terrorists and a pride of escaped lions, as they battle to save a group of school girls from the clutches of a terror organisation.
“True to the spirit of genuine collaboration, this co-production combines the knowhow and talent of Hollywood with our local talent and crew, making it a perfect fit with our strategy of elevating our content production to an international level. It also creates job opportunities and improves the economics of filmmaking for everyone,” explained Phahle.
Bringing top-quality international content to African screens is also a key part of MCG’s mandate. “We constantly review our content and channel offering to ensure our audiences are given fresh and exciting content. We are thrilled to be launching three exciting new international channels on DStv today,” said Phahle.
Airing for the first time in Africa and activated live at the showcase event today, the CuriosityStream channel will deliver a world of factual entertainment in one place, while CBS Justice will enthral viewers with true crime documentaries. EuroNews will add a European flavour to the already extensive portfolio of news channels on offer on DStv’s various platforms. 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.
In addition to this wide variety of entertainment content, MCG continues to bring subscribers the best local and international sporting content. MCG continues to partner with the PSL in the ever-popular MultiChoice Diski Challenge, a soccer development programme that offers opportunities to young aspiring footballers to enter the professional league and to those who choose to work behind the cameras who are involved in producing the soccer matches that are broadcast live into the homes of thousands of soccer fans.
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 Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup, where SuperSport was one of only four official broadcasters.
“In addition to the Springboks making history at the 2019 Rugby World Cup Finals, another revolution has been quietly underway,” adds Phahle. “This year marks the point that live-streaming of sports went mainstream in Africa, breaking all-time online viewing records. The final had an amazing three times more peak concurrent viewers than in the first game.”
Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport, also shared some exciting sports content that enthusiastic sports fans can look forward to in 2020. The sports channel will be broadcasting “The Match in Africa” – the tennis showdown between two of the greatest players in tennis history, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Cape Town on 7 February 2019. Also on offer will be the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which are scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020. With five 24-hour channels, SuperSport will ensure that every medal event will be broadcast live.
In the ever-advancing world of video entertainment, innovation is a key driver of the business. MCG has dedicated resources and the best expertise to ensure it continuously improves the way in which customers interact with the business. Using the behavioural patterns of its customers and how they consume content, the company has been able to create platforms tailored to customer needs.
Earlier this year, MCG launched three new self-service apps: the DStv app, GoTV app and DStv’s Self Service on WhatsApp. The company also redesigned its website to ensure a better user journey for customers. By creating tailored customer experiences, MCG is driving user engagement on its various platforms such as DStv Now, Showmax and BoxOffice.
“Ultimately, it is about improving our customers’ viewing experiences by offering value for money, understanding customer preferences, delivering high-quality entertainment and sports content and tailoring platforms for diverse audiences. This also means we need to stay ahead of technology, ensuring that our customers get access to their favourite shows, anytime and anywhere,” concluded Phahle.