The African marketplace is now worth half a billion US Dollars in annual TV content wholesale sales – double the figure from 2010.

According to Basic Lead, Africa’s TV content market programmes sales and advertising revenues generated by the African audiovisual industry has doubled over the past 4 years. Balancing Act’s Sylvain Béletre interviewed Patrick Jucaud-Zuchowicki, General Manager of BASIC LEAD, the organisation behind « Discop Africa » and Discopro events. Discop Africa and Discopro are to date the continent’s leading Television industry events.

Discop Africa gathers 2000+ exhibiting and non-exhibiting delegates from 90 countries representing 1000+ companies driving TV content business and digital changes across and with Africa. Over 2,000 participants are expected to attend again this year.
Launched in 2012, DISCOPRO is a Pan-African pitching, mentoring and networking program, designed to deliver the vital resources in development, coproduction and distribution stages, critical for content production. DISCOPRO takes place at DISCOP Africa, Africa’s #1 TV content and adaptation rights market, where 95% of the Continent’s annual TV content wholesale business is conducted. With eight editions under its belt, DISCOP Africa continues to bring together qualified buyers and sellers of audiovisual content and service providers.
Q. How has the African audiovisual marketplace evolved since you initially launched Discop Africa ?
A. Africa’s media content production is evolving fast. Young demographics, new business models, and rating systems in select countries offer new opportunities for development. The African continent’s annual TV content wholesale business is already worth over half a billion dollars — double the figure from 2010.

Technological advances in broadband and Pay-TV services, strong mobile device use and the rollout of digital television point to a growing market, with a strong demand for innovative content.
Q. Are there more home-grown TV programmes being produced out of Africa?
A. There is an increased demand for locally produced content. The African audience wants to be represented on television; Africa is ready to share its rich culture through high-quality productions and international broadcasting. Africa is ready to claim its share of the global entertainment market and transition from massive importer to exporter of content.
Q. How is Discopro supporting the African audiovisual industry? Why should African audiovisual professionals attend Discopro and Discop Africa?
A. In order to grow this sector, African producers need a forum to pitch their brilliant ideas, source funding, seek co-production opportunities, and learn from experts, innovators and risk-takers.
The 3-day DISCOPRO program offers a high value programme of international standards:
• Expert guidance from renowned professionals, handpicked to shape local producers into global media creators.
• Lectures and hands-on workshops focus on project development and funding, pitching and sales techniques, and co-production.
• Opportunity in the form of Pitching Competitions, which allow producers to present their ideas to potential partners who have the means to turn those pitches into viable pilots.
• Cash prizes for the 1st and 2nd place winners, to serve as seed funding to develop the winning concepts into concrete commercial materials.
• Networking with possible co-production partners, development and acquisition executives, and other useful contacts to help further their careers and projects.
• Access to a pan-African TV content and adaptation rights market aimed at the driving forces behind television business and digital changes in Africa.
• Matchmaking in the form of meeting organization services (pre-market and onsite). Our expert team helps participants schedule and confirm meetings with identifiable prospects.


Picture below: Patrick Jucaud-Zuchowicki, General Manager of BASIC LEAD

Q. Where do you hold DISCOPRO and why?
A. We hold DISCOPRO at the Sandton Convention Centre, Africa’s most prestigious exhibition center. This is no coincidence: participants perceive Johannesburg as a choice destination for business and pleasure travel. South Africa offers unmatched creative and production capabilities. In 1995, the country’s production industry employed 4,000 people; less than 20 years later, the number has multiplied to 30,000. South Africais increasingly attracting larger-scale foreign productions as studios choose to take advantage of high-end facilities, skilled crews and various financial and fiscal incentives.

DISCOPRO is planned in partnership with Africa’s most active producer associations, the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa, and the organizers of DISCOP Africa, Africa’s #1 TV content and adaptation rights market.

The first six editions of DISCOP Africa were held in Dakar, Accra and Nairobi. In 2012, the tradeshow permanently moved to Johannesburg.
Q. What are the key highlights from DISCOPRO last year?
A. Last year, a full agenda of training sessions delivered by 70+ key practitioners offered essential education and business intelligence fit to navigate the contours of regional and international co-productions. DISCOPRO saw a significant 18% increase in attendance over the previous year. In the end, 271 independent producers from 48 countries attended the 2013 edition of DISCOPRO. The pitching competitions featured 60 (sixty) original, compelling projects presented in front of renowned production, programming and sales experts. The grand winners were:
• FORMAT category: The Hook Up (South Africa) by Kaye Ann Williams from Penguin Films;
• TV SERIES category: Once Upon a Time in Africa (Kenya) an animated series by Marie Lora-Mungai from Buni Media / Buni TV.
• DOCUMENTARY category: Ex Generation (Kenya) by Wairuri Njeru from Tattuah Films.
Jury members included some notable industry players:
a) For the FORMAT category
· Avi Armoza – Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Armoza Formats
· Helga Palmer – Head of Creative Department, Endemol South Africa
· Nick Smith – Vice President Format Sales, All 3 Media International
· Marguerite Albrecht – Commissioning Editor, Kyknet
· Elize Park – Commissioning Editor, SABC
b) For the TV SERIES category
· Alain Modot – Co-founder & President, DIFFA / Media Consulting Group
· Laeticia N’Cho – General Manager, Cote Quest
· Hannelie Bekker – Managing Director, Wananchi Programming Group/Zuku TV
· François Deplanck – VP Programming & Channel Relations, Canal+ Overseas
· Molefi Lebone – Key Creative, Endemol South Africa
c) For the DOCUMENTARY category
· Anton Burgraaf – Head of Entertainment Television, Endemol South Africa
· Hans-Christian Mahnke – Director, AfricAvenir
· Levern Engel – CEO, Modern African Productions
· Neiloe Whitehead – Production Manager, National Film and Video Foundation SA
· Rehad Desai – CEO & Producer, Uhuru Productions
Q. Which audiovisual professionals should attend Discopro?
A. The event targets representatives from the following sectors of activity: Primary delegates are buyers and sellers of audiovisual content from FTA and pay-TV platforms, online and mobile services content distributors, and content production companies. We are also getting an increased interest from service providers and from content management and delivery solutions companies, TV equipment manufacturers and distributors, audience measurement agencies, subscribers management services or advertising or media buying firms. Lastly, we also get representatives from financial institutions, public agencies and governmental bodies such as regulators and communication/broadcast ministries, trade associations, analysts consultants and members of the press.
Q. What are your goals for DISCOPRO 2014?
A. DISCOPRO has declared the following objectives for this year’s edition:
Bring together 500 independent producers, aspiring writers, commissioning, co-production and programming executives, sales agents and investors; Feature 200 TV show projects requiring funding and distribution; Select and showcase 20 unique, original TV series, formats, documentaries and animation projects for the 4 (four) pitching competitions.
Since February 2014, our staff has embarked on a Pan-African road trip to reach out to local producers about the opportunities offered by DISCOPRO. These presentations, planned in partnership with associations of producers, took the team to Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Rwanda. Further trips are schedule to Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, DRC, Cameroon, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda. These meetings also allow the DISCOPRO staff to identify issues producers are faced with in their daily struggle to produce localized content.
The 2014 general program will put great emphasis on coproduction initiatives between English and French speaking Africa. Over 55% of all French-speakers live in Africa, and for 2014, Ivory Coast is DISCOPRO’s guest country. DISCOPRO will start preliminary discussions to establish the framework of a coproduction treaty between South Africa and Ivory Coast, the first of its kind between an English and a French-speaking
Another large theme of this year’s program will be local sports content production, as this segment is largely under developed in Africa. With digital migration creating demand for more sports content and brands ready to pay top dollars for sponsorship opportunities, DISCOPRO will help aspiring sports producers understand the level of detail that goes into the crafting of sports programming.
There will be some Pitching Competitions. The one-day competition starts Thursday, November 6th. A new pitching category, Animation, will be added to the program. Producers taking part in DISCOPRO will be invited to enter any, or all of the four competitions with one project per competition. Submissions will be accepted until September 15th, and an internal committee will nominate 5 projects per category. The nominees will be publicized on October 6th.
For each category, a panel of 5 industry experts will choose 1 Winner and 1 Runner-Up to receive cash prizes. The winner will receive US$ 2,000, and the runner-up US$ 1,000, to be used as seed funding. The audience also votes on its favorite pitch for each category, and the winner receives a cash bonus of US$ 500. Winners and runner-ups will also be provided with production guidance as well as with complimentary access to next year’s DISCOPRO.
We will also hold a mentoring and training program. DISCOPRO’s two-track, bilingual program expands on the fundamentals of producing and distributing content. The final list of sessions will be available on August 11th.

A series of 16 (sixteen) workshops has been designed for small groups of creative and business-minded producers. These 90-minute workshops will be lead by experts in the fields of marketing, law, production, distribution and business development. The sessions will be recorded, and the content will be made available online, in English and French, shortly after. Topics and issues to be tackled in the program will include Advertiser funded production models; cross-media storytelling; Crowd funding ; Designing a worldwide, multi-platform sales strategy; Introduction to sports content production; New platforms, new approach to content rights; Pros and cons of dubbing and subtitling, and much more.
We also want to highlight the networking, sales and fund raising opportunities.
DISCOPRO participants will be able to access online matchmaking services. They will also be able to request personalized assistance for the organization of their meetings with creators and commissioning, production and distribution executives.

Producers will also have access to THE MEETING ZONE, a special area furnished with individual tables available for 30-minute meetings. A dedicated team of meeting organization experts will be available to setup and confirm last-minute meetings.
Q. What are the event’s dates ?
A. DISCOPRO 2014 is to be held from Wednesday, November 5th to Friday, November 7th, 2014,
The award ceremony will take place in Johannesburg on Friday, November 7th, in the presence of 150+ influential VIP Guests involved in television content development, production and distribution.
With offices in Los Angeles and Johannesburg, and over 25 years in the market, Basic Lead has planned and executed over 150+ international events in over 30 countries. Events include consumer and trade exhibitions, conferences, road shows, public relations functions and award ceremonies. Basic Lead has a multilingual operational team based in Johannesburg entirely dedicated to DISCOPRO, and will execute all planning, research, international marketing, and advance meeting organization for the event.

Manchester MAHAPA - Producers Relations / English speaking countries
Sine THEBAMAGONA - Producers Relations / English speaking countries
Betty YENGO - Producers Relations / French speaking countries
Patrick ZUCHOWICKI - General Manager – patrickzuchowicki(at)
TEL JOHANNESBURG + 27 11 48 26 110 TEL LOS ANGELES + 1 (323) 782 13 00


Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act's web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 16 issues and these can be viewed on this link: Essential reading for those in broadcast or film. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to with Digital Content Africa in the title line.
Here are some examples of past issues below:

Ghanaian online platform Reel African announces the launch of first viewer votes feature film competition with cash prize

Online film, music and TV content in Africa – In search of the elusive business model

Zimbabwe’s TV Yangu offers a social TV platform with original programming

Nigerian VoD content platform Dobox TV offers simultaneous online premiere of cinema releases

Video clip interviews this week:

Tunde Kelani on his latest film Dazzling Mirage about a family hit by sickle cell anemia

An African Edutainment TV Revolution - Can you mix a message with a good story?

Biyi Bandele talks about his new film Half of a Yellow Sun

Hafiz and Nadeem Juma, AIM Group, discuss digital content in Tanzania

Billy Kahora on writing the script for award-winning film Soul Boy

Tendeka Matatu on his forthcoming film about South Africa's corrupt police chief Jackie Selebie

Ayob Alarbi on a Libyan black TV comedy about the current insecurity in the country

Graham Wallington on WildEarth TV's live streaming of animals in Africa & elsewhere

Nick Wilson on Africa's answer to South Park - My Child: Teenage Mutant Azanians

A Different Nollywood: Andy Kozlov on a Nigerian-Ukrainian co-production, Feathered Dreams

Daniel Effiong on his 3 part film series of great Nigerian historic mysteries

Kunle Afolayan on his latest film October 1

Debra Odutuyo on her latest TV comedy show T Boy and changes in season 2 of Meet The Adebanjos

Nyasha Mboti on ReaGile's plan to build 1300 cinemas in South Africa's townships

Mo Abudu on how she started Ebony Life TV and licensing Desperate Housewives from Walt Disney

Gaurav Singh, Chief Digital Officer, Scan Group on when brands will spend more on digital in Africa

Hans-Christian Mahnke on Namibian film-makers and the state of the country's film industry

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