Issue no 65 14th October 2009

top story

  • Thema has pioneered offering a bouquet of African channels to the diaspora in France with considerable success in subscriber terms. It is now turning its attention to offering a VOD service to its growing number of viewers. And meanwhile Gabonese TV channel 3A Telesud on Bouygues Telecom’s Canal 215. Most of this innovation is happening in France but surely the same opportunities exist in Anglophone markets? Russell Southwood looks at what’s happening. Also in the issue, Sylvain Beletre went to MIPCOM to see what it meant for the African industry – see the Distribution section below.

    French distributor Thema which launched a 6 channel African diaspora bouquet in France has increased the number of channels to eight and has attracted 46,000 subscribers, well beyond its initial target. Some of its distributors are reporting that Thema’s African bouquet is one of their best sellers.

    It will shortly launch a VOD African content offer based on a monthly subscription for around 5 euros with unlimited access. It is claiming to be the first African VOD content library but this claim may actually be a close race between it and M-Net’s African film library which launched recently.

    According to Thema’s CEO Francois Thiellet the VOD service will “very much focus on popular African films, series and programmes.” Thema has bought global VOD rights for these programmes so there is no reason why in the future the service might extend beyond French soil. The rights have been set quite low to start with but will go up as subscriber numbers increase.

    There is no way of knowing how many subscribers will sign up for the service as there are no precedents for this type of content offer. Nevertheless in France, VOD content more generally is 80% feature films and of that, 80% are adult films.

    Meanwhile Gabonese TV channel 3A Telesud, which gives access to magazines and local information has been adopted by Bouygues-Telecom's BBox on "canal 215".

    3A Telesud is a 24-hour-a-day French-language channel broadcasting a variety of content for the audience of African and Caribbean descent and the African Diaspora.

    It offers a variety of African and Caribbean programming including news, talk-shows, magazines, documentaries, music videos, live concerts and much more. Also on 3A TELESUD viewers can see major African festivals and events such as the Pan-African Music Festival (Fespam), the Pan-African Film Festival (Fespaco) and the African International Festival of Comedy and Music (Afrikakeur Festival).

    3A Telesud is also available from by other satellite, TV and triple play providers as follows:

    • SFR/Neuf TV: canal 443

    • Orange TV: canal 380

    • Freebox TV: canal 167 *

    • Numéricable: canal 97

    • Noos: canal 79

    • Club Internet: canal 167

    In Europe, Telesud can be viewed via:

    • Satellite Hot Bird 6: 126 (free)

    • Hotbird 6 (free)

    *available on the "Free" bouquet for an extra 0,49 €/month.

    In Africa, Telesud is also available on Canal Satellite Horizon: canal 12.


  • In June 2010, South Africa (SA) will host the FIFA World Cup – a mega sporting event that is comparable only to the Olympic Games. In preparation for this global spectacular, the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) has compiled a catalogue of 2010 and soccer-themed titles, recently completed or currently in production. The catalogue was launched to international buyers attending MIPCOM 2009 – the leading content market held in Cannes, France each year.

    “There has been a dearth of 2010-themed content and international buyers have been clamouring for programmes that not only cover the World Cup but South Africa and Africa in general. The launch of the GFC’s catalogue has therefore been greeted with keen interest,” says Jacques Stoltz, GFC Senior Marketing Manager.

    Dan Jawitz from Fireworx Marketing & Distribution representing a number of the titles included in the catalogue says that he has seen keen interest from buyers from Brazil, Argentina and Malaysia attending MIPCOM this year.

  • At MIPCOM, IMG Entertainment was selling three major productions about Africa:

    *"Ross Kemp - in search of pirates" shows Ross Kemp investigates the rarely seen, dangerous and secretive world of modern piracy. With his BAFTA winning documentary team, Ross travels to the three pirate hotspots of the world: Somalia, Nigeria and South East Asia. He discovers why people commit acts of piracy, how they steal ships to order and kidnap crews, holding international companies to ransom and making millions of dollars in the process.

    A 3 x 45 min Tiger Aspect production.

    On top of these three programs, IMG is also be distributing ATP World Tour 250 - South Africa Open. Rights are available wold-wide except in sub-Saharan Africa. After the success of 2009’s inaugural event, the SA Open will return to Johannesburg in the first week of February 2010.

  • If recent happenings are anything to go by, Botswana is also set to establish its own solid film industry, dubbed « Botswood » in the style of Nollywood and Riverwood in Kenya. After years of only wildlife filming taking place in the country and the filming of Alexander McCall Smiths’ Number 1 Lady’s Detective wrapping up in 2007, a lot of young Batswana with much interest in film-making have decided to take up the camera to showcase their production and acting skills.

    Local movies produced and acted out by Batswana such as ‘Rra Dijo’, Chobolo, Ramco’s Flash and many more have been released on DVD. These films are now starting to give Nigerian movies massive competition for space in the living rooms of many Batswana. With local celebrities such funny man Joel ‘Ntsoro’ Keitumele and Vee showing what they can do in front of the silver screen, Batswana have grown fond of the movies which are usually filled with lots of laughter and a moral lesson in the end. With quite a small budget as compared to those in media houses across the border and no glitz and glamour of Tinsel town, local media houses have slowly started to producer top quality films, most of which depict the true lives of ordinary Batswana.

    One company by the name Dargie Advertising Agency seems to be leading the way, having produced and published a number of movies on DVD. Mogotsi Mox Gaolathe of Dargie Advertising Agency is of the view that the local industry is growing at a very rapid pace. “We have a great pool of talent in the country and this can only help us grow.” He however regrets that there are huge stumbling blocks. “Pirating of our production åis our biggest enemy; some foreign nationals tend to copy works and sell them for as cheap as P20,” says Gaolathe. He laments that even with the introduction of holograms the problem still persists because local authorities like the Botswana police still don’t have the full understanding of the copyrights laws.

    Asked why locally produced movies are not being showed in cinemas he said: “The people who own the cinemas in Botswana still don’t have faith in what we produce, they still need more convincing and that is why we are constantly engaging them on the matter.” He also criticises Botswana Television (Btv) for their lack of support for the industry which is still in its infancy.

    “Btv have failed to give local content any support even though most Batswana what to see them. When we try to show trailers of our movies they charge us exorbitant prices which might retard growth because capital is had to come by.” Gaolathe says his company has just released a DVD called O bone o je sereto Part 3 and 4, explaining that the movie focuses on the great in our society and local acting talents, Ntsoro and Mazabathi take leading roles in it.

  • Last week Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper interviewed the CEO of AIT/Daar Chief Raymond Dokpesi and we have presented some of the interesting responses below :

    On local content : » There is no way you'll look at a Nigerian produced video now and you won't want to conclude that it was produced in America, South Africa or Europe. The truth of the matter is that it is not only the artistes themselves that have developed, it is the entire industry. All the supporting groups have given tremendous support to the music industry and I believe that is good for Nigeria .

    National Broadcasting Commission has also gone further to say that on TV, certain time belts especially between 7 and 10pm should be reserved exclusively for Nigerian contents including Nigerian music. And I think that as time goes on, it will be possible to have close to 24hrs of the Nigerian content and Nigerian music will be the best for it because that is the readily available content. »

    On its satellite TV offer : » With the arrival of satellite TV, we can have a dedicated musical channel and Nigerian artistes or Africans all over can now have 24hrs dedicated music channels. DAAR SAT has 128 channels.

    32 of them are in high definition (HD) and 96 standard definition (SD). I think at present, we are running about 55 channels. It is only the satellite space capacity that is a limiting factor. By and large, if things go well we should soon be talking about how Nigerians will be able to enjoy full exposure, so that Nigerian artistes and musicians will be able to have dedicated channels and indigenous music for that matter. »

    On censorship in music : »I don't believe in censorship. This thing they call talent, you see, is something you can't regulate or legislate. You should allow the evolution of content and talent. People should continue to record themselves but not everything that are recorded should go on air immediately otherwise, it (the songs) will meet immediate failure. But most of these younger artistes are in so much haste, that they want to have their songs on air immediately.

    What I think every broadcast house should really do is to have a team that would preview songs and advice the artiste and the producer of the video on what areas they really need to work on to make it broadcast worthy. There is need for consultation but in most cases the cost of production is so high and when you don't consult before producing, the song or video is aired like that with every mistake that has been made. In most cases, you will see that artistes in the US don't release their videos very often because a lot of input coupled with necessary amendments are made before a video is released. But in Nigeria, you will find that anybody who thinks he or she has a good voice will either run to a studio to sing or want to produce a music video without thinking properly on the message the lyrics should pass across.

    (source : Vanguard)

  • - SABC1 introduces a new 13-part television series,'Nab’Ubomi' starting on Sunday, 11 October, between 12:30 and 13:00. Nab'Ubomi is an inter-school film-making competition which introduces young people to the media of film and television production. Opening doors to new career possibilities, it facilitates the discovery and development of talented senior high school students by allowing access to a creative world largely inaccessible to the vast majority of South African youth.

    Ten films were made in 2007; 11 in 2008; and 12 this year, making 33 Nab’Ubomi short films produced by youths and schools from the Eastern Cape to date.For more information, contact Project Director, Bryony Roughton by emailing Alternatively, email Co-producer Mayenzeke Baza on

    - Paul Emmanuel’s artist’s film, 3SAI: A Rite Of Passage has been selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Africa-in-Motion Film Festival 2009. Filmed in South Africa, Hilary Swank's new film, Amelia, is to open the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. The legal drama, Sokhulu & Partners, produced by Paw Paw Films and broadcast on SABC1 has been nominated for an International Emmy.

    - In the coming months Traffic will be producing an eight-part drama series on behalf of Mindset Network for PSI (Population Services International) Botswana. The series, which deals with the complex issues of HIV/AIDS, will be aired in the second quarter of 2010 on Botswana Television.

    Paulo Coelho's "Experimental Witch Project" will have its world premiere at The International Rome Film Festival on October 20th. Cape Town Director Tamsin Mac Carthy was one of 14 winners of famous author Paulo Coelho's "The Experimental Witch Project" out of 6000 submissions.


  • South Africa's first independent 24-hour news service will launch on DStv's premium and compact bouquets in southern Africa. Namibia; Zimbabwe; Mozambique; Botswana; Lesotho; Swaziland; Zambia; and Malawi will be able to receive the eNews channel on DStv (channel 403) from 3 October.'s Chief Executive Officer, Marcel Golding, says, “This is a significant expansion for the eNews Channel into Africa, and means that southern Africa now has access to a new independent news service from the African continent.

    “Following the successful launch of the eNews channel in South Africa on 1 June 2008, the news service has grown to be the most watched news channel on the DStv Bouquet. This success shows that Africans want to watch an African-based news service.”

    The eNews channel provides regional and international news including live reports from across the African continent and world; breaking news; sport; weather; entertainment; and financial information.

    Respected African journalists, Nikiwe Bikitsha; Chris Maroleng; Iman Rapetti; Jeremy Maggs; Macfarlane Moleli; and Andrew Barnes host regular shows from studios equipped with the latest technologies like big high-definition plasma touch-screens; robotic cameras; and satellite news gathering trucks.

    The channel is available on DStv Premium and Compact bouquets on channel 403 in South Africa and the rest of southern Africa.

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe used an appearance at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 'World 2009' meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday to attack the West for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe's airwaves by foreign-based radio stations.

    In a speech that aptly summed up his regime's attitude towards media freedom, Mugabe told a Council of Ministers meeting that 'certain western countries had 'radio broadcasting systems' that were targeting 'his' country to further their 'obnoxious regime change agendas'.

    The remarks are a continuation of threats made by Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, who last month told a study seminar of army officers that foreign-based radio stations are at 'war with Zimbabwe' . The soldiers attending a five day seminar on 'low intensity operations and asymmetric warfare' at 2 Infantry Brigade Headquarters were told to remain on guard against this threat.

    In Switzerland on Wednesday Mugabe was to stun delegates further by saying the use of Information Communication Technologies was a challenge to Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He claimed there was a 'philosophy that seeks to weaponize ICT by turning them into weapons of aggression.' One blogger sarcastically suggested that Mugabe might have been talking about 'exploding handsets' or 'sub machine guns cunningly disguised as laptops. Mugabe's exact meaning remained obscure but all the same exposed his paranoia about opening up the media.

    Meanwhile Newsreel asked Minister Chamisa if Mugabe's attitude towards private Zimbabwean broadcasters based outside the country reflected government policy. He said Mugabe's speech merely reflected his fears. The MDC Minister however said it was imperative for the government to licence private players because 'even if you don't licence broadcasters they will licence themselves via the Internet and other forms of ICT.' He said ICT's worldwide have helped overcome media restrictions and gave examples of countries like Iran, Venezuela and Burma.

    (source : SW Radio)

  • Radio Phoenix proprietor Errol Hickey has announced that he will pull out of the station next year citing lack of coordination among media bodies and poor support from Government as some of the challenges. Hickey has since urged Zambians with enough money to consider taking over operations of the station which currently employs 52 people.

    Announcing the development in Lusaka last week, Hickey said he did not set up the station for personal gain and urged its future operators to be above personal interests. "I am retiring from the station next year and if you have enough money to take over the station, then feel free to do so.

    "If Radio Phoenix management can raise money to get the station going, then that is even better," Hickey said. He declined to state the total assets for the station noted that journalists were in most cases intimidated, harassed and beaten based on petty issues and that there was no specific body to represent their concerns.

    He said Radio Phoenix had previously been gutted by fire and closed down but did not receive support from media bodies and the Government, saying only a few citizens supported the station.

    He said most programmes on the station such as Let the People Talk were one-sided as Government representatives were shunning them. "We have always wanted to work closely with the Government so that people could get balanced views on various matters but unfortunately there is no dialogue and engagement on the part of the Government. We want Government to give their side of the story and don't want people to be insulting them due to their absence on our programmes," he said.

    Radio Phoenix was the first independent commercial FM station in Zambia launched on March 22, 1986 on call signal 89.6 FM from Lusaka and acquired five extra frequencies on an extra expansion programme to Central and Copperbelt provinces.

  • The MTV Africa Music Awards - the MAMA – and her pitching babes of Africa gave a sparkling performance in Nairobi on the 10th of October. It was a gala event that united African music across the continent. However, the award ceremony was really a triangular affair between the music powerhouses of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with them more or less equally sharing the awards.

    The Awards featured celebrity host Wyclef Jean who enchanted the crowd with performing his own beats and guiding the show through the 13 award categories. To his help the Hip Hop icon had African and international guest presenters, including the Senegalese born American R&B superstar Akon.

    And the 2009 MAMA winners are!: Best Male – Nameless (Kenya), Best Female – Amani (Kenya), Best Group – P-Square (Nigeria), Best Video – HHP (South Africa), Best Alternative – Zebra & Giraffe (South Africa), Best Performer – Samini (Ghana), Best New Act – Rhythmic Elements (South Africa), Artist of the Year – D’banj (Nigeria), Best Hip Hop – M.I. (Nigeria), Best R&B – 2Face (Nigeria), My Video – Patricke Stevie Moungondo (Congo Brazzaville), MAMA legend – Lucky Dube (South Africa) and Listener’s Choice – Nameless (Kenya).

    The MTV Africa Music Awards with Zain is the biggest celebration of contemporary African music and youth culture, reflecting the tastes of more then 90 million music lovers across Africa. It will broadcast to a potential TV audience of 1 billion people in Sub Saharan Africa and the rest of the world. The TV show of the Awards will air around the globe from 17 October and 2009 via the global MTV TV networks with local partners. This year for the first time, the TV show will also air on MTVHD, MTV high definition TV service which airs to 21 countries worldwide. The Awards is sponsored for the second year by telecommunications company, Zain International.

  • The station manager of debt-ridden and bankrupt community television Cape Town TV last week made an impassioned appeal to the Department of Communications (DoC) and all three tiers of government - local, provincial and national - to provide the station with urgent financial assistance and help it get back on air.

    “We need a government bailout of at least R550 000 to clear all the debts owed to Sentech and we need it desperately to restart our broadcasting operations,” Karen Thorne told while attending a community media reflection conference currently taking place in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

    “It costs only about R5 million a year to run CTV and we are asking the government to fund at least one-fifth of our operating costs. We are not asking for a hand-out as we believe there is so much we can give back in return, such as setting aside 5% of our airtime for government programmes,” a visibly frustrated Thorne added.

    It has been almost two weeks since CTV was forced to go off air due to cash-flow problems, which include being unable to pay R65,000 monthly to Sentech for transmission costs. Thorne said that even if they had to start operating again, the station will still pay R137,000 a month to Sentech instead of the usual R65,000, as a result of being forced to sign an acknowledgement of debt after reaching a point where they could not afford to pay their distribution costs.


  • - Access Bank Plc, has undertaken the sponsorship of the broadcast of UEFA competitions to the Nigerian public for the current UEFA season. This development follows HITV's acquisition of the broadcast right for UEFA competitions for the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons following a keenly contested bid.

    - Pope Benedict XVI provided a 'Prayer of the Rosary with Africa and for Africa' in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican. The ceremony was dedicated to reconciliation, justice and peace. The transmission was operated by Telespazio, the Vatican TV center and the Vatican radio and broadcast via satellite link to other university students in Cairo (Egypt), Nairobi (Kenya), Khartoum (Sudan), Antananarivo (Madagascar), Johannesburg (South Africa), Onitsha (Nigeria), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Maputo (Mozambique) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).


  • Last week Balancing Act’s Sylvain Beletre attended MIPCOM 2009, the international event for co-producing, buying and selling media content, held in Cannes, France, 5-9 October 2009. He went in search of news that might be useful for those working in the African industry.

    African exhibitors were almost absent from the trade floor except for South Africa's National Film & Video Foundation (nfvf) which facilitated South Africa's presence in the market via the provision of a South African pavilion.

    Jacques Stolz, Snr. Marketing Manager from gfc, the Gaunteng Film Commission in SA, and Brugert Muller, exec. producer of Franz Marx Films were on the booth promoting recent productions. Jason Probert, Head of New Media at M-Net and Endemol South Africa Managing Director Sivan Pillay also made appearances at the nfvf booth.

    Dan Jawitz, a Producer from Fireworx (drama and documentaries) marketed his company's new content. In partnership with Black Rage Productions, Fireworx Media produces all the magazine and current affairs reports from South Africa for Trace TV. Trace is distributed via satellite on pay TV platforms in 140 countries, and currently claims to be the leading music/youth channel in Africa.

    According to the organisers, Africans only accounted to about 1+% of total exhibitors attendance. On the buyers front, delegates from Africa and Middle East accounted for about 9% of the total. The majority of interviewed delegates attributed two reasons which can explain these low attendance figures: the high cost of travelling to Cannes, and the fact that Africa now has its own content trade events such as DISCOP Africa.

    Nevertheless the event was a unique viewpoint from which to spot trends that may help African producers:

    In this unique environment, MIPCOM is also known to help identifying trends forecasting.

    Balancing-Act Africa perceived several global trends that would apply to the African AV marketplace:

    *Opportunity in Green productions: MIPCOM booths exhibited a plethora of new production and initiatives looking at the green issues and social responsibilities to save the Earth "now before it is too late", and to differentiate themselves.

    Several Producers provided green materials including some truly remarkable documentaries about climate change and environtmental problems: 2 years after "an inconvenient truth" from Davis Guggenheim with former United States Vice President Al Gore, "Home" from Yann Arthus Bertrand (more than 4 Million viewers on youtube so far) and "Syndrome du Titanic" from Nicolas Hulot and Jean-Albert Lièvre which include shots from Africa made quite a bit of noise.

    To support journalists, World Television launched, an online video news portal for this event earlier this week. In Paris, Ecoprod (, a grouping of media companies such as TF1 that looks at environmental solutions for production and broadcast companies was also present.

    Eurosport is building a new low emission HD studio, and Vancouver studios (VSF) have displayed carbon neutrality to better market themselves as green studios. Several media houses gave tools for how to go greener: Warner Bros Studios environmental initiatives, the California Film Commission's Green Resource Guide, Environmental Engagement from NewsCorp, FOX Green Guide, Greening the screen, a practical environmental toolkit for the screen production industry, Environmental Media Association, and MFP3 an M Productions Company.

    *More freedom for viewers: 2009 is a turning point for the shift to digital, allowing, in the long run, viewers to skip ads and customise the content they want to see.

    *Formats stay popular: Formats continue to have a strong innings. Kelly Wright from Armoza highlighted several formats that could benefit African channels and their audience in supporting education and creativity in Africa. Earlier this year, 2waytraffic, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, has sold a trio of its popular and well established formats, Pyramid, 50-50 and Russian Roulette, to Egyptian broadcaster, ERTU. The sale comes amid increased demand from broadcasters for reliable formats with a proven track record.

    *New Ads: TV and Radio Ad spent has dropped from 10 to 20% compared to 2008, but online advertising is the only sector experiencing five-year linear growth. The AV advertising World is trying to reinvent itself to make ads more effective. “Advice to brands: If it’s not about the audience, it isn’t branded content. Advice to producers: brands are not attached to single TV shows.” said Morgan Holt, Chairman, Branded Content Marketing Association, London.

    *Platform explosion: BBC tech boss Erik Huggers' presentation called Broadcasting In The Digital Age, Huggers said: "the challenges facing broadcasters as the pace of change accelerates, and how they must evolve to ensure a consistent experience across all platforms - without compromising quality." As part of this new direction, DTT channels in France have for example started working on co-productions.

    Telecoms operators are a key partner to broadcaster' digital switch, and companies such as Orange, TeliaSonera and T-Systems were also present to promote their media solutions.

    *Cutting Costs: Broadcasters are restructuring, reducing overheads, renegotiating contracts, paying less for content (decrease between 5 and 25% for TV rights over the last 12 months in the Western World), and avoiding risk as the crunch intensifies, but it’s useful to hear funding gurus predicting what this means for the future.

    At the conference "TV Financing": The Big Picture, European media consultant Guillaume de Posch listed the ways in which broadcasters were slashing their budgets. But when asked how many bankruptcies he anticipated among European broadcasters, he robustly answered “Zero”. He qualified this by saying that he expected some broadcasters would be “massively re-capitalised,” and further consolidation was inevitable.

    *Digital technology for selling rights: After years of defensiveness, key players are this year much keener to look into online tools to seek partners, whether they are producers, investors, broadcasters or distributors. Platforms such as MPX from Mediapeers, or Showrights are due to save massive travel expenses for buyers, investors and sellers. As Mediapeers' Holger Hendel put it: "this business is about face to face relationships, but our solution is complementary."

    Partnering with local telecoms operators is also high on the agenda of most key broadcasters.

    What about Africa?: This year, there was more focus on emerging markets and the BRIC markets were often mentioned during speeches (particularly Brazil, India and China) but there was also strong interest in and curiosity about Africa. Some attendees mentioned a serious interest in African documentaries, long films, animations and of course coverage of the FIFA WC. When going around booths and asking questions related to Africa, many professionals admitted that they do not know much about the continent but would love to find out more.

    MIPCOM is attended by passionate people from around the World looking for and offering finance for films. It would therefore make sense for African professionals to get together and set up a pan-African booth at MIPCOM 2010.

  • Orange had a stand at MIPCOM and was showing demos of its products and services (Internet, TV, Mobile). Xavier Couture, Orange’s EVP for content, presented new opportunities opened up to the public and the world of creation thanks to the development of digital technologies, putting the content market’s current upheavals into perspective.

    For Orange, Mipcom is a unique forum enabling professional participants to negotiate rights on a truly international scale, setting up co-production initiatives, sealing co-financing deals, establishing new contacts, initiating and developing partnerships, finding out about new trends and keeping up-to-date on the latest audiovisual developments.

    Orange's Content Everywhere strategy is standing out in particular through the deployment of Orange TV internationally, including in Senegal, Mauritius and in 4 European countries.

    An Orange spokesperson at the event explained that Orange‘s IPTV offer has been deployed in Senegal and Mauritius, and that more African regions could benefit from it in the future where the market permits it."We are also delivering mobile TV in Mauritius as well as mobile video content in other African countries where Orange is present" said the spokesperson, adding that "Orange has invested a lot in Africa, where we provide fixed and/or wireless internet services in each of our 15 countries.

    We are always looking at local content and are keen to talk to African rights holders to enrich our content offerings."

    In July, the group won a major eight-year deal with the Confederation of African Football making Orange the official partner for all the major football championships run by the CAF including the Africa Cup of Nations. The deal covers sponsorship of the matches and includes mobile rights in 55 African countries as well as TV and mobile broadcasting rights in France.

  • - Echo Bridge has appointed Daro Film Distribution to manage thousands of hours of content across the African continent.


  • The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Secretariat (ACP Secretariat) launches a call for proposals financed by the “ACP-EU cooperation support programme for the ACP cinema and audiovisual sectors”, to support projects in the intra-ACP cinema and audiovisual fields, aiming at contributing to the development and structuring of the ACP States’ cinema and audiovisual industries, so that they can create and distribute their own images more effectively. It also aims to enable more promotion of cultural diversity, the networking of ACP cultural identities and intercultural dialogue.

    The current call for proposals will award grants to three types of Actions in the cinema and audiovisual fields:

    Production projects of cinema and audiovisual (television) works (Lot 1)

    Promotion, distribution, dissemination and networking of the cinema and audiovisual sector in the ACP States (Lot 2)

    Professional development and training of ACP professionals in the cinema and audiovisual sector projects (Lot 3)

  • The mass appeal of 3D movies has now been firmly established, with Ster-Kinekor Theatres opening two new state-of-the-art 3D cinemas at Irene Mall and East Rand Mall. These two will join the other five 3D cinemas nationwide to continue showing big screen entertainment that’s even bigger than reality itself!

    “3D has been heralded as the future of cinema by leading experts internationally! Based on the overwhelming commercial success of 3D releases such as Ice Age 3, Monsters VS Aliens, Bolt, Journey to the Center of the Earth and, most recently, Up; Ster-Kinekor is excited to now also extend this revolutionary cinema offering to our audiences in Irene, Pretoria and Benoni, Johannesburg. Grab onto your seat, and expect to be blown away by the most technically-advanced, digital quality, three-dimensional images and full Dolby surround sound!” said Ster-Kinekor marketing exec, Michael Bender.

  • - South Africa’s most widely read film industry trade publication went online start of October. “This is the single largest investment we have made in the company,” says Lance Gibbons, The Callsheet’s publishing editor. “We (...) are hoping this can be our contribution towards bringing the (African) continent’s industry closer together.”

    The site includes a searchable Film Directory and is linked to Creative Showcase, The Filmmakers Guide to South Africa sister website where creatives can upload their visual portfolios for free.

regulation & policy

  • Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, and his Deputy, Fikile Mbalula, are to launch a crime fighting television programme on Thursday. The programme, When Duty Calls, hopes to build on the success of Police File which assisted the police in uncovering dangerous crimes with the help of communities.

    The new and revamped programme will assist the police by giving the community information about missing persons, reporting crimes and breaking the silence on abuse cases. "The police hope to build on these successes and ensure that crime is reduced in our country," said the ministry in a statement on Wednesday.

    The launch is divided in two phases and will begin with a police roadblock in Diepsloot where police management will join local police in a crime search exercise. The police will also encourage communities to assist police in fighting crime.

    In the second phase of the launch, the minister will deliver a keynote address, accompanied by Mbalula and the National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele. The programme is expected to be aired on SABC 2 soon.

  • Stakeholders in the West Africa media on Wednesday, 30th September 2009 in Abuja proposed a draft regional framework document that would help liberalize the environment for freedom of expression in West Africa and contribute to the consolidation of democracy and good governance.

    The document seeks the adoption of a regional instrument that will enable ECOWAS citizens avail themselves of the fundamental human rights enshrined in various international instruments, which Member States have signed, that guarantee the right to freedom of expression and information.

    The Act on a harmonized legal framework on freedom of expression and right of information proposed by the participants at the workshop would guarantee the right to information and independence of the media, define the parameters for civil defamation and press offences, institute a mechanism for the regulation of print and broadcast media as well as the classification of broadcast services.

    It will also help define the composition and mode of operations of the regulatory bodies for broadcast and telecommunication services to protect public interest and the economic and other measures that are needed to support the media to ensure it caters for the needs of the public.

    In addition, it will help guarantee the right to information, the independence of the media and define the sanctions to be meted to journalists and media institutions for violations of the Act and appropriate laws.

    Apart from the Act, the three-day workshop which was jointly organized by the ECOWAS Commission and the Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), discussed other issues including the ECOWAS instruments for promoting free expression in West Africa.

    There were also presentations that touched on the existing restrictive media legislation in West Africa, the fundamental principles of legislation enhancing media freedom and the enforcement challenges of international, African and sub-regional instruments relating to the right to free expression and access to information.

  • - Nigeria’s The Federal Capital Administration (FCTA) has disclosed that the decision to suspend the Board of Directors of the Aso Radio/Television was to enable it carry out uninhibited investigation into a plan to defraud the administration to the tune of over N300 million.

    - The SABC is taking the Sunday Times to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg last week after an article, published in March, revealed the mismanagement of Matilda Gaboo, head of the SABC's international section.

    - The chairman of the National Council of broadcasters, Capt. Francis Babu, has asked the government to revise laws that govern broadcasters in the country.

technology & convergence

  • The migration of broadcasting from analogue to digital will open a window of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Signs that traders are entering a boom period is the move by the body in charge of the migration, Digital Kenya, to issue specifications for suppliers of equipment.

    This gives the entrepreneurs a green light to start bringing in the new set-top boxes. Apart from suppliers, technicians will benefit from repairs and installations under the short-term gains. Content providers, trainers of technicians and equipment assemblers of top boxes have room for long-term gains.

    Entrepreneurs within Nairobi and its environs are expected to be the first beneficiaries as the rollout of the programme will begin in the capital city. However, a proposal by the Ministry of Information to Treasury to zero-rate the equipment is yet to be approved, a factor that may drive the costs of the set top boxes and other equipment to be used by the industry and at home.

    Alfred Ambani, the broadcast director at Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), says there will be no new regulations for the suppliers but they will be required to adhere to minimum specification provided by the regulator.

    "We won't restrict the numbers of players like what happened in the mobile industry at first, which led to high prices but leave it open so as to allow as many players as possible which will bring in competition and hence dictate prices," said Ambani. The biggest hindrance to migration to digital broadcasting, which Kenya has planned for 2012, will be the conversion of the analog signals.

    There have been conflicting reports on the expected price of the set-top boxes with some government officials saying the price should be between Sh2,000 and 3,000 while others put it at Sh5,000.

    Although there are some in the country already, CCK is warning that consumers should only buy those that are Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial (DVBT) and MPEG4-enabled.

    Apart from offering opportunities for assemblers, software developers are also expected to benefit from the technology switch as the set top boxes will mainly involve installing or customising of software, such as those that record programmes when one is away and store for later viewing. Call centres will benefit as more pay-TV operators get room to enter the market and will be looking for customer care services.

  • South African subscription-funded television channel M-Net scored 51.62 out of 100 for its social media reputation. The rating was awarded by Yomego, the social media agency. M-Net's volume of noise was rated at 36.10, recency of noise at 36.11, tone of sentiment at 70 and sentiment recency at 64.28.

    So why was M-Net rated for social media reputation? News that online ad spend is now bigger than TV is not the death knell for traditional broadcasting as many have suggested: it is an opportunity that TV should seize, said Yomego.

    According to Yomego managing director, Steve Richards, TV that embraces social media, rather than rails against it, is capable of converting its audiences into highly successful ‘social’ communities.

    Setting out the critical issues that face the TV industry in a new report, "TV: End of the industry or just the end of a business mode?" he says that sharp revenue declines from advertising have been in stark contrast with viewing figures, proving that content is still king.

    Yomego has created online communities for clients including M-Net.

    Steve Richards believes that the opportunity for TV producers is to build their own social communities around their content: “Content has an intrinsic value and viewers will subscribe to watch it, just as advertisers will pay to be associated with it."


  • - The Director of Technical Programmes (DTP) of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) Oscar Nchor, has noted that the migration of the analogue transmission to the digital transmission was a good decision, as it was a stepping stone to national television development

    - Canal Overseas announced start of October that it is to deploy a new version of NDS MediaHighway and a Flash-based EPG for the first personal video recorder to be launched for its service across the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. It will later be extended to French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa and the South Pacific.The international arm of the Canal+ Group has deployed a version of MediaHighway that allows subscribers to upgrade to personal video recorder functionality through the addition of an external hard drive.

    ShowRights provide an internet based solution that enables film and television producers, distributors and other rights owners to present and license their media libraries to exhibitors and media broadcasters worldwide.

    * 16 Oct. 2009

    Promax|BDA Africa

    venue: Johannesburg, SA, at the Sandton Convention Centre.

    *21 - 23 Oct. 2009


    Venue: Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Abuja, Nigeria.

    * 21 October to 31 October 2009

    Kenya International Film Festival

    venue: in various places in Nairobi, Kenya

    hosted by the Kenya International Film Festival Trust, films will include features, student films, animations, documentaries, and experimental films.

    *22 October to 1 November 2009

    The Africa in Motion film festival (AiM)

    venue: Edinburgh Filmhouse, Scotland.

    The programme for Africa in Motion 2009 has just been launched and tickets are on sale! For its fourth edition, the festival includes about 50 classic and contemporary films - long, short, fiction and documentary.

    *23-31 Oct. 2009

    EKWA, Festival International du Film de l’Océan Indien

    A professional trade show on Indian-Ocean films, round tables and about 100 films will be presented in local cinemas to the public at 3 Euros per film. In 2008, organiser "Armand Dauphin" counted 12 000 participants.

    venue: Reunion, St Denis Casino.

    *2-6 November 2009

    Africa Media & Broadcasting Congress 2009

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre - Johannesburg

    The Africa Media and Broadcasting Congress 2009 is a dedicated forum where key stakeholders gather to share knowledge, network and find solutions that enable you to maximise revenues and profitably leverage emerging markets.

    The event will discuss the uptake of mobile TV and video streaming.

    *3-7 November 2009

    Le Festival du Film de la Réunion

    Venue: Reunion in 3 locations

    5th. edition, 8 films in competition.

    * 5-6 Nov. 2009

    Africa Media Leaders Forum

    venue: Lagos, Nigeria.

    African Media leaders from across the continent and beyond, at the helm of the most prestigious and influential platforms, will have the opportunity to share ideas on the impact of new media on their industry, discuss new business models, debate their critical role in advancing the development agenda, and agree on a charter for the Forum which will define each member’s responsibilities and privileges.

    *7-13 November 2009

    8e édition, les Rencontres africaines de la photographie: "Frontières"

    Venue: Bamako, Mali.

    This edition will show pieces of work from African artists, whether they are "videasts" (video artists) or photographs.

    *11-12 November 2009


    venue: Cape Town, South Africa.

    The 12th annual AfricaCom Congress & Exhibition will offer networking opportunities with 3,500+ telcos and a 220+ exhibition for you to discover new products and build profitable business partnerships - not to mention the 2nd annual AfricaCom Awards.

    The event will gather players in Movile TV and broadband IPTV.

    *15-16 November 2009

    IPTV World Forum Middle East & Africa -

    venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel - Dubai.

    Established as the world's leading event on IPTV, this is a must-attend conference and exhibition in he diaries of all Telco, TV and content executives. IPTV has evolved and telcos pursuing a television strategy across Middle East & Africa can launch with more sophisticated television services than witnessed during early-adopter deployments in Europe and North America, with more personalisation and cross-platform, multi-screen delivery among the obvious targets. Regional telcos have the chance to demonstrate their ambition to win, and not just play, in the Pay TV marketplace.

    Featuring Over 80 Speakers and 20 Service providers, the conference will also hold 2-Day Post-Conference Training Course. The event is organised by Informa Telecoms & Media.

    * January 2010 (date TBC)

    venue: Nigeria.

    Nigeria, India plan joint film festival

    INDIAN and Nigerian governments have concluded plans to host a joint film festival for Bollywood and Nollywood to commemorate the 60th and 50th independence anniversaries of both countries respectively. The festival, which is scheduled to take place by January 2010, is expected to serve as a vehicle for strengthening the cultural and economic ties that have existed between the two countries over the years.

    Mahesh Sachdev, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria said the result of the partnership would benefit 1.1 billion people in India and 140 million Nigerians.

    *22nd till 28th February 2010

    Aluta Film Festival

    venue: Kimberley, South Africa.

    Call for Entries: The organisers of the Aluta Film Festival, South African premier township cinema event, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2010, the 7th edition of the festival.

    Deadline: November

    Categories: Features; documentaries; animation; short films

    Requirements: Preview: DVD PAL. Screening: 16mm, 35mm and video

    Awards: Aluta! Revolution Awards

    Fees: None

    Administrative address: 18985 Guttenburg Pitse Street, John Mampe. Phase One, Galeshewe, Kimberley 8300, South Africa

    Tel: +27 (0)76 853 1214

    Fax: +27 (0)86 513 7783

    Festival Administrator: Nandipha Shwababa

    *24-26 February 2010


    Venue: Pullman Teranga hotel in Dakar, Senegal.

    Film and TV content trade show, one of the most important event for the development of audiovisual content business in sub-saharan Africa fueled by overall growth in disposable income and advertising spending, the ongoing switchover process, strong broadband deployment, a fast-growing home-video marketplace, the construction of multiplex cinemas and the emergence of IPTV.

    Apollo Zake is making major waves in the local film industry and has recently returned from a trip to Hollywood that honed his skills. Zake, who grew up at his mother’s home in Gonubie before leaving for Johannesburg to pursue his career in the film industry, attended Stirling and West Bank high schools. Zake and another young producer/director, Cecil Matlou, recently spent four weeks at the New York Film Academy, based at the Universal Studios in Los Angeles, as part of MultiChoice’s Film Talent Incubator project. Zake, who has done extensive work for MTV,, SABC1 and SABC2, said his stint abroad was an “unbelievable opportunity”.

    Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings chief executive, and former ZIANA editor-in-chief Henry Muradzikwa, is believed to be the incoming chairman of the much awaited Zimbabwe Media Commission.

    Talk Radio 702's Nomsa Maseko walked away with the title of overall 2009 Vodacom Journalist of the Year on Friday night, 9 October 2009 at the eighth annual Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodaworld, Midrand, Gauteng. She was honoured for her moving coverage of the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng last year, and broadcast on Talk Radio 702.

    2010 media accreditation begins in December

    The media accreditation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will begin on 5 December 2009, a day after the final draw, which will be held in Cape Town, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and FIFA announced on Monday, 5 October 2009, at a media workshop held in Johannesburg and attended by more than 100 journalists.

    Africa film Academy 2009 YOUNGSTERS Film Competition

    Welcome to the 1st annual AFA Youngsters Short Film Competition, the most innovative international short film and video competition for filmmakers from African descent worldwide who are between the ages of 10-18. , it is a unique short film competition whose focus is on creating opportunities for young filmmakers by bringing support and recognition to excellence in the art of filmmaking. The Youngsters Short film competion is a great opportunity for young filmmakers to feel the pulse of filmmaking and allows to catch them young and train them right. Their careers, They will receive international exposure using the Africa film Academy’s platform. Winning filmmakers will also receive awards, cash prizes.

    Enter your short films in any of the categories: Comedy, Drama, Horror / Thriller, Animation, Documentary, Action / Adventure, Family / Children, Music Video. Winners will be selected by a judging panel that is comprised of industry professionals and practioners who are looking for the next generation of creatively talented filmmakers out there.

    Deadline: DECEMBER 15, 2009

    1.) Entries must be 1 to 10 minutes in length on DVD or VHS, regardless of original shooting format.

    2.) Entries MUST be PAL format.

    3) Entries submitted in a foreign language must have subtitles OR be dubbed in English.

    AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities

    AMAA wishes to announce the inauguration of the AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities.

    The Competition has been conceived to complement the AMAAs.

    The AMAAs are barely half a decade old – but within this relatively short period, they have made a significant impact on the African motion picture industry. They have created vast opportunities for linkages, for networking and for interfacing within and outside the continent. This synergy has diversified and intensified the reservoir of creativity in the industry. It has, also, diversified and intensified the industry’s production capital resource base; and has, thereby, set in motion the onerous task of aligning the industry to the larger industrial sub sector of the continent’s industrial complex.

    Unarguably, the aims/objectives of AMAA are already translating into direct and indirect benefits for the African cinema. Consequently, every edition of the AMAAs is as much a celebration of achievements in virtually every profession or trade in the industry as it is the most significant and reliable catalyst and barometer for the growth and development of the African film as an art and an industry.

    The AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities is in accord with the vision and mission of AMAA.

    Aims & objectives of the AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities

    Through the AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities, the Academy aims to:

    1.Provide a platform for interaction by African universities whose curricula bear on the training of content creators for the cinema/broadcast industries

    2.strengthen the support structures for capacity building in such institutions

    3.Challenge and excite the creativity of the would be content creators in those institutions; and

    4.Centre attention on the creative potential os such would be content creators.


    For this maiden edition, the theme is: Renewal/Regeneration.


    20 minutes.



    Eligibility/Other Conditions

    1.The Competition is open to students who are at the time of production bona fide students of the University

    2.The work could be an individual or group project

    3.The entry must be made by the Department/University; and

    4.A Department/University could enters more than one work.


    The winning entry receives on behalf of the Department/University a complete range of production and post production equipment/facilities. The film is also featured at the subsequent AMAAs.

    Closing Date

    30th December, 2009.


    The Desk Officer

    AMAA Short Film Competition for African Universities (2009)

    10a Obaladejobi Street


    Lagos, Nigeria.

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