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Issue No 189 10 October 2014

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  • 4 market reports to download for free!

    African Audiences’ Changing Media Behaviour - Key Trends:


    In 2013 Balancing Act carried out a detailed market research study in seven Sub-Saharan countries in the vanguard of adopting the Internet and social media. The study has four parts – which are available for free as downloads – and looks at how the Internet and social media are changing Africa’s communications and media landscape.

    Russell Southwood highlights some of the key findings from the study that are directly relevant to those working in Africa’s broadcast media.

    The study has three components: nationally representative face-to-face surveys; a survey of featurephone users and qualitative groups to explore issues in depth. One of the face-to-face surveys covers Northern Nigeria with a regionally representative sample. The seven countries covered are: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa.

    Sub-Saharan Africa is the cockpit of change in terms of the global digital divide and changing media and communications use; in little over a decade it has gone from being largely unconnected to the Internet to having millions of people using it. Because media have been relatively undeveloped—for a host of reasons, including education, income, and lack of access to electricity—the impact of the digital changes have and may continue to be somewhat more dramatic than in countries where traditional media and communications have been much better established.

    Some of the key findings of the study are as follows:

    The Rise of Social Media: Over five years Facebook has grown from practically no users in Sub-Saharan Africa to become the most widely used social media platform. In the four countries where face-to-face surveys were carried out for this research, between 14% (Tanzania) and 27% (Ghana) of all respondents were using it. This finding is reinforced by the recent announcement from Facebook that it has 100 million users in Africa. A large number of these users access Facebook to follow other media online while on the move.

    People “like” news media (newspapers, radio and TV stations) on Facebook to get information and receive similar “news” or “research” alerts from friends and colleagues. Examples of high “likes” for media organisations are easiest to illustrate with those taken from Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa’s Metro FM has 301,208 likes and the Daily Sun 275,82 likes. In Nigeria, Information Nigeria has 1.4 million likes and 1.25 million likes.

    More Media Choice in an Increasing Number of Countries: The focus group and one-to-one interviewees for this research were asked what had changed most about media and communications in the last five years. Two responses were common to all those who took part: the greater amount of media available and the presence of the Internet. The greater availability of media is a product of the liberalization of media markets in Africa and is not true for all countries. Slightly under half (25) of all African countries have liberalized both radio and TV stations and a number of countries (like Zimbabwe) are committed to doing so.

    The two responses – more media available and the arrival of the Internet - are interconnected as wider media generally drives a wider set of viewpoints and information with the Internet acting as a backstop where people can get information not provided by traditional media or actually restricted by Government. From the group and one-to-one research this is very much the role the Internet plays in slightly different ways in Ethiopia and Senegal.

    The Move from Mass To Niche Audiences: In broad terms, when there are only a few radio and TV stations, they have the potential to address most people (except those in some rural areas) because there is little or no choice. This is a mass audience that is largely undifferentiated in any way. With more channels and stations, eventually commercial pressure force owners to address particular niche audiences (18-25s, women, etc).

    If there are many private radio or TV stations, then the commercially sensible thing to do is to focus on a niche audience: for example, Classic FM in Kenya focuses on slightly older listeners with “soul and great hits.” Another way of focusing on smaller, niche audiences is to broadcast in vernacular languages. For example, Royal Media’s Chamgei FM is in Kalenjin and aimed at that community. These niche channels – whether TV or radio – may not have an impressive national, mass audience but are dominant within their niche audience.

    Although there remains key players in the market, there is considerable fragmentation of both radio and TV audiences. This trend will be reinforced by the increasing number of TV channels after the digital transition has been completed.

    This change will encourage a number of things that will increase the number of TV channels and may lead to increased TV audiences for many broadcasters. In the past, the state broadcaster usually had the most extensive national transmission network and its private rivals focused on the larger cities. With one or more signal carriers, all broadcasters will have access to a larger national footprint.

    New entrants will be able to launch TV channels without having to put up their own TV transmission structure. For example, in Kenya, two signal carriers isare already transmitting 50 new channels. In the past, international news channels like BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera were only carried by satellite Pay TV providers like DStv, meaning that their reach was limited. However, in Uganda all three of these channels have indicated that they will be interested in appearing on the national signal carrier, meaning that there might be be free-to-air access in all TV households, giving them potentially a much larger audience.

    Changing behavior in terms of news and information: Both the feature phone user research and the qualitative groups emphasize how those with access to the Internet use their mobile phones for getting both news and information. In the case of the feature phone users, using the Internet in this way comes just behind radio and TV as a means of getting news and information whereas the percentage using Internet in this way is much lower in the overall population.

    Access to electricity: This plays a key role in the differences in reach between television and radio. Whereas radios can be run on batteries of one kind or another, it is much more difficult to run TVs on battery power and will become impossible with the new generation of digital TV sets. In those countries where the percentage access to electricity is high, television has a reach that is broadly comparable to radio. But in those countries where electricity access much lower, the majority of people with electricity access are in urban areas and TV access is broadly similar to electricity access.

    Urban vs Rural – The Rural Media Deficit: On almost every measure, those living in rural Africa are at a disadvantage to their urban counterparts. In terms of this research, the most striking shortfall is their ability to access media. The majority has no access to TV and can listen to far fewer radio stations than their urban counterparts. Because of the geographic distances and lack of good roads, newspapers either arrive late or mainly not at all. Until recently, access to the Internet was an almost entirely an urban phenomenon, although a small number of rural people now have access. But even in a more developed country like South Africa, only 24% of Internet users are in rural areas . Furthermore the speed of Internet connection has accelerated faster in urban areas (allowing access to video material) than in rural areas.

    An Overall Increase in the Number of Devices: Over the last five years, the number of Africans who own or have access to mobile phones, computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets has grown considerably. These both act as media carriers (a mobile with a radio or TV receiver) or a media in their own right (a mobile accessing the Internet and Social Media).

    Wider Access to Computers and Laptops: Computer ownership is much more constrained by the cost of the device. Nevertheless, the face-to-face surveys show that there has been an increase in computer use and what is probably a much wider pattern of shared use. Ownership of desktop computers and laptops is highest in Ghana (18% and 19% respectively) and Senegal (19% each) and lowest in Tanzania (3% and 6% respectively) and Northern Nigeria (6% each). Taking into account sharing, 37-50% of respondents had access to some type of computer in Ghana and Senegal and 14-16% in Tanzania and Northern Nigeria. Tablets users were almost non-existent amongst face-to-face survey respondents in Northern Nigeria and Tanzania but in Ghana (6%) and Senegal (5%) a significant number of respondents own a tablet of some form, which might also include “phablets” (large screen smartphones).

    The Haves and the Have Nots:
    Until recently, access to the Internet was an almost entirely an urban phenomenon, although a small number of rural people now have access. But even in a more developed country like South Africa, only 24% of Internet users are in rural areas. Furthermore the speed of Internet connection has accelerated faster in urban areas (allowing access to video material) than in rural areas.

    The Meteoric Growth of Social Media: Over five years Facebook has grown from practically no users in Sub-Saharan Africa to become the most widely used social media platform. In the four countries where face-to-face surveys were carried out for this research, between 14% (Tanzania) and 27% (Ghana) of all respondents were using it, a significant number on basic phones using SMS. Facebook is the dominant platform although there are interesting local variations. All forms of social media serve as a source of news and information alongside more traditional media. People “like” news media  (newspapers, radio and TV stations) on Facebook to get information and receive similar “news” or “research” alerts from friends and colleagues.

    For anyone working in NGOs dealing with health issues, the report contains detailed findings of the impact of health information and different health messages.

    The study has four detailed reports and you can choose which of them you want to download by clicking on the links below:


    The Sub-Saharan Media Landscape - Then, Now and in the Future

    Face-to-Face Survery - Overview and Summary Results

    Feature Phone - Users Survey 

    Qualitative Research


    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 25 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:

    You Tube provides a platform for piloting new TV series: An African City and Al Bernameg light the way

    Licensing delays stall Kenya’s “i-Tunes” content platform on a Raspberry Pi but end may be in sight

    The Mobile Deal that is keeping Africans from having more music, film and TV on their mobiles

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

    Video Clip Interviews - This week:

    Abukar Abba Tahir on Gotel's plans to launch the Al Jazeera of Africa from Abuja

    Michael Wanguhu on a TV series that follows Kenya's marathon runners in the USA

    Khalid Shamis' film The Colonel's Stray Dogs about the Libyan opposition in exile who went back

    Kene Mkparu, Filmhouse on having 25 cinemas in Nigeria by 2019

    Director Abey Esho on the trials and tribulations of shooting the web/tv series Festac Town

    Ulrich Stark on how broadcasters can make money on social media platform Wezwa

    Man on Ground Akin Omotoso on his latest film a rom-com called Tell Me Sweet Something

    Director of Dr Bello, Tony Abulu on his next film Superstar slated for release in March 2015

    Evert van der Veer, Head of Comedy Central, Africa on the South African comedy scene and programmes they make

    Three competition winners talk about the film they'll make for Afrinolly's Cinema4Change

    Mandy Roger on exclusive African content coming on Pana TV inc a Basketmouth series

    Jason Njoku, iROKO on launching its production arm ROK Studios to test film and TV series


  • Newly launched mobile video streaming app, Aflix, which was initially launched in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, has extended its Hollywood mobile streaming service in thirty other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The services will be available in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Aflix, provides a large library of Hollywood content via Android powered mobile devices and Set Top Boxes.

    Source: Bizwatch 30 September 2014 

  • StarTimes has unveiled a new Hausa channel, Dadin Kowa. The channel is dedicated to airing a variety of Hausa programmes, which include drama, documentary, talk shows, movies, music and education.

    Ayokunle Idowu, content manager of the NTA-Star TV Network, says Dadin Kowa has a rich outlook into the Hausa lifestyle. “The channel, which is currently targeted at the whole family, is aimed at showcasing the rich cultural attributes of the Hausa people. The content of new channel will include some Hausa-dubbed Chinese drama series. These drama series were translated from Chinese into Hausa by Nigerians, who acted as voice-overs in the Chinese drama series; as such, our customers would be watching Chinese actors speak in Hausa.”

    From 45 channels in 2010, StarTimes now offers its subscribers more than 80 channels of news, music, sports, cartoon, documentary, Nollywood, Hollywood and Bollywood movies and much more. The content of StarTimes, according to Idowu, makes provisions for rich local content in accordance to the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) regulations “and the launch of Dadin Kowa is a clear indication that StarTimes is committed to adhering to this regulation.”

    He says StarTimes would not relent in its efforts to ensure that its customers get quality content. “We recently unveiled our new sports channel, Star Sport 2, to meet up with the demands of our clients for more sports content particularly exclusive content. While the channel would be offering a wide range of sports including soccer, rugby, tennis, car race and extreme sports, StarTimes has the exclusive rights to air some soccer competitions of the on-going European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO Cup, which is currently being aired on the channel.”

    Idowu says further that StarTimes is committed to ensuring that its customers enjoy the best of digital television at an affordable price. “We would not relent in ensuring that we meet the demands of our customers for quality content as we have done with the launch of Dadin Kowa. Besides we, as a platform for digital migration, are ever committed to helping Nigerians actualise the 2015 deadline by ensuring that Nigerians get the best of digital television at an affordable price.

    Nigerians can confidently migrate into digital space with StarTimes as we provide the latest technology in DTT operations – DVB-T2 technology – which will give over 80 channels and quality digital entertainment. Our DVB-T2 decoder gathers over 80 channels of great sports, music, movies, news, kids and teens’ entertainment, documentary, religion and lots more,” he says.

    Dadin Kowa is currently airing on the StarTimes platform Channel 162. The channel is available on the StarTimes Basic bouquet and StarSat’s Special bouquet. Another Hausa channel on the pay-tv platform is Farinwata. StarTimes also has channels that are dedicated to its Yoruba viewers – such as Orisun.

    StarTimes has a mission of ensuring that every home in Nigeria enjoys affordable digital TV. The mission is backed with its collaboration with NTA; the relationship is strategic partnerships that will help Nigeria actualise its 2015 digital transition deadline. StarTimes is leveraging on NTA’s platform to provide quality digital service to every home in Nigeria and is committed to making digital television accessible and affordable to all Nigerians on the latest technology in DTT operation.

    Source: Business Day 3 October

  • If there is one thing any TV fan in South Africa would agree with, it would be the exponential growth of several channels in the past 24 months. The viewer is spoiled for choice as there is more diverse content out there. Of late is the addition of three channels from Viacom and these are Nick Jr, Nicktoons and BET International.

    We caught up with Alex Okosi (pictured), Senior Vice President and Managing Director, VIMN Africa, and he shed light on the developments.

    “Our partnership with MultiChoice is built on delivering great channel brands that add value to the audience experience. We have been developing the plans to add these channels with DStv for some time. The research and tests that we ran to measure their viability was very positive, and we are excited that as VIMN Africa we now have an opportunity to provide deeper connection with our channels to every demographic (age group) segment across the continent,” explained Okosi.

    With Nick Jr and Nicktoons now on the DStv bouquet, Okosi revealed the content that the young viewers should expect.

    “Nick Jr viewers will get to see a host of new programmes including Dora & Friends, Blaze and the Monster Machines, and Shimmer & Shine, alongside old favourites like Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies and PAW Patrol. In addition, all the pre-school content that was on Nickelodeon now migrates to Nick Jr.

    “Viewers of Nicktoons will get to see all their favourite Nickelodeon animated content in one place, including PAW Patrol, Avatar and Back to the Barnyard, as well as evergreen classics like Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys,” he said.

    On the other hand, BET’s coming to DStv is something that many people have long been hoping for.

    Okosi pointed out that it was a case of timing and meticulous planning that prevented the cele-brated channel from airing sooner.

    “BET International had been on DStv in Central, East and West Africa since 2008 and there’s always been an ambition to bring it to South Africa. We needed to make sure the timing was right and judging by the reaction from our announcement so far, we are confident that the channel will make an impact,” he said.

    Yet for other South Africans, BET International was already on their screens.

    “BET International still airs on StarSat (formerly Top TV),” pointed out Okosi.

    As far as the future holds, Okosi hinted that this development is not the end of what Viacom has in mind for South Africa.

    “There are many brilliant channels in the Viacom stable that we believe will be of great value to viewers in South Africa.

    “We don’t want to give too much away. Our focus right now is the successful launches of Nick Jr, Nicktoons and BET International tomorrow,” he said.

    Nick Jr, is set to launch on the DStv Premium package and it will be placed on DStv channel 307.

    Nicktoons will be available on DStv Family, Compact, Extra and Premium packages and it will occupy the DStv channel 308 slot.

    BET International will launch on DStv Family, Compact, Extra and Premium packages and it will be available on DStv channel 135.

    Source: Tonight 29 September 2014

  • The Ubuntu Village project is a film driven initiative which began as a festival at Colorado State University (CSU) in 2011. Created by graduate Namuyaba Temanju, the project aims to connect people and create awareness around social issues by sharing with them stories which encompass the African philosophy of Ubuntu.

    According to Mcebisi Mkhwanazi, a 2014 CSU alumni says, “Ubuntu is a value appreciated by most people, but it is of special importance in Africa because in the midst of the continent’s challenges, the spirit of Ubuntu has survived, and people who have visited Africa will attest to the warmth and generosity of the African people.”

    Temanju wants to expand the projects viewership to those who can relate to the issues addressed in the films and adds, “If you don’t have one specific target then it’s hard to find help, whereas if you show the films to the community that does need help, they can connect and identify with the issues in the film, then reach out for help.”

    One of the project’s initiatives, “Grandmother to Grandmother”, connected grandmothers in the US to those in Tanzania, which allowed the two groups to share their experiences.

    Temanju says, “I’m never satisfied with just existing, I’m always concerned about making some kind of positive change. I also like to broaden my horizons by asking myself ‘What things are happening at certain places that I don’t understand?’”
    CSU faculty member Ivan Loy says, “The spirit of the Ubuntu Village project is to encourage each of us to make a difference in this world in any way we can. If we can shine a bit of light on someone’s path or ease their burden just a bit, the world will be a better place for all.”

    Visit the Ubuntu Village project website for more information.

    Source: Screen Africa  1st October 2014 

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has directed television stations operating in Kenya to air 40% local content or risk penalties from the authority.

    Although the authority is yet to come up with the said penalties, CA’s Director General Francis Wangusi said that among them would be asking the offending media house to pay more to the Universal Service Fund , money that will be used to support the production of local content in the country.

    Wangusi was speaking at a breakfast meeting at the Hilton that brought together broadcasters, content producers and the media to chart the way forward on the airing 40% of local content as provided for in the law.

    “Previously there was no incentive but now if you are not going to meet 40% there are only two things; you will pay more to the Universal Service Fund so that we can use that money to grow local content or we will prescribe different penalties to ensure that you comply,” he said.

    Wangusi also said that they are in the process of coming up with a framework that will draw them close to the producer to help young artists to provide content , adding that a multimedia services department at CA had already been put to the task.

    While speaking at the same event, Nation Media Group’s Managing Director (MD) Linus Kaikai said that it was time Kenyans learnt to embrace their own instead of leaning on foreign content. He reiterated the commitment of broadcasters in working with producers to have more local content aired on TV.

    Content producers represented by Elimu TV’s Jane Muthiga said that they also wanted more representation of their work in the country.

    Source: Techmoran 7 October 2014

  • Three major local stations KTN, NTV and Citizen which have been absent from the StarTimes pay TV platform are now back just two days after the Supreme Court made a ruling on a case that had the stations on opposing sides.

    Subscribers with the StarTimes decoder will now be able to watch the three stations in addition to over 70 international channels hosted by the digital television service provider.

    Confirming these developments, StarTimes media Vice President for Marketing Mark Lisboa noted that the swift action by the company following the Supreme Court ruling on Monday was advised by its capacity and commitment to continue broadcasting an all-inclusive channel offering for the Kenyan subscribers adding that local content remains an integral part of the company’s content genres.

    “The re-introduction of the three channels will complement our already existing local channel offering which includes our self-produced Star Swahili channel thereby presenting the Kenyan subscriber with a rich choice that not only informs but also entertains. We remain committed towards ensuring Kenyans have access to affordable digital television,” noted Mr. Lisboa.

    With a choice of either the StarTimes Pay Television or the Free To Air set top boxes that are currently retailing at just Ksh 2,999 and 4,999 respectively, Kenyan subscribers will continue enjoying access to StarTimes digital television service from as low as Ksh 499 per month.

    Subscribers enrolled on the pay television platform will be enjoying a two week free access to local channels upon the expiry of their monthly subscription awaiting renewal of the same while subscribers using the Free To Air set top box will enjoy free access to the local channels for good with an option to enroll on the pay television platform by subscribing on either of the available bouquets anytime.

    The company has also introduced a convenient online platform where Kenyans will be able to purchase either the Pay Television or the Free To Air Set top box where the same will be delivered at the customers door step. The will enable customers to acquire StarTimes decoders at the comfort of their homes while enjoying fast, door to door after sales service at no extra cost.

    StarTimes has also engaged five leading Supermarkets Tuskys, Naivas, Uchumi, Ukwala and Nakumatt where the Pay Television and the Free To Air set top boxes will also be available countrywide. Over 500 other electronic and dealer outlets spread out across the country will also be stocking the same as the company engages in an extensive exercise to ensure consumers have access to the set top boxes conveniently.

    Source: Humanipo 1 October 2014 

  • South African pay-DTH operator On Digital Media (ODM), is adding two channels, namely the US video clip linear TV channel QYOU and Trace Sports Stars. According to Nextvame, the channels will be aired on ODM's StarSat, on channels 165 and 250 respectively. At the same time MultiChoice has downgraded Trace Sports Stars from its DStv Premium package and made it available to DStv Extra, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers.

    Source: Telecompaper 3 October 2014


  • Seven million fans of South Africa’s most popular television soap opera will be cut off from their daily dose of drama this week after the entire cast was sacked for demanding better pay.

    The last available episode of Generations – which has been running for 20 years – were due to be screened on Tuesday , the South African Broadcasting Corporation announced.

    It will be at least two months before a “revamped” version of the show is broadcast – with a completely new group of 16 actors, the production house said.

    The cast walked off the set in August to demand better pay and royalties. Weeks later they were fired, and the SABC has now run out of episodes.

    “We don’t have enough episodes of Generations, so we will only go until today,” SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told AFP. “We are hoping that Generations will have episodes ready for the first week of December,” he added.

    Set in Johannesburg, Generations is a family drama with the advertising industry as a backdrop. Its cast is predominantly black, but it regularly features white and Indian characters.

    It has been South Africa’s most viewed and longest running soap, having launched in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela became president after the end of apartheid.

    Source: The Guardian 30 September 2014 

  • AFRICA24 MEDIA have launched a talk show called The Scoop! with Salim Amin as the host.  The show’s producers say that the continent’s most dynamic men and women join Salim every week to share their secrets of success, advice to their African brothers and sisters, and something that few people know.

    A Young Global Leader, one of Africa’s most influential people, and son of famed journalist Mohamed Amin, Salim has spent the last two decades traveling across the continent, meeting our movers and shakers, getting to know them and their stories. Now he’s going to let the rest of us in on their tales of adventure and achievement. And he will also provide us with a glimpse of their more playful sides.

    Kicking off the inaugural show is Jeff Koinange, renowned international journalist, who has a past that might surprise you. From entertainment superstars like Akon and Jude Law, to entrepreneurs Sophia Bekele and Kris Senanu, business mogul Dr. Manu Chandaria and even Kenya’s Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga, the best and brightest of our continent are having coffee and telling their stories to Salim. Guests from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and more, make up Season One. Africa24 Media is a Pan African production house, telling stories of Africa’s unique and special people, places and happenings.

    Starting the first week of October, The Scoop will be seen in Africa and internationally on TV Continental, VoxAfrica and WBS Uganda, with over a dozen other African broadcasters around the continent receiving the Show from our distribution partners Canal France International (CFI). This represents a potential viewership of over 150 million people, across four continents. On-line THE SCOOP will be seen on websites boasting over 15 million viewers daily, including,, and

    Source: Press Release

  • East African triple-play service provider Zuku, part of African Media company Wananchi Group, announces that award-winning hybrid cooking and travel series, Tales from The Bush Larder, will return for a third series on the Zuku Entertainment channel 100 from 7th October at 8:30pm.

    In series three of Tales from the Bush Larder (12x24), chef and restaurateur, Kiran Jethwa, takes viewers on a culinary tour of breath-taking locations throughout Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa. Audiences are introduced to fascinating local characters and their unique methods of harvesting and cooking popular and unusual delicacies from the local area.

    Catherine Njari, Head of Programming, Zuku, Wananchi Group says; “We are extremely proud to present a third series of our award-winning, Kenyan produced series Tales from The Bush Larder.  The programme has been so well received - both domestically and outside of Kenya - and its success illustrates that there is a market for original, African produced content. We look forward to sharing another series full of awe-inspiring culinary and visual delights with audiences.”

    Kiran’s adventures include foraging in the bushes of Zambia’s Central Province for wild mushrooms, nabbing a razor-toothed barracuda from the picturesque lakeshore of Lake Kariba, visiting a Mozambican escargot farm; bungee jumping beside Victoria Falls for the ferocious tiger fish and scaling South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains for herbs and edible flowers.

    The series is a co-production between Zuku and Fox and produced by a Kenyan company, Quite Bright Films. Earlier this year, Tales from The Bush-Larder won the ‘Best TV Show’ category at Kenya’s 5th Kalasha Film & Television Awards.

    To see the show’s host Kiran Jethwa talking about the programme, click here:

    Source: Press Release

  • With the 2015 Academy Awards a mere four months away, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the full list of films vying for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Out of the 73 countries that submitted films for consideration in the prestigious category, four films from African directors are in the running to make the shortlist before it’s whittled down to the final five. Final nominations for the Best Foreign Language Film will be announced on January 15, 2015, with the nine shortlisted entries announced a week in advance. The 87th Academy Awards are set to take place on February 22, 2015. Scroll on for a brief synopsis for each film.

    Factory Girl (Egypt, dir. Mohamed Khan)

        Factory Girl tells the story of Hiyam, a young factory worker, who lives in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, along with her co-workers. She is clearly under the spell of Salah, the factory’s new supervisor, who has expressed his admiration for her. She believes love can transcend the class differences between them. However, when a pregnancy test is discovered in the factory premises, her immediate family and close friends accuse her of sinning. Hiyam decides not to defend herself and pays an enormous price in a society that fails to accept independent women. Factory Girl examines the changes that take place in her life over the four seasons of the year. From falling in love to facing heartbreak, her life comes around full circle by the end of the year.

    Timbuktu (Mauritania, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako)

        Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered “GPS”, his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants.

    The Red Moon (Morocco, dir. Hassan Benjelloun)

        The Red Moon is a biopic chronicling the rise and fall of of Abdeslam Amer, a great Moroccan songwriter who is considered a legendary figure in Moroccan music history. Abdeslam is a blind child prodigy from a poor family who succeed academically. Zahra, his classmate, never shared his passion but was the exclusive inspiration of his work. In the late ‘50s, the young prodigy manages to release his first song which was written, composed and sung by himself. The sixties are the glory years of the Moroccan song. Abdeslam’s  journey in Cairo, with his first companions, Abdelhadi Belkhayat and Abdelhay Scalli, constituted a rewarding experience full of surprises. After the Arab defeat in 1967, Amer will be forced to return to Morocco. After four years of intense productions, Amer dominates the world of the music, has a successful marriage and is living in certain material comfort, going from success to success. But one last obstacle awaits Amer. In 1971, he falls into disfavor becoming a pariah.

    Elelwani (South Africa, dir. Ntshaveni Wa Lurul)

        Elelwani and her boyfriend are in love and plan to spend the rest of their lives together. They are both educated and live urban lives with aspirations to travel abroad. After the University graduation Elelwani returns to her family in the rural countryside to introduce her boyfriend and announce their future plans. But the weight of tradition bears heavily on her family and they refuse to accept the union. The father wants his daughter to become the wife of the local king, despite her insistent refusal. What unfolds is a secret hidden by the royal family from the community and Elelwani is destined to uncover these mysteries and deceptions.

    Source: Okaya 2 October 201 4 

  • The undead return for yet another thrilling season in October. Calling all the DEADicated fans of the popular award-winning The Walking Dead - the time has come! A brand new season with more adventure, more action-packed scenes and naturally a lot more blood kicks off on 13 October, just a day after the US premiere. You can catch the new season of the highly anticipated show on FOX, DStv channel 125 on Mondays at 21:20 CAT.

    Season 4 of The Walking Dead ended with Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln) and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. Season 5 picks up shortly thereafter. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the gun-toting people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington, D.C., the fate of the group's lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and intersect. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and conflict. Contentment and terror. And, in the quest to find a permanent, safe place to call home, one question will haunt them…After all they've seen, all they've done, all they've sacrificed, lost, and held onto no matter what the cost...

    True to form of what the show has delivered to audiences in the past four seasons, this season promises more surprises, including one at the end of the first episode. Viewers can expect an epic ride filled with more stunt-heavy episodes than we’ve seen before.

    Source: Company Press Release


  • Video streaming app Aflix is set to revolutionise the African Video-On-Demand space. Initially launched in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, Aflix’s coverage has been extended to Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Others are Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia and Madagascar.

    Focused on quality, convenience and best experience for users, Aflix plans to dominate the space by  providing a large library of Hollywood content at affordable prices to Africans via Android powered mobile devices and Set Top Boxes.

    Aflix’s Director of Business Development, Nyasha Mutsekwa said: “Our drive is inspired by the desire to fulfill essential need of providing top notch movie entertainment to the African market, using mobile technology. Africa is today unarguably the home of mobile and it is our desire to utilise the mobile platform in providing our innovative solution.”

    Source: Humanipo 8 Ocotber 2014 

  • Not only has The Africa Channel moved to a new slot on the Virgin EPG, it is now available on Virgin TV Anywhere. For the first time ever you can watch all of its programmes on the go, wherever you are.

    If you’re a subscriber to Virgin TV Anywhere, you can stream The Africa Channel from your computer, or if you’re a Virgin Media TiVo customer, you can get the free app for iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Amazon Kindle Fire and Amazon Fire Phone’s. All you need is a WiFi connection to get started. You will also be able to share your favourite programming with friends on Facebook and Twitter while you’re watching too.

    For more information about Virgin TV Anywhere, please visit : Virgin TV Anywhere – Online:

    Source: Press Release

  • EbonyLife TV, one of Africa’s global entertainment and lifestyle networks, has launched in Southern Africa (including South Africa). The channel which was hitherto available to DStv customers in 44 countries in west, east and central Africa, now brings the best of homegrown programming to audiences in the Southern African region.

    Since its launch in July 2013, EbonyLife TV has grown to become one of the most prominent platforms for premium entertainment with Afrocentric perspectives, delivering a fresh energy and a new perspective to audiences across the continent.

    With over 1,000 hours of premium, original and inspiring African programming from a variety of genres – including reality, talk shows, drama, entertainment, food, politics, music, news, lifestyle, and comedy shows, EbonyLife TV is aimed at youth aged 18 to 34 who constantly yearn for real African content that speaks to their shared values.

    Executive Chairman and CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu, said: “We’re extremely excited about EbonyLife TV’s extension into the Southern African and South African markets, barely a year after our launch. This expansion is due to our success in the rest of Africa. We’re proud of the fact that we are 100 per cent homegrown.”

    GM for Content for MultiChoice, Aletta Alberts, commented: “EbonyLife TV is the perfect example of how entertaining local content can travel across the continent. I’m sure our DStv Compact, Extra and Premium customers will enjoy the wide variety of entertainment on this channel – there really is something for every member of the family. This is Africa at its best.”

    Source: This Day 8 October 2014


  • Multinational consumer goods company, Unilever has launched “Academy for African Filmmakers (AAF),” an initiative that seeks to equip and elevate African Film industry to global standards.

    The initiative, which is in collaboration with MOFILM, is open to young Africans with technical proficiency and passion in film-making between the ages of 16 to 30. It is the first of its kind in Africa and will run in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in December 2014.

    “It is no secret that great talent abounds in this culturally diverse continent (but) we are however yet to reach our full potential,” Unilever’s Marc Engel said.

    To this end, AAF will offer an intensive three-day course created and delivered by experts from the film-making industry. The curriculum will cover several aspects of film making theory and practice, with a focus on developing the storytelling skills of the attending students.

    Founder and CEO of MOFILM, Jeffrey Merrihue said “Through partnering with Unilever, the AAF will build on this work and give even greater opportunity for African film makers to shine on a local and global stage.”

    The Academy is part of the Unilever Foundry, a platform launched to collaborate and experiment with the digital and creative community.

    MOFILM on the other hand is a leading content creation community for film makers, photographers and musicians. It is experienced identifying untapped African film making talent in Africa.

    Source: Ventures Africa 8 October 2014

  • Commercial broadcaster has raised concerns about the state of television in South Africa, pointing to what it says is the long-term decline of free-to-air TV, especially in the independent commercial free-to-air segment.

    “The weakening of free-to-air broadcasting will have a profound impact on the fairness and equality of access to broadcasting,” CEO Marcel Golding said at the first day of public hearings by communications regulator Icasa into the state of competition in South Africa’s information and communications technology industry.

    There has been a decline in the share of households that watch free-to-air channels, said Golding. That this number had dropped from 83% to 63% in seven years (not including viewers who watched these channels on a pay-TV platform).

    The broadcaster said that although free-to-air advertising had grown, it had been far outpaced by the growth in advertising on rival MultiChoice’s DStv platform. It quoted figures saying that its advertising revenue had climbed by 5,75% for the period August 2010 to July 2013, while DStv’s had jumped by 21% in the same period.

    Golding said Icasa should urgently take steps to protect the viability of the free-to-air sector. He recommended an amendment to the Electronics Communications Act on the must-carry rule that states that free-to-air channels must be carried by satellite or pay-TV operators.

    The broadcaster also recommended amendments to the act dealing with pay-TV’s access to advertising revenues and subscription operators’ licence conditions. It said sports broadcasting regulations should be amended and urged Icasa to develop regulations prohibiting pay-TV operators from entering into exclusive agreements with community broadcasters.

    It also recommended that regulations be put in place that “mandate access on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to the set-top boxes of pay-TV operators”.

    Regulations should limit the pay-TV window for movie rights to 18 months, making such rights available for free-to-air licensing, said Golding.

    “Without proper regulation to achieve these objectives, TV would be driven by purely commercial factors — for example, only providing quality TV to those who can pay the most,” he said. “If we can’t protect our advertising market, our ability to compete becomes very difficult. If we don’t have the rights to broadcast certain sports, our platform becomes very difficult to promote.”

    Icasa intends using its research in crafting future regulations and in deciding where to intervene in markets with pro-competitive measures. It will investigate where the bottlenecks are to competition across the telecoms, broadcasting and postal services sectors.

    After this week’s hearings are concluded, the authority will produce a draft findings and recommendations document for further public input.

    Thereafter, Icasa will make available its final recommendations. It hopes to complete this process by the end of the year, but timing depends on how complicated it gets, said councillor William Currie.

    Source: Techcentral  1 October 2014

  • Zuku pay tvHome entertainment and pay tv operator Wananchi Group has has raised $130 million from its existing and new investors in an expansion drive across East and southern Africa.

    Altice and Liberty Global participated in the round as well Helios Investment Partners, a new investor.

    According to Richard Bell, Wananchi’s Vice Chairman said “The new capital investment will be used to consolidate the group’s market leadership in East Africa and to extend our services across East and Southern Africa. We will continue the deployment of fiber to the home networks in more cities in East Africa and extend our business services networks and product offerings across a wide variety of geographies and market segments. With our stronger balance sheet we will also invest in exciting new technologies and service platforms to improve the quality of our products and deliver a superior experience for our customers.”

    Founded in 2008, Wananchi Group Holdings offers Pay TV services, residential fibre broadband and telephone services in Kenya and East Africa. It also offers corporate services as Simbanet, Alldean and Isat across East Africa and beyond. The raise will help it achieve its major vision in the region.

    The firm in August announced it had embarked on a Ksh 220 million network upgrade to improve speeds and reduce downtime by the end of this month. The firm also said the upgrade will lay basis for the provision of speeds of up to 50Mbps for its Nairobi customers.

    Last year, Wananchi Group announced plans to raise between Sh4.3 billion ($50 million) and Sh8.7 billion ($100 million) to aid in the expansion of its cable business in Tanzania and Uganda before the end of 2014.The firm had also drawn expansion plans into Malawi.

    In 2011, Wananchi was able to raise Sh4.9 in growth capital from investors including Liberty Global, Oppenheimer Funds, Canada-based emerging markets fund manager Sarona Asset Management, and African private equity firm East Africa Capital Partners.

    It’s major competitor and  market leader DStv has a huge war chest that the money Wananchi is rasing and DStv has alsoready launched and expanded in many of these African markets. Wananchi’s only power lays on its home and office internet services which are popular among the yuouth regionally.

    Source: Techmoran 6 October 2014

technology & convergence

  • Provider of premium pay-TV content on DStv and GOtv platforms, Multichoice, has stepped up its consumer engagement drive in Nigeria with its DStv open house initiative.  In furtherance of the company’s commitment to enriching lives, the DStv open house will provide consumers with instant access to a range of services, including customer care, subscription payment, self-help channels, technical support and much more. The activation is scheduled to hold in residential estates across selected areas in Lagos State between 27th September and 1st November 2014.

    Speaking at the first leg of the initiative at Victoria Garden City in Ajah, Caroline Oghuma, Public Relations Manager, DStv, reiterated the company’s commitment to deepening its engagement with its subscribers and providing them with platforms to access sound and convenient sales and service infrastructure.

    “Given the overwhelming support that we have received from our customers, we have decided to bring our services to their doorsteps,” Oghuma said.  “This initiative amplifies our customer-centric approach to business. With us, the customer comes first. Our customers in Ikeja, Egbeda, Ikoyi, Festac Town, Mafoluku and many more can look forward to the road show in their neighbourhoods in the weeks ahead,”

    In addition to providing immediate resolution to customer queries, the DStv open house entails an experience centre where visitors can enjoy the exceptional viewing experience of the Explora decoder. The road show also features a children’s play area as well as a self-service centre where customers can resolve technical issues including clearing error messages on their decoders and retrieving information on payment due dates.

    The open house will serve as a feedback mechanism by addressing firsthand whatever issues subscribers have regarding the company’s services, besides the accompanying bonding opportunity that it provides. Visitors will also be able to access information on how to make the best use of the DStv Explora by utilising accessories, content and service offerings that are available on the platform.

    Caroline Oghuma described the initiative as an avenue for DStv to provide its customers with end-to-end solutions, from product purchase to delivering on their service expectations.

    “Since our customers are our first and foremost interest, we are always looking for the best ways to serve them wherever they are.  With that in mind, we have inaugurated our first-of-its-kind open house, demonstrating our commitment to bringing our services to the doorstep of our subscribers and also ensuring customer satisfaction. We look forward to implementing more initiatives of this kind in the future,” she said.

    Source: Flair 29 September 2014

  • On 1 February 2015, mobile digital broadcaster MobileTV is set to launch its VOD offering, TV4U, in South Africa. According to MobileTV founder Mothobi Mutloatse, the service will be more affordable than its competitors; Altech’s Node and Times Media’s Vidi.

    According to ITWeb Mutloatse said,"Because ours is a satellite-centric concept with content delivered directly to the customer's disk, fast and highly cost-efficient, it provides the additional edge of multiscreen interactivity."

    MobileTV will make use of Sentech Freevision's IS20 satellite network, which means consumers interested in acquiring the service who already have DStv or Freevision dish installations won’t need a new dish.

    Through international partnerships TV4U’s VOD bouquet, Movielicious, will offer users a spread of Hollywood movies, Pakistani and Bollywood films as well African movies and sports viewing.

    "In addition, TV4U's developmental platform will roll out its digital learning service to bridge the distance learning divide and present opportunities to learners and teachers alike from primary school to universities and colleges, to experience simultaneous digital learning television," Mutloatse added.

    Source: Screen Africa 6 October 2014

  • New End-to-End Cloud Platform provides immediate OTT service to broadcasters and operators with unique monetisation features

     SatLink Communications, a global teleport, content management and HD playout services provider, has announced a new partnership with Pi Telecom, a specialist in the development and marketing of interactive video solutions for Hybrid (DVB+IP), IPTV and OTT networks. Through this partnership, SatLink is expanding into the IP delivery market by bringing the best of TV online through the launch of a new End-to-End (E2E) OTT Cloud-based platform to enable broadcasters and multi-channel TV operators to offer an immediate TV everywhere service to subscribers on all screens whilst simultaneously generating new revenue streams.

    The solution, which combines Satlink's global access to content and unique aggregation capabilities with the most innovative technology, is available through a cost-effective, pay-per-service model, ready to launch a managed service via the cloud within days, avoiding the expenses and time consuming associated with creating an OTT broadcasting network.

    Designed for broadcasters and operators, the new end-to-end OTT Cloud Platform offers a full Telco grade broadcasting experience from the aggregation of global multi TV channels, through to the transcoding, live content streaming, VOD library,management tools and creation of new feeds on an easy to use, fun and intuitive TV-like unified user experience on all screens. Broadcasters and operators also have the option to distribute Set-Top-Boxes (STB) and maximise profits through innovative monetisation features, resulting in them reaching more viewers on more devices and extending interaction with their audience.

    The platform, which broadcasters and operators have the option of branding, enables broadcasters to offer niche genres, such as sports, movies, lifestyle or ethnic content, via a series of stable streaming options including live TV to VOD , TimeShift TV through to catch-up TV and live pausing functionality. Subscribers may watch content via both an application or optional Set Top Box’s based on their preferences with interactive content options.

    Arie Aig, CEO of Pi Telecom, commented: “In today’s competitive environment, subscribers want the ability to access their favourite TV content wherever they are and whenever they want. The OTT platform allows broadcasters to develop a direct relationship with the subscriber and generate new revenue from its content.”

    Mr Aig continues: “It is now possible, for example, for broadcasters to create a virtual channel with dedicated content to niche audiences via the cloud at lower cost, which presents them with the opportunity to reutilise old content and take advantage of additional commercial opportunities through advertising.There are also exciting developments from new additional monetisation models, which may link content to merchandise so viewers can easily purchase an item shown on screen.”

    Source: Press Release

  • Belgium firm, SatADSL is set to provide financial and school broadcasting services with internet connectivity to remote areas in Kenya and Uganda using satellite technology.

    The Belgian firm has partnered with Indigo Telecom in Kenya and Uganda’s Maisha Network to enable banks with microfinance institutions to install Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as provide money transfer services.

    SatADSL’s Business Development Director Michel Dothey said the company will be offering small VSAT equipment with dish that cost about  Ksh43,000 ($500) to  help commercial banks and money transfer firms to expand branch network in remote places.

    “VSAT equipment linked to the satellite will increase financial services penetration by being connected to ATMs in rural areas in Kenya and Uganda. This will be expanded to Tanzania and Ethiopia soon,” he said.

    East Africa has limited terrestrial telecommunications coverage outside of urban areas where the population is less dense. Telecommunication links where available may not be as reliable as needed by professional users.

    Mobile phone operators are setting pace of providing low-cost banking  putting pressure on banks to embrace technology but also be innovative through customer oriented corporate culture and service delivery.

    Mr Dothey said a small VSAT equipment can be configured for ATM, corporate networks connectivity, money transfer and virtual private networks applications in areas not served by the national electricity grid.

    “VSAT equipment powered by a small solar panel provides real-time ATM and money transfer transactions on real-time basis by running less than 30 watts of electricity. A laptop consumes about 70 watts of power,” he said.

    Banks in Ghana, Cameroon and Zambia have used VSAT to deploy ATMs in remote areas. The equipment can be used to avail internet connectivity by creating low cost hot spots with 100 megabits sold for about $ 1.

    “The VSAT equipment in a position to offer various options and become a one-stop-shop for customers for services ranging from low-cost transaction based or back-up to unlimited services,” said Mr Dothey.

    The equipment is expected provide high quality communications and internet connectivity to corporate offices, bank agencies as well as mining sites in locations where terrestrial services are either are unreliable or not available.

    Source: Humanipo 1 October 2014

regulation & policy

  • The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has held talks with broadcast media executives in a public consultation hearing to get input on the proposed new licence fee regulations that will come into effect in January 2015. KTA chairperson Angelique Weeks gave radio and television executives an opportunity to provide suggestions and feedback, NewDawn reported.

    The hearing brought about 30 broadcast executives together to through the new regulations, which include an increase in the present fee structure but will provide better management of the nation's scarce spectrum resources.

    There were suggestions from executives that engineers who install transmitters be registered and approved by the LTA to promote uniformity and adherence to frequency regulations, which is a central part of compliance. Frequency management was an area that drew spirited discussion. Weeks said the participants provided valuable input for the regulator to take back and consider and see what changes are needed.

    LTA also plans to engage GSM and other ICT providers in a similar manner to get their input on the new GSM fee structure, which shifts from a flat rate to performance-based, encourages innovation by allowing one licence for multiple ICT applications, and removes market entry barriers to allow more Liberians to afford to participate in the sector.

    Source: Telecompaper 8 October 2014


  • Announcement by PAMRO

    The conference due to be held in Ghana in August 2014 is now to be re-schedued to August 2015 due to the health concerns and restriction in travel in West Africa. For further information please visit the website here:

    Important events in the African broadcast, film and TV sector

    Oct 2014 (dates tba)
    11th. African Film Festival of Cordoba – FCAT

    Venue: Cordoba, Spain
    The main African film fest in Spain.

    5 to 7 Nov 2014

    Venue: Johannesburg, RSA 
    The biggest African market & creative forum for TV programmes and audiovisual content trade: not to miss.

    11th-13th November 2014

    Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre (picture below), South Africa
    AfricaCast will continue to bring together the growing number of Sub-Saharan Africa’s major broadcasters, content owners, telcos, investors, cable companies and pay TV providers. AfricaCom is the largest telecoms and IT event in Africa.

    exact dates tba, Novembre 2014

    Film Africa 2014

    Venue: London, UK.
    The UK’s largest annual festival of African cinema and culture. Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Every year, Film Africa brings London audiences a core programme of fiction and documentary films alongside a vibrant series of accompanying events, including director Q&As, panel discussions, talks, workshops, master classes, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.
    exact dates tba, Novembre 2014

    Kenya International Film Festival 2014 (KIFF)
    Venue: Kenya.

    25th -27th November 2014
    Digital Migration and Spectrum Management Forum – Africa 2014

    Johannesburg, South Africa
     A high-level industry conference, this conference will bring together key stakeholders across the broadcasting, telecoms, broadband and associated industries to assess the latest developments in spectrum technology, applications, standard, services and platforms and the relevance to Africa.
    Please click here  to access the event website and to register your participation at this event.

    15 to 17 July 2015
    Mediatech Africa 2013

    Venue: Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg, South Africa
    The biennial advanced technology trade show has positioned itself as the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in Africa for the media and entertainment industries.



  • Scotland’s African In Motion Film Festival Screening Lineup Announced

    The 9th edition of the Africa In Motion Film Festival, Scotland’s African Film Festival, returns to Glasgow later this month to showcase the best in African cinema with the theme “Looking Back, Reaching Forward.” Last year’s event featured several of our Top Films Of 2013, including Akosua Adoma Owusu’s Kwaku Ananse, and Jahmil XT Qubeka‘s noir-thriller Of Good Report. This year, festival organizers have curated a well-rounded program that features a number of films and documentary projects featured in this column over the past few months, including Spoek Mathambo‘s Future Sound Of Mzansi, the FOKN Bois‘ Ghanaian pidgen musical sequal Coz of Moni II, South Africa’s “first dance film” Hear Me Move, Nigerian dark comedy Confusion Na Wa and Afronauts, the space age short from Ghanaian director Frances Bodomo. This year’s festival will also include a special program track dedicated to 20 years of South African democracy that will feature interactive workshops, live music performances and lectures in addition to a UK-wide Freedom Tour of Mzansi cinema. The Africa In Motion Film Festival is scheduled to take place from October 29th through November 4th. Watch the trailer for this year’s festival here , and visit the official website  for more information and the full schedule of screenings.

    Source: Okaya 2 October 2014

    The Cambridge African Film Festival Celebrates its 13th Edition from 1 to 9 November

    The longest running African film festival in the UK returns to the city of Cambridge from 1 to 9 November, showcasing more than ten films from a variety of countries, including South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Cameroon and Nigeria. The Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) opens with Timbuktu, by one of the leading lights of African cinema, Abderrahmane Sissako, which impressed the audiences at Cannes 2014.
    True to its original goals, CAFF 2014 aims to show the best of contemporary African films, increase understanding and awareness of African and black culture in the UK, and build a UK audience in the beautiful city of Cambridge for African filmmakers, while offering an important counterbalance to the Western media’s stereotyping of Africa. Most screenings are followed by a Q&A, either with the director, or students and academics at the University of Cambridge. In collaboration with The Humanitarian Centre, there is also a panel discussion showcasing various projects aimed at empowering young Africans through film.
    This year CAFF has joined forces with other UK African film festivals to put together, for the first time ever, a touring season called ‘South Africa at 20: The Freedom Tour’, marking the 20th anniversary of democracy in the country. Thanks to its participation in this exciting tour, which is a partnership between the South African Department of Arts and Culture and the British Council, CAFF is screening a rich selection of South African titles, from 1994: The Bloody Miracle, a compelling documentary, presented by director Meg Rickards, that immerses us in the context of the first democratic elections in South Africa; to the fresh and first ever South African street dance film, Hear Me Move, a vibrant portrayal of contemporary youth that closes the Festival and is followed by a live performance by South African singer Joyce Moholoagae. The festival line-up explores other themes, such as oppression, migration and the arts, and pays tribute to young filmmaker Bakary Diallo, who passed away in the tragic crash of Air Algérie Flight 5017. CAFF also highlights work by women filmmakers, inviting debut Nigerian-British director Destiny Ekaragha to speak at the screening of her comedy Gone Too Far.
    Not only a celebration of film, CAFF is hosting a free seminar at the Fitzwilliam Museum on ‘Africa & Photography’, led by Spanish artist Javier Hirschfeld, whose exhibition ‘Más Morena’, adapting Spanish art to Senegalese subjects, will be at the Arts Picturehouse for the whole month of November. There will also be a workshop on South African popular songs as well as live music at the opening and closing of the festival.
    CAFF is sponsored by Trinity Collegeand the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge. CAFF has also received strong support from prestigious organisations such as the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse and the Cambridge Film Trust, the French Society at Trinity College, Cambridge-Africa Programme, the Centre of African Studies at the University of London, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Key Travel, The Humanitarian Centre, and the African Society of Cambridge University.
    The main venues for the festival are the Arts Picturehouse and the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at Trinity College. Tickets are on sale as of Friday 3 October.

  • Roger leaves PANA TV to Set up saniFilms

    PANA TV's CEO, Mandy Roger, has  left the African online streaming service, to set up her own company, saniFilms, an African content aggregator and distributor.

    Roger, whose previous roles have included stints at M-Net and BBC Worldwide, says of her new outfit: "We acquire non-exclusive distribution rights and pitch the content to all broadcasters, VOD platforms, mobile operators and telcos worldwide."

    sanFilms currently has around 600 feature films from all African countries in various languages, as well as  60 television series.  Roger is also concentrating on building the factual catalogue and is happy to represent anyone's content and negotiate deals on their behalf.

    "We also consult with various clients, building bespoke packages for channels and platforms of specifically selected African content as required," adds Roger.

    "And all African content is considered, whether it be on or off continent, so saniFilms will also take on board Afro-Brazilian, African American and Caribbean content," Roger concludes.

    Source: Press Release

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