Distributor Cote Ouest will launch its first local drama series – l’histore d’une vie – in October


Next month Cote Ouest, Africa’s leading francophone film distributor will launch its first commissioned drama series, l’histoire d’une vie, a love story set in Cote d’Ivoire during the civil war. It will air first on the country’s public broadcaster and CFI, which has helped finance it, will distribute it across Africa. Sylvain Beletre spoke to Cote Ouest’s CEO Bernard Azria.

Q: What does Cote Ouest do?

A: Cote Ouest distribution is Cote Ouest’s supplying arm and one of the leading independent distributors of audio-visual programmes and TV rights in Africa.
The company's HQ is in Côte d’Ivoire. I founded the company back in 1992 so we are 18 years old. We have 36 staff and a competitive network of 9 representatives throughout Africa.We support 2 distribution offices: one in Mauritius (Port-Louis) and another one in France (Paris). We started by focusing our activity on programs dedicated to French Speaking Broadcasters: we cover 35 French Speaking African markets and supply 37 TV Stations.

Q: what types of TV content do you distribute?

A: We distribute what our clients need to keep their audiences’ interest. In 2009, we supplied 1,600 hours of TV programs; 95% of these programs were fiction and 5% documentaries and magazines. Details can be found on http://www.cotewest.com
Among these fictions, the serial dramas commonly called “Telenovelas” represent the most important part, and series, movies, TV-movies and animations share the remaining part. African programmes (films and documentaries) represent a growing part of our catalogue. The fiction output is essentially produced in America (USA or South America) and some comes from Australia or Great Britain.

Q: who are your key content providers?

A: Cote Ouest distributes programmes coming from major companies like: Alliance Atlantis, Buena Vista, Disney, Hallmark-RHI, MGM, Paramount - Worldvision, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures, TV Globo, TV Azteca, Warner Bros, as well as several Anglo-Saxon independent producers or distributors.

Q: how do you differentiate yourself?

A: Through our experience of the African market, our content catalogue, our networking and our client care. Cote Ouest Distribution offers its customers (broadcasters) a free access to the catalogues of the major companies we work for and we can supply them directly and quickly with a large selection of almost 5 000 hours of new and successful programmes.

We offer strong guarantees to our clients and business partners (producers and distributors). With the support of our performing network, we provide efficient distribution of all type of TV programs in French and English Speaking Africa.
If necessary, we can also introduce diverse financial innovations such as “bartering”.

Apart from that, we have sealed a strategic partnership with MNet to distribute its film library.

Q: Are you planning further expansion in Anglophone and Lusophone countries in Africa?

A: Definitely, via a partnership with TV Globo. We distribute their recent blockbusters that we dub into English.

2 title + story - More ISPs Sign Up For Dstv On Demand

DStv On Demand is a service offered to DStv’s Premium subscribers which was launched in May 2010. It is offered free of charge and is a service in which selected DStv programming is stored on a server or decoder hard drive, allowing subscribers access to these programmes at a time that is convenient to them.

The service is available on PVRs (excluding HD PVR 2P) or online. The DStv On Demand online offering provides 80 hours per week of premium content including blockbuster movies, award-winning series, the best sporting action, kids’ shows and documentaries. The DStv On Demand offering on PVR decoders provides 20 hours of the most popular TV series and sports magazines shows for up to 7 days after broadcast on DStv Channels. DStv On Demand online offering has over 300 hours of popular TV series and movies and is available up to 30 days after broadcast on DStv Channels.

MultiChoice announced on 26th August 2010 that three additional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to join MWEB as distribution partners for its DStv On Demand service online. The ISPs are: Vox Telecom, Neology and Cybersmart; the first additional ISPs to meet MultiChoice’s quality and technology requirements.

“Since we launched DStv On Demand we have been in discussions with several ISPs about offering the service to their subscribers. We’re very pleased to announce the first wave of partners and look forward to announcing more very soon,” says Jason Probert, GM: DStv On Demand. “Now more DStv subscribers will be able to watch their favourite television shows online.”

“Vox Telecom is continually looking at new and exciting innovations to offer its customers, so we are pleased to announce that we will soon be able to offer DStv ON DEMAND to our customers. We have no doubt that it will be a valuable addition to our current services,” says Clayton Timcke, Group Marketing Manager for Vox Telecom.

“Neology is excited to be able to provide this service to its client ISPs. This is a good first step in pushing video on demand services in South Africa – a real game changer. DStv’s insistence on quality over quantity is a breath of fresh air in the ISP space and the basis of our own approach to service delivery,” comments Regardt van de Vyver, Managing Director, Neology.

"Our customers have always been able to stream video on our unshaped ADSL and leased line services, but other than the odd youtube clip there has not been much in the way of content. DStv's On Demand service changes all this. The fact that we can serve this content locally over our peering links, instead of having to source it from overseas, improves our customers' experience and does not cost us the earth to run" says Laurie Fialkov, MD of Cybersmart.

Each ISP will communicate the date that the service will become available to their customers. The ISP’s are working on the integration and their service offering and will communicate to their customers once they are ready with their commercial offering.

Jason Probert added that as of this month the online DStv On Demand offering will include 50 movies per month. “Adding more ISPs is just one way in which we are improving the service. The DStv On Demand offering online now includes 50 new movies per month. We are always looking for ways to add more value to the service.”