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Discop Africa: abundance of television content opportunities waiting to be seized

Independent production house Rapid Blue says there is an abundance of television content opportunities waiting to be seized on the African continent – especially in the digital sphere. This emerged after the company participated in the recent DISCOP Africa film and television market, held for the first time in South Africa.
 
Widely regarded as the most important industry gathering dedicated to the business, production and distribution of multiscreen television content in Africa, DISCOP 2012 took place from 31 October to 2 November 2012 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. It attracted more than 700 international companies seeking to buy and sell film, television series, documentaries, formats and other broadcast content.
 
As one of Africa’s most active production companies, with branches in South Africa, Nigeria and Angola, Rapid Blue had an extensive presence at the market with a view to further expanding its footprint in Africa.
 
“We built and maintained relationships across the programming and television format side of our business, with a lot of interest in the international formats we manage,” said Rapid Blue CEO and executive producer Duncan Irvine, referring to titles the Emmy Award-winning company produces such as SA’s Got Talent and Nigeria’s Got Talent, as well as Come Dine With Me SA and Nigerian Idols.
 
“But more importantly,” he added, “we made important inroads elsewhere – such as in the growing area of branded entertainment. There is a definite movement towards branded content, instead of entertainment funded by broadcasters or advertisers, and we’re excited about new opportunities that are opening up to work with brands to create TV programmes.
 
“It’s a far more immersive process that entails understanding a brand and integrating it into a show. We’ve been tracking this trend around the world, and at DISCOP a lot of the sessions revolved around branded content. The continent is still playing catch-up in that area.”
 
Irvine said that Rapid Blue’s division dealing with on-air promotion and design also attracted extensive interest, but the most leads were generated by the company’s recently launched digital division, Rapid Blue Digital. Africa, it would seem, is hungry to explore more innovative content opportunities through online and mobile platforms.
 
Rapid Blue Digital was launched in June to support the parent company with digital content and strategy solutions that invite audience interaction across “screens” – from television and computer to tablet and mobile. Its focus is not limited to digital creative work but extends to the division’s capacity to build its own applications and brings its own products to market. Already, Rapid Blue Digital has exceeded its initial targets and has done work for clients such as Telkom, Nedbank and Media 24.
 
Its managing director, Brett Levy, who has spent 15 years immersed in the digital arena, said that Africa is becoming increasingly “mobile-centric” when it comes to producing content. However, he pointed out that South Africa is unquestionably the continental hub for development and innovation in this area.
 
“Rapid Blue has developed its own augmented reality app, and our stand at DISCOP had an entire wall that came to life through this innovation, which was a real drawcard. It blew people away.” The application uses image recognition technology that brings a flat print image to impressive digitised life.
 
Levy said the company is in the early stages of negotiation with an African partner to explore internet protocol-based television content delivery options.
 
Rapid Blue (working with Basic Lead the organisers of Discop) also helped fund and judge the formats competition at DISCOP, which was geared at identifying and giving a platform to new homegrown shows. Three winners – two from Kenya and one from South Africa – each received $2500 in prize money to help develop their formats further. Rapid Blue has also undertaken to assist the winners in taking their formats to the international market.
 
“Rapid Blue is sometimes perceived as producing mainly international formats, which is not true,” said Irvine. “We develop new local shows as well, and are continually looking to create shows that become international formats.”
 
Irvine said that across its various divisions, Rapid Blue had discussions at the trade fair amounting to roughly R20 million in potential new business – across both “old-school” and “new-school” technologies, from programming and formats to digital. “We’re very excited about the potential for non-traditional ways of transmitting content, such as mobile, subscription-based and video on demand, which is huge in Nigeria and the diaspora.
 
“It was a very productive conference, with a bunch of opportunities identified that, we hope, will enable us to capitalise on our capacity and our existing access to African markets, and expand it further.”


ONLINE LINKS:

Rapid Blue website

Rapid Blue on Facebook

Rapid Blue on Twitter

Rapid Blue is a trendsetting and independent, boutique production company with a flawless track record, across a diverse range of broadcast genres. Founded in 1993 by Duncan & Kee-Leen Irvine - still the Managing Directors & Executive Producers - the company boasts an impeccable reputation and impressive list of local & international awards, most notably an Emmy.
 
Having successfully produced in excess of 8000 hours of television over the years, Rapid Blue are skilled at conceptualising and developing original concepts with excellent results.

Source: Rapid Blue.

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Call for submission: The Wild Talk Africa Film Festival calling filmmakers to the prestigious ROSCAR Awards

The Wild Talk Africa Film Festival is now calling on filmmakers around the world to submit their films to the prestigious ROSCAR Awards. The ROSCARS are the highlight of Wild Talk Africa, a biennial event recognised as Africa s premiere wildlife and natural history film festival and conference. The festival attracts international delegates and leaders of the wildlife filmmaking industry, who enjoy a lively conference and top quality film festival experience, as well as the natural beauty and plethora of activities that South Africa has to offer.

Judges for the ROSCAR Awards include highly qualified and well-known local and international professionals in the filmmaking industry, with representation from leading natural history companies and broadcasters including National Geographic, Animal Planet, and BBC Natural History Unit to name a few.

The ROSCAR Award winners will be announced at a high profile black-tie gala event which recognizes filmmakers for their outstanding contribution to the continued growth and advancement of this essential genre of film.

The ROSCARS, affectionately known as the 'rhino Oscars', are the ultimate recognition and most prestigious event of wildlife and natural history filmmakers in Africa.

Films can be submitted to a number of categories, including the following:

The Music Award
The Sound Design Award
The Cinematography Award
The Limited Budget Award
The Best Children's Natural History Production Award
The Best Environmental Production Award (Dedicated to the memory of Rick Lomba)
The Expedition/Adventure Award
The Short Film Award
The Best Presenter Award
The New Media Award
The Editing Award
The Best Script Award
The Best Series Award
The Best 3D Film Award ** new category
Best Newcomer Award
Best African Production Award
The Best of the Fest Award

Submitting your film is easy to do, by simply visiting the Wild Talk Africa website and following the instructions.

The closing date for all submissions is the 12th March 2013

Submit now at www.wildtalkafrica.com

For more information email roscars(at)wildtalkafrica.com

Source: NHU Africa/Wild Talk Africa, 13 November, 2012


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Short film competition offers African filmmakers US$100 000

The Afrinolly Shortfilm Competition, launched late last week, offers budding filmmakers and documentary/animation content creators the opportunity to win prizes in a competition valued at US$100 000. For more, go to www.afrinollyshortfilmcompetition.com

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Following the success of this year's first Jozi Film Festival, JFF has attracted mobile telecommunications giant Vodacom as a partner in Jo'burg's first ever mobile phone film competition. The competition opens on 15 November 2012 and closes on 30 December 2012. The top ten films will be uploaded to a dedicated Youtube site in January 2012 where the public can vote via sms for their favourite film. The best films will be screened at next year's Jozi Film Festival, running from 15 to 17 February 2013.