Distribution - In Brief
- The Middle East online video streaming platform icflix, due to launch this month, has signed content deals with Turner Broadcasting of the US, Canada's DHX Media, and Italy's Mondo TV.
- The recent deals secure video-on-demand (VOD) content from Turner's Cartoon Network Arabia, while DHX has agreed the exclusive local rights to the animated Super Mario series, plus access to the children's shows Calilou and Arthur in Arabic, French and English. The service – to be rolled out across the Middle East and North Africa in June prior to a global launch later in 2013 – will be available to subscribers for a monthly fee. Selected premium content will also be offered on an on-demand basis.
- The streaming platform will offer a mix of Hollywood, Bollywood and Jazwood (Arabic) TV series and movies, as well as children's shows and sports, across a range of connected devices. In addition to the recent Western deals, content has already been secured from Middle East heavyweights the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) and the Arab Radio and Television Network (ART).
- Naspers' financial results published in June 2013 show strong performance in Pay television, through MultiChoice, also performed strongly.
Pay TV performed well, growing revenue by 20% to R30,3bn, with plans to step up expansion in Africa. However, Naspers says it reached a “milestone” in 2013 when “managed revenues from our Internet units, which includes our share of associates, exceeded that of pay television”. Growth came mainly from a 1,1m increase in the number of subscribers, which has reached 6,7m homes in 48 countries. The GOtv digital terrestrial television brand, has been launched in more markets and had 376 000 subscribers at the end of March. Trading profits from pay TV rose by 18% to R7,6bn.
- Resurrected Ugandan miniseries The Hostel is poised for a smooth run following a new three-year deal with NTV Uganda. Fasttrack productions, the popular drama show's makers, last week signed an agreement in which NTV would fund the show's production in exchange for free-to-air and pay TV rights as well as online and DVD distribution across Africa and Europe.