French Media invest across Africa


Hexagonal media groups multiply initiatives and projects to take advantage of the growth of “La Francophonie”, which should rise from 220 million people to 700 million in 2050, which almost all live in Africa.

On May 26, 2014 TV5 Monde, the francophone TV channel launched the magazine “Africanité”, a kind of monthly talkshow about culture, customs and ways of African life.

On the same day, “Jeune Afrique” announced the creation of an image bank of 30,000 shots - with video to be added soon – for the use of the media, advertising agencies and companies.

A few months ago, it was pay TV platform Canal + Africa (Canal Plus) which created “Réussite“ (Success), the "magazine of Africa that wins," French magazine “Le Point “inaugurated a website on African news, France 24 TV channel, which launched its daily newspaper focused on Africa and “Africa 24” TV which signed an agreement with “numéro 23” to broadcast on the French DTT network its show “Africa News”.

Euronews TV announced that its management team wants to create a pan-African news channel under the name of “Africa News” from Brazzaville (Congo), June 2015.

This is not surprising, claimed Yves Bigot, CEO of TV5 "Everyone says this is the next Eldorado, the South America of tomorrow. Although we do not know when."

An analysis from Natixis noted in October 2013 showed that there was a card to play for hexagonal media if they wanted to benefit from the growth of the Francophonie, which is expected to rise from 220 million speakers to 700 million by 2050. Indeed 85% of this population live in Africa.

"For us, Africa is a priority. It is in the preamble of our 2014-2016 strategic plan"said Yves Bigot. To take advantage of the digital terrestrial television, which will settle across the continent between 2015 and 2017, TV5 is working on its presence: for the Francophonie Summit in Dakar in November 2014 it seeks a "must carry " (mandatory distribution) agreement on TNT.

Meanwhile, TV5 has opened a third emitter in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that is the seventh most populous in the world, with 120 million in 2030. But for Yves Bigot, it is mainly to strengthen TV5 in Africa with programs specifically designed for the black continent, currently 20 to 25%.

TV5 Africa has made € 1 million in advertising revenue in 2013, representing an annual increase of 20%. On a continent where growth is 5% on average, Africa is attracting more and more desires ... even if the Afro-optimism is not always appropriate.

Chinese but also Brazilians, Turks, Koreans or Qataris are investing France’s former backyard and take shares every day.

The Bolloré Group, which develops in ports and rail logistics, with 25,000 employees in Africa, is the largest shareholder of Vivendi, which has sold Telecom Morocco to the UAE Etisalat (six subsidiaries and 10 million subscribers in Francophone Africa).

Vivendi is also the owner of Canal + Group Africa. This channel is now reaping 1,000,000 subscribers on the continent and a "strong double-digit growth," as its CEO, Jacques du Puy claims.

Two years back, Canal + chosed to leave the luxury segment in Africa to occupy a premium segment more in line with the new middle classes. This means targeting sub-Saharan Africa, electrified households of over 250 euros per month and capable of generating a cash surplus income to pay 12.5 to 25 euros subscription per month. Family motivations are multiple: follow football games, watching series (more than already pirated movies) and entertain or educate children.

Lagardère Entertainment is also interested in these new talents. Its president Takis Candilis is looking to locate in an African capital to develop formats. Richard Lenormand, director of audiovisual division Lagardère Active, announced on May 26 2014 a project to create a "Gulli Africa" TV channel in English, French and Portuguese. Already present in South Africa, Lagardère Active Radio International (Lari), a subsidiary of the group in charge of developing radios activities abroad, also wants to develop on the African market. In July, Lari should launch in Senegal a music station, Radio Vibe, which emits in Dakar and employ fifteen people. This is a first implementation from which Lari hopes to develop its radios in sub-Saharan Africa, but also English first French via buybacks stations.

Read the full story here in French.

Source: Stratégies Magazine n°177106/06/2014 - translated from French by Balancing Act Africa, Sylvain Beletre.