Local Content Ruling The Roost As Streaming Platforms Boost African Productions
"It is a good time to be a content producer in Africa" - this is according to Joel Phiri of Known Associates Entertainment, the South Africa production company behind the show "uBettina Wethu", a local adaptation of the hit US show "Ugly Betty". Mr Phiri was referencing the reality that as more streaming platforms come to the African market, they seek quality local content to fill their catalogue and, in turn, rely on the creativity of local African producers.
Variety magazine's recent reporting also suggests that the "scramble for local content" has helped see content production surge in South Africa. BMA can confirm that it is also true the many major markets across Africa.
According to Dorothy Ghethuba, the head of African originals at Netflix, the platform continues its massive push for original local content. Ghethuba said that several greenlit Africa originals are going to be announced in short order.
Showmax, another streaming platform owned by Multichoice, is also well invested in the local content business. Yolisa Phahle, the chief of general entertainment at the MultiChoice Group, said: "Everything we do, and every investment we make, is 100% focused on the African continent." And because of its indigenous origin, the platform already sees itself as the natural place for local African audiences.
Suppose you add to these two current giants other smaller challengers such as Viu, Iroko, and new entrants such as Amazon prime and Disney+. In that case, it is easy to concur with one of the many industry experts when she said, "I believe we are entering a golden age of African content creation, where the world can now be exposed to work from this continent on a scale that has never been seen before."