Africa Day: Building businesses that improve African lives (By Fhulu Badugela)

todayMay 23, 2024 11

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By Fhulu Badugela, MultiChoice Africa CEO (www.MultiChoice.com).

As we mark Africa Day, people and organisations commit themselves to making a positive difference for the continent. Building a business model that improves lives is the most effective way to achieve this, writes MultiChoice Africa CEO Fhulu Badugela.

As the continent celebrates Africa Day on 25 May, two business priorities come into sharp relief; Businesses must remain profitable to survive, but they must also deliver a net benefit for society.

A unifying purpose

At MultiChoice Africa, we strive to achieve this balance by aligning around a single unifying goal – enriching lives. It’s at the heart of our value proposition of delivering entertainment and services to our customers through technology.

While we aim to be the entertainment platform of choice for African households, we also want to enrich their lives by making a significant contribution to economic development, in the spirit of Africa Day.

MultiChoice also enriches lives through our role in developing Africa’s contemporary cultural heritage, having been entertaining, informing and empowering African communities for more than 30 years.

We also continue to offer value to our customers by using the latest technology to enhance accessibility, and boosting the number of platforms we offer as we develop our hyperlocal strategy of authentic African content for African audiences.

Authentic storytelling

Developing that content allows us to reshape the African narrative through the stories we tell. Through our hyperlocal approach, we not only develop film and television industries in multiple African markets, we also allow African people to see their stories told by their own people in their own languages.

After 38 years’ operating across the continent, MultiChoice Africa now produces more than 6 000 hours of local content a year, in 40 languages, across 50 countries, reaching more than 100 million people every day.

Our 17 local channels share homegrown shows, in regional languages, on platforms like Africa Magic, Mzansi Magic, Akwaaba Magic, Maisha Magic, Pearl Magic Prime, Abol TV, Kwenda Magic, Maningue Magic and Zambezi Magic.

This has significant cultural and psychological impact. It’s hard to quantify how much it improves someone’s quality of life, when they see their own culture, values and aspirations reflected in the content they consume.

Smash-hit local shows across the continent not only create opportunities for local filmmakers and actors but has also help to showcase African stories on a global platform.

Recent successes have included family drama Sinia, crime drama Danga and Tuko Talk on Tanzania’s Maisha Magic Plus. In Kenya, the Showmax Original crime procedural Crime and Justice is highly popular, while Uganda’s Pearl Magic Prime features drama series Chapterz.

On Zambezi Magic, Wanilata is a reality dating show; while Our Perfect Wedding Zambia is a staple on ONEZED, alongside telenovela Ubuntu, with Adey and Zuret providing riveting drama on Ethiopia’s Abol TV.

In West Africa, the Akwaaba Magic channel in Ghana is the home of the popular Dede, the story of a naive rural teenager, while Africa Magic channels feature appointment-viewing successes like Date My Family Nigeria and Idols Nigeria.

In Southern Africa, locally produced hits include Zuba and Ten Tamanga Street on Zambezi Magic, O Rio Mahinga on Kwenda Magic, and MaidaDate My Family and Our Perfect Wedding Mozambique on Maningue Magic.

We also strive to ensure we have a pipeline of talented, qualified African creators entering our industry, by investing in training and development through our pan-African MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Academies. 

Multiplier effects

Our group’s content investments have had major economic multiplier effects on the continent, employing 3 042 full-time staff, and making R5.1bn in total tax contributions.

In Nigeria, the Africa Magic channel now produces 700-1 000 hours of original content every year, and buys even more independently produced local content through its online content-licensing portal. 

Across the continent in Ethiopia, MultiChoice has commissioned and licensed more than 138 Ethiopian films and TV shows within two years, for its hyperlocal Abol channels. In Botswana, MultiChoice has delivered local shows alongside MTF skills-transfer partnerships with the Botswana Department of Broadcasting Services.

Longevity through alignment

In every market, MultiChoice Africa also makes a material contribution to the economy through tax revenues, investments in broadcasting technology and sponsorships of local sports leagues, such as SuperSport’s coverage of Zambia’s MTN Super League.

MultiChoice maintains a strong market position due to its established brand presence, extensive content library, and investment in local programming. Our focus on innovation and customer satisfaction has seen us build resilience in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

If there is a learning in this, it is that when the interests of all stakeholders are aligned, then better business makes for better lives. As we once more mark Africa Day, we look forward to continuing to provide Africa with quality entertainment content, and opportunities, in ways that improve lives.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of MultiChoice Group.

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