Lusophone launches help MultiChoice develop local content

The launch of two new entertainment channels in Mozambique and Angola is part of the JSE-listed firm's attempt to grab audience share in developing African markets.


Image : Charly TRIBALLEAU /AFP

South African entertainment company MultiChoice has launched new Lusophone TV channels in Mozambique and Angola in a bid to boost its local audiences across the continent.

Portuguese language channels Maningue Magic and Kwenda Magic, launching in Mozambique and Angola respectively, will show dramas, soaps, reality shows, music, comedies and dubbed international content. The channels went live on 17th January on MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv platforms. 

The JSE-listed group says that the launch is part of its “hyperlocal strategy” in Africa, which it says combines local content acquisition, production, and the development of local content through international production partnerships. The group says it produced an additional 2,692 hours of local content in 2021, a 41% year-on-year increase. Local content now represents 45% of its total general entertainment content spend, says MultiChoice.

The new channels build on several MultiChoice launches over the past 18 months in Uganda, Ghana and Ethiopia, which have included Pearl Magic Prime, Akwaaba Magic and Abol TV.

Original content market heats up 

In 2020, MultiChoice passed the landmark of 20m subscribers in Africa, despite increasing competition for audiences from international players including US giant Netflix, which has invested heavily in original African content for its global platform. Around 43% of MultiChoice subscribers are in South Africa, with the remaining 57% based around sub-Saharan Africa. Joao Ribeiro, channel head for Kwenda Magic and Maningue Magic, says that the launch will help to boost business for production companies in Angola and Mozambique. 

“Until now, independent producers had few outlets for their work and had to act on many levels, struggling to get budgets, and to have their content shown,” says Ribeiro. 

“With our channels requiring content 24 hours a day, we can now invite local producers to pitch ideas, to commission and develop projects, and to pay fair, market-related rates for work. We are commissioning work from established producers as well as smaller companies across the continent while also creating opportunities for alumni of the MultiChoice Talent Factory,” says Ribeiro.

MultiChoice Africa CEO Fhulufhelo Badugela says that local content aims to reflect the cultural nuances of audiences in different markets. 

“When we develop local channels or produce local content, we aim to create a platform that reflects local culture, so audiences see themselves represented in the content they watch.

“Localisation goes beyond simply duplicating popular formats in a different language or with a different cast. It’s about incorporating a country’s social, gender and religious conventions, as well pop-culture trends like music, influencers and celebrities into stories.”

New shows on the Mozambican channel include Estação do Boss; Date My Family Moçambique, a local version of a hit reality dating show, and The Influencer, a gritty original series which tell the story of a girl pursuing a dream to be a digital influencer who is drawn into a network of drugs and prostitution.

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