DISCOP AFRICA 2013 – some thoughts from the sponsors


Mike Dearham, Senior Vice President of Cote Ouest

“We need to change and influence our destiny in the African audiovisual market
and elevate our position in the value chain. We have the opportunity to leapfrog
cycles of industry development into the digital revolution and DISCOP is a virtual
platform to achieve this objective.

It is a practical forum, where industry players can get together and debate, have
vibrant discussions and exchange ideas as sellers or buyers toward trading a
finished catalogue. Besides the final product, concepts are important in
developing the business of formats. DISCOP is also a converging forum for
production and TV talent.

There was a definite improvement this year and we’ve come away with an
understanding that our involvement is worthwhile and beneficial. It is a platform
for our message that we are a serious and efficient participant in the market
that delivers excellence.’

Charles Murito, Chief Commercial Officer, Wananchi Programming Ltd
“Attending DISCOP Africa this year was important for me because I have recently
joined Wananchi Programming / Zuku and therefore it was critical that I
introduce myself to new potential partners and reintroduce myself to old friends
in my new capacity. It was really a great place in which to do so, especially since
a lot of the suppliers and clients of Wananchi Programming / Zuku were present
in one location over a short period of time. DISCOP was therefore a very
effective and efficient event. It was also important for establishing contacts.

The key highlights for me from a subject matter perspective were discussions
around VOD and the various non-linear projects that have either launched
recently or will be launching in the near future. It is also exciting to see that
there are a lot more Pay TV platforms breaking into the market, especially in
West Africa. All these platforms present opportunities for us at Wananchi

With Wananchi Programming’s drive to monetise our assets, it is vital to see
what else is in the marketplace and what the trends are.

DISCOP Africa is quickly becoming an essential part of any content buyer / seller
/ producer’s calendar and it is definitely critical for those in Africa or those
interested in doing business in Africa.

Another aspect I really enjoyed at this year’s DISCOP Africa was the DISCOPro
presentations. It was great to see key industry experts present what they think
is critical in driving the content business forward and at the same time, the fact
that the audience was fully engaged and opinionated about the various topics
that were discussed and presented. It was also good to see discussions around
the obstacles that content producers / creators are facing, such as funding, and
to hear about the creative options available to them to help bridge the gap in

Finally, the pitching competition was a pleasure to attend. It’s good to see the
kinds of raw talent that exist across Africa – from Ghana to South Africa to Kenya
and beyond. All the people who presented were passionate about content and
for me, that’s what DISCOP Africa is about. At the heart of what we do, we have
to be passionate about the content we produce, buy and sell.’
Hannelie Bekker, MD of Wananchi Programming

“While in Jo’burg for DISCOP Africa I found myself reminiscing with a long-time
industry colleague and friend about the first ever Sithengi, DISCOP Africa’s

“I still have the poster,’ she said.

“Seriously?! What year was that anyway?’ I asked.

“1996, would you believe it?’ she said, and then followed the predictable few
moments of horror as we contemplated how the two bright-eyed girls of the mid-
90s now qualified as industry veterans!

Alongside the mock horror I have a sense of continuity and history that can only
come from participating in an industry over a sustained period of time, bashing
away at its shortcomings and delighting in its successes, however patchy and

The rise and fall of GTV, HiTV, SmartTV and TopTV characterised a period when
tentative optimism flickered from one part of the continent to the next, only to be
extinguished time and again.

But now ’patchy’ is turning into “promising’ and optimism seems to be exactly
what is called for. Indeed, according to a conference strand at MIPCOM this past
October: “Africa’s time has come!’

StarTimes, Zap and Zuku are showing staying power, with a few newer West
African players rounding out the picture. Online platforms are proliferating, many
of them specifically designed to carry African content to diaspora markets and

All together these entities create an ecosystem where competition fuels choice
for both entertainment-hungry consumers and content creators. In this context,
instead of being fodder for one broadcaster’s schedule, good shows can become
valuable commodities with a long and (eventually) profitable life cycle.

It is fitting that DISCOP Africa notched up outings in Senegal, Nairobi and Accra
before settling in Jo’burg last year. It’s a well-travelled young market, with a
sophisticated grasp of both its context and its role. Its South African address is a
matter of convenience, not conviction: on the market floor, in the conference
room and in the pitching sessions the continent is robustly represented.

My team and I come to DISCOP specifically to cultivate networks across the
continent – with buyers and sellers, producers and financiers and broadcasters
like ourselves.

International validation is nice, but success starts at home. DISCOP Africa is alive
to this fact and this year, more than ever before, it created an environment that
enabled discovery and connection – and the joining of the dots that will make a
real industry out of the work we all love.’

Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice

“We have always participated in DISCOP at various levels, however what was
significant this year was that we participated as a key partner in the entire
conference. Content and the development of the content industry is key to our
business, more so as our investment in the development of quality local content
continues to increase. We were pleased with the level of engagement, in
particular, the celebration of Africa’s 20 Years of its broadcasting legacy.

We presented the next-generation PVR decoder – the DStv Explora, at DISCOP
which launched in Africa on 15 November 2013. This move heralds an exciting
new era for digital television which allows viewers to gain more control and
personalise their DStv viewing experience.’

Richard Bell, CEO of Zuku TV

“Zuku believes passionately in the bigger picture. Having a successful
marketplace for exchanging, buying and selling content and ideas in Africa is key
to growing the industry overall. It is a fundamental building block of the industry,
every bit as much as Internet Exchange Points are to the internet. Hence I see it
as important that as one of the leading agents of that growth in Africa, Zuku
participates fully.

What we achieved at DISCOP this year was to demonstrate the strength and
breadth of what the Wananchi Group is doing. We have achieved an enormous
amount in a short period of time and very few people realize the extent of our
achievements. DISCOP was an important opportunity to showcase those
successes as building blocks for the future.

We were able to do significant deals at DISCOP, but cannot comment on them at
this time as details are still being worked out.’


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