A leading distributor of content in Africa, Cote Ouest has been one of the most
prominent participants in DISCOP Africa since the market first launched. Bernard
Azria, CEO of the international distributor provides some insight on the African
Being one of the most well established content distributors in Africa, how
would you describe in a few words the short-term future of television business in
In three words: Restless, promising, exciting…
DTH, Broadband and DTT will bring to Africa probably its most important revolution
of all time. With the multiplication of means of transmission and new business
models, Africa will finally have the choice to decide, the choice to handle its own
How will the development of the French-speaking African television
industry benefit from stronger relations with English-speaking Africa?
We think both regions can benefit from one another. First of all, African countries
have much more in common than they think. Some ethnic groups travel from one
country to another. You will find the same ethnicities in certain regions of Cote
d’Ivoire and in Ghana – two countries where national languages are different. Or the
Hausa ethnic group, which is found both in Nigeria and in Niger. South-South
collaboration will certainly become much more important, if not dominant. And
intra-Africa trades and exchanges by consequences are an obvious first step.
Unification of forces, meaning sharing resources, best practices and knowledge
inside Africa cross-fertilisation will be key.
How is Cote Ouest positioned to play a key role in the development of
relations between French-speaking and English-speaking Africa in the television
We probably pioneered this cross-fertilisation in bringing content from the south to
the north, from the west to the east of Africa and vice versa.
We consider this as the biggest part of our mission (along with exporting African
content outside the continent). And we are always ready to share with African
regions, the blockbuster and Gems coming from particular regions. We think we are
the only company to serve content in French, in English, in Swahili, in Portuguese…
and this from Cairo to Nairobi, from Cape Town to Abidjan, from Niamey to
Cote Ouest is taking a leading role in bringing to the market independent
content producers from Africa. What is your long-term strategy behind this move?
For too long the African audiovisual landscape has been dominated by very few
giant players. That time is over. The new opportunities brought by the switchover to
digital will give to small but talented producers an opportunity to express
themselves. We proudly think that it is and it will always be our mission to help
promote independent, emerging and promising African talents.
You have been an early supporter of DISCOP Africa since Day One. Can
you describe what this market has brought to television business in Africa?
DISCOP has brought to Africa something vital, something crucial: the opportunity to
be seen and heard. And only visionary people like Patrick Jucaud can manage, from
the very beginning, to share with the rest of Africa this vision that some took with a
lot of skepticism. DISCOP is already an event considered as a must in Africa. It
helps in bringing together the audiovisual African market and now attracts many
international players. DISCOP helps by giving the African content its rightful place:
because Africa deserves a better place in the international scene, and DISCOP helps
in making this happen.