Africa is a key component for global distribution


SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: Following the success Keshet International (KI) has had in Latin America and Asia, they are trying to replicate the same success in Africa. Keshet International is Keshet Media Group’s global distribution and production arm. Screen Africa caught up with Paula McHarg, KI sales manager, CEE and CIS for Africa, Middle East, Greece and Turkey.

She says KI is keen to support clients with sponsorship pitching. “As a commercial broadcaster, we understand the pressures of pitching to brands, so we really want to put our full weight behind helping clients embrace the opportunities available. We’re also looking for more partners, for example, production companies who are looking for a distributor, larger partnerships and co-development deals,’ says McHarg.

She was speaking to us from Budapest while attending the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE). KI attends all the major markets including DISCOP, and recommends SA broadcasters and content owners to attend them too. This as a means for Africa to better position itself in the global TV industry, she recommends at least attending the major markets like MIPTV and MIPCOM. “Africa imports a lot of finished programming and these markets will showcase the best of what’s on offer from around the world,’ says McHarg.
She says attending these global markets also showcases the creativity Africa has to offer. “There’s a job to be done in educating the global market about what’s coming out of the region and the creation of IP taking place on the continent.’ McHarg says Africa is a market full of potential and, “It will be wonderful to see more eyes turned in its direction.’

The KI catalogue consists of more than 70 properties, which appeal and resonate to audiences around the world. One of their first major exports was prime time Emmy® winner Homeland, which is based on hit Israeli drama Prisoners of War.
Africa is a key focus for KI, especially for their entertainment programming. “There is a strong interest in our flagship entertainment formats, particularly in South Africa and beyond. Most recently we sold series one and two of our popular hidden camera prank show with a twist, Deal With It, in a pan regional deal to Comedy Central,’ says McHarg. “There is also a high demand for sponsored programming in Africa, and KI is known for delivering concepts that work seamlessly with brands. Take our branded entertainment format Trade Up, it’s an exciting game show in which deserving families play to win a brand new car.’

What McHarg sees working in Africa are big, shiny floor formats, “Particularly our interactive talent format Rising Star and music talent show Master Class, both of which have become break-through hits across the world.’ She says they have the potential to do well in Africa. “Game shows work well within the region too, so our explosive game show format BOOM! and eye-catching entertainment format Who’s on Top? could prove popular.’

Comparing Africa to other global markets McHarg says, “I think you can draw comparisons to Latin America, which is one of our key markets. Broadcasters in Africa also like a lot of similar trends and genres to Latin America, for example telenovelas and physical game shows, to name a few.’

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Cera-Jane Catton is a writer and journalist with years of experience in community newspapers, blogging and freelance journalism. She has worked in a cache of capacities, often finding herself behind or in front of the cameras, intentionally and less so. She has been a stunt double in two Bollywood movies, has worked in various capacities on a number of natural history documentaries, and other international productions shot in South Africa. Cera is a former Screen Africa journalist.


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