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The Africa Channel launches in Canada

Ethnic Channels Group Ltd. (ECG), the world’s largest multi-cultural broadcaster, recently announced that The Africa Channel has launched on Rogers Communications’ Ignite TV, serving viewers in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.

The Africa Channel features unique English language pan-African television series, specials, documentaries, feature films, music, biographies, historical and cultural content. Based in Los Angeles, The Africa Channel is available in approximately seven million homes in the USA and Caribbean, on cable systems such as Comcast, Charter/Spectrum, and the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.

“The continent of Africa has been a major influencer of global culture. The launch of The Africa Channel in Canada gives further impetus to the growth of this culture, by capturing the microcosm of this great continent on multiple screens in Canada,” said Slava Levin, CEO of ECG.

“We are delighted to be working with ECG to bring our compelling programming line-up to Canadian audiences through this launch on Rogers Ignite TV. We are confident that the breadth of our content will appeal to both the African and Caribbean Diaspora as well as audiences with an interest in global travel, lifestyle and culture,” said Narendra Reddy, General Manager of The Africa Channel.

The Africa Channel establishes strong presence at DISCOP Johannesburg

TAC Studios, the production arm of US-based The Africa Channel, announced new series at DISCOP Johannesburg. These included scripted series The Yard (from Kenya), and unscripted series My Design Rules (from South Africa) and May’s Kitchen (from Egypt). These series will be available as exclusive first-run African premieres and will be additive to its’ existing catalogue of 300+ hours of African-influenced content. In addition, the company presented a series of original development projects for pre-sale that seek to develop a content bridge between Africa and the rest of the world. These included the scripted series Move On and Asylum as well as the unscripted series The Bank.

Brendan Gabriel, Johannesburg-based Head of Creative and Production for TAC Studios explains, “The appetite for African content continues to increase in large part due to the advent of global streaming/OTT platforms. Our productions seek to meet that demand by creating content that is local and authentic yet produced to an aesthetic and quality that meets global standards. This slate of finished productions demonstrates our continued commitment to nurture talent and build capabilities across the continent. Our development efforts also seek to connect African stories and storytellers with experienced creators who have global television experience as we begin taking African content to the world.”

THE YARD (a co-production with Currency MEDIA in Kenya) a gritty drama set in the world of the hip-hop scene in Nairobi.

MAY’S KITCHEN (a partnership with Filmedia in Egypt) an original cooking series featuring celebrity Egyptian chef May Yacoubi.

MY DESIGN RULES (a co-production with Cardova Productions in South Africa) a home design competition reality series from the producers of Expresso.

ASYLUM (created by Conor Galvin producer: FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is a single camera workplace comedy series that follows the lives of the support staff in a foreign embassy in South Africa. 

MOVE ON (created by Matt and Jordan Toronto – creator: Netflix’s Face 2 Face) is a comedy series about a frantic romantic on a desperate quest to silence her late husband’s ghost who barges in on every date with a consoling message for her potential suitors.

THE BANK (created by Matt Luetwyler, Rebecca & Doug Henning – creators: Bravo’s Below Deck) is a social impact reality series where philanthropically motivated bankers search the furthest reaches of the world to grant micro loans to small businesses with large community impact.

In addition, The Africa Channel sponsored sessions at DISCOPRO, an educational conference running parallel to the DISCOP market, which brings together African and international players to address the expanded opportunities now available to African content creators to reach new markets. The noted sessions included a panel discussion “Exporting African Content to the World” featuring executives from African and Global media companies, as well as a masterclass on “The critical importance of The Development Phase”.

DISCOP JOBURG 2019: Promoting African Co-Productions

A newly revamped and focused DISCOP Johannesburg programme will see a scope that goes beyond content buying and selling. In line with DISCOP Market’s vision to promote the commerce and co-production of multi-screen entertainment content across Africa, the upcoming edition, to be held from 20 to 22 November, will put a strong emphasis on African television projects in development, partnerships with South Africa, the booming animation sector, and the export of content produced on the continent.

As co-production in international television expands, Africa can play an increasingly influential role in getting projects off the ground. Competitive incentive programmes are already available in countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, and this year’s edition of DISCOP JOHANNESBURG will focus extensively on African content producers, with solid works in progress, to reach out to key players in Africa and beyond who could bring added value to projects in development.

“Not since the invention of television has Africa exercised such an influence on the creation of original multi-screen content.” Says Patrick Zuchowicki, President of DISCOP, who adds, “This year’s DISCOP JOHANNESBURG will see three times more projects with cross-border potential brought to the market by African producers than in 2018.”

The renewed focus on works in progress and fostering co-productions will be brought to life via the side-bar DISCOPRO programme that will see more than 50 speakers, including many intrepid disrupters, on stage for panel discussions around the eight key pillars of the industry’s current transformation: What buyers actually want; Exporting African content; The content monetization challenge; Stop fake news; Empowering women in media; The united world of animation; The nascent and super fast-growing video gaming competition sector; Why dubbed content is so important.

In an important addition to the programme, sixteen works in progress of international standard and with a set delivery date will be pitched by their producers in front of key regional and international industry players that can help these projects take off. They will be regrouped into four categories: TV series, Formats, Documentary, and Animation.

Sponsored by The Africa Channel, a series of masterclasses and a panel discussion led by experts from around the world will address how independent producers can export their content and best adapt to the fast-paced world of multicultural television. Four sessions will provide a rapid course of study on what makes a project aimed at multicultural audiences actually sell in today’s challenging environment.

“Broadcasters, premium cable channels and streaming platforms from around the world are starting to recognize the value of African content,” says Narendra Reddy, General Manager, The Africa Channel, who adds, “however, producers on the continent need to be proactive and actively participate in creating opportunities for distribution. Furthermore whilst production should continuously evolve to a global standards in terms of technical quality, producers should endeavor to develop stories that are authentic, local and culturally specific”

With many high-profile international TV series being shot in South Africa, a tutorial track will put under the spotlight the country’s rebates system and examine the benefits available through co-production treaties that exist between South Africa and The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Intertwined in the general agenda, presentations by the likes of SES, ITV, Pomegranate Media, Agence France Presse, Al Jazeera, Ubongo, Shoot Cameroon and Vubiquity will explore future opportunities and deliver further insights on the state of the industry.

The Africa Channel grows Africa-based team

TAC Studios, the production arm of The Africa Channel announces the appointment of Mokopi Shale to the position of Senior Development Producer, as part of the Studio’s growing Africa-based team in Johannesburg.

Brendan Gabriel, Vice President of Production & Creative Director, said, “We are extremely pleased to have Mokopi Shale join our creative team. Mokopi’s expertise in book adaptation, scripted development and production in Africa is a valuable asset in support of our mission to raise awareness and export African-influenced content to the world. Mokopi will be involved in all aspects of development, financing, production and global distribution. In addition, she will play a key role in acquiring multicultural content for Demand Africa, The Africa Channel’s global OTT platform.”

Shale said, “I am excited to join The Africa Channel as Senior Development Producer. This is particularly exciting as it would allow me to work with writers and producers from across the world, to develop authentic and reflective representations of Africa for global audiences. I believe that with the rise of global streaming platforms and new methods of distribution there is a growing appetite for content that speaks to and represents Africans across the diaspora. I am always eager to learn, share ideas, and work with others to see what magic we can produce, and I believe this job will provide me with that opportunity.”

Gabriel added, “Mokopi’s appointment reflects The Africa Channel’s continued commitment to investing in talent in Africa, and her invaluable experience will escalate our ability to develop original content, identify books for adaptation, evaluate concept submissions and implement co-development initiatives.

Shale is an all-around talent with on-screen, production, scriptwriting and development skills in her portfolio. She started her career in media as a radio drama actress in 1998 and worked for several years on-screen as a TV presenter. She made the shift to production after joining Ochre Moving Pictures, where she created and sold television and corporate projects for the company.

Shale was then appointed as a Commissioning Editor at SABC, where she managed dramas including, Generations and miniseries such as Entabeni and Ubizo. During her tenure as Head of Story, SABC Dramas enjoyed both critical and popular acclaim, amassing an audience share in excess of 60 percent resulting in significant advertising revenue for SABC. Shale subsequently started Fuze Films which was awarded a contract for a slate of Films by the NFVF. She was instrumental in writing Box Office Hit, Mrs Right Guy ­which was the fourth highest grossing film at the South African box office in 2016.  She wrote and produced, Love Lives Here which was released in April 2019.

TAC Studios co-produces four new series across Africa

TAC Studios, the  production arm of US-based the Africa Channel, announced four new series being produced in Africa for the global marketplace. Building on its commitment to invest in talent and foster quality and excellence in media production on the continent, the company is excited to announce new partnerships and productions from across Africa to add to its already extensive and diverse slate of Africa-influenced content.

A combination of scripted and unscripted projects, these programs reflect the breadth and depth of talent and storytelling available across Africa. They include MAY’S KITCHEN, a cooking show featuring the talented celebrity chef, May Yocoubi (a partnership with Filmedia in Egypt), SECOND HUSBAND, a scripted series based on the popular Nigerian film of the same name (a co-production with Biola Alabi Media in Nigeria), THE YARD, a drama series set in the world of the hip-hop scene in Nairobi (a co-production with Currency MEDIA in Kenya) and MY DESIGN RULES, a competition reality series in the world of real estate design (a partnership with Cardova Productions, in South Africa).

Brendan Gabriel, Johannesburg-based head of Creative and Production for TAC Studios explains further: “We are really excited to continue to evolve our network of relationships across the continent cementing our Studio as a key hub for Pan African content creation.  The producers and talent both established and new  who we are working with bring an authentic voice to their storytelling and we want to ensure that their stories are now distributed globally and reach vast new audiences. With the recent announcement of streamers such as Netflix and Amazon who are investing in content from Africa for their global viewership, TAC Studios is well-positioned to be a key supplier to these entities”

“After partnering with Ominek Venture Group (OVG) to produce the feature film, A Second Husband we were very keen on finding a co-creator and co-producer with African roots to partner on the series. We are very excited to join forces with TAC Studios on this fun and fierce project”, said Biola Alabi of Biola Alabi Media.

Patience Stevens, executive producer at Cardova Productions has this to say of the partnership, “We are pleased to work with TAC Studios on our series, My Design Rules as a first of many future collaborations, building on our prior relationship with its sister company, The Africa Channel who have successfully introduced our  highly-rated daily show Expresso Morning Show to audiences in North America and the Caribbean”.

These shows are being created with a global aesthetic for audiences both across Africa as well as for North American and UK Pay TV and streaming platforms including The Africa Channel and Demand Africa. They come on the heel of other recent productions from TAC Studios including, Africa on a Plate, Minjiba Entertains and World Wide Nate, which have successfully been distributed to platforms in Africa as well as globally.



The Africa Channel takes Africa’s content to the world

Celebrating a banner year for African content acquisitions, The Africa Channel will air a collection of 20 new prime-time series’ representing premium drama, lifestyle, and news programming from Africa during 2019.

This programming, as well as the streaming of over 50 hours of African content, in support of Black History Month on Comcast’s Xfinity platform, represents significant success for African producers whose work will now be available around the globe, providing these producers with a north American and Caribbean voice.

Vice president of Programming & Acquisitions, Karen Juve explains further, “We have been extremely fortunate to be able to tap into the increasing pool of talent from the continent and beyond, to present world-class content that is bold, diverse and globally appealing to North American audiences.”

Many of these shows have a proven track record of success amongst African audiences and now they will be exposed to a much wider global audience of millions. The Africa Channel is a unique platform globally, with its 100% focus on African content, the channel provides multiple opportunities for African content producers to take their place on the global stage.

The collection of popular shows scheduled for broadcast and streaming in 2019 reflect a range of genres, and have been sourced from outstanding producers and distributors including, M-Net Studios, SABC, and Kew Media Group.


Cooking with Siba and The Hostess each feature celebrity female chefs, one who puts a healthy spin on her favorite recipes, the other who celebrates dining and creative entertaining for food and lifestyle connoisseurs.


iNumber Number, Hard Copy and High Rollers offer a new spin on street warfare, newsroom drama and high-stake gambling respectively.


Soaps make a return on The Africa Channel with The Wild, shot entirely on location at a five-star game lodge, capitalising on the breathtaking beauty of the African wild as three families challenge each other’s right to the land.


The Wedding Bashers finds couples willing to put their big day under the scrutiny of celebrity fashion, food, décor and entertainment “experts” in order to win a second honeymoon and other big-ticket prizes. Crimes Uncovered takes viewers through the criminal investigations of true South African crimes through interviews, dramatizations and archival footage as each case unfolds. Both shows premiere Spring 2019.

Monochrome: Black, White and Blue is a 3-part series on the history of blues music featuring musical performances and interviews with Morgan Freeman, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and more.

Emancipation Road is a 7-part series, which takes viewers on a journey from the Atlantic slave trade to the election of President Barack Obama.

Shaka Zulu, the epic drama series, can now be seen on The Africa Channel.


Zanzibar TV Series Festival announces films in competition

The Africa Channel (TAC), sponsors of the inaugural Zanzibar TV Series Festival and the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), have announced the 20 official titles entered into competition for the award for Best TV Series at ZIFF 2018.

The new categories of best TV and best Web Series, were announced last year by ZIFF as part of its partnership with Africa’s largest content markets, DISCOP. The inaugural DISCOP Zanzibar is set to run from 11 to 13 July alongside ZIFF 2018 which is taking place from 7 to 15 July.

Within ZIFF, the three days of TV series screenings, presented by TAC, will be the official showcase for TV shows selected in competition for ZIFF. The selection team at ZIFF was overwhelmed with the response in the first year of the competition, with dozens of TV shows being submitted from across Africa.

Two days of competition screenings selected by the ZIFF will screen on 12 and 13 July, and will be followed by a showcase day of screenings on 14 July where platforms such as TAC will premier some of their most exciting African-influenced content developed for the global marketplace. These include projects The Bank, developed with Emmy-nominated producers Rebecca and Doug Henning and Matt Luetwyler; World Wide Nate, an extreme  adventure show; and Minjiba Entertains, a food and lifestyle show.

Open to the public as well as industry guests, the Zanzibar TV Series Festival strives to create a stage on which the foremost creators in the world of TV series come together, where tomorrow’s talents are showcased and a prestigious international competition for a wide range of genres and for series of all shapes and forms is presented.

To further support this event, TAC will also be presenting a panel discussion at DISCOP Zanzibar targeted specifically at independent TV/content producers looking to sell their material internationally. The panel will cover topics including: creating for international markets, co-productions for independents, thinking beyond pan-African, and connecting Africa to the world.

TV Series in competition:

Tales Of Eve | The Present Past
Imoh Umoren – Nigeria

Siri Za Familia

Denny Miller – South Africa

This is it
Dolapo Adeleke – Nigeria

Career Talk
Saitabao Kaiyare – Kenya

Crazy, Lovely, Cool
Obi Emelonye – Nigeria

Before 30
Bodunrin ‘BB’ Sasore- Nigeria

Hard Copy
South Africa – Harriet Gavshon and Tim Greene (Producers)

iNumber Number
South Africa – Siphiwe Hlabangane (producer)

Nilesh Bhatt – Tanzania

Enah Johnscott- Cameroon

Ball’n Africa 
Silalei Owuor – Kenya

Tumaini Senta 
Kangethe – Mungai Kenya

Lucilla Blankenberg, Laddie Bosch – South Africa

Mariam Ndagire – Uganda

Giving Nature a Voice
Andrew Tkach – Kenya

Victor Gatonye – Kenya

Kwezi kaganda Ruhinda – Uganda

La Msingi 
Morrison Mwadulo – Kenya

Fihi Season
Carol Odongo Boy – Kenya


America Heard: Refuge of Hope 
United States – Yasmin Mistry

Chronicles of a Paranoiac
Russian Federation – Nikita Tamarov

Connection House
Italy – Vincenzo Cavallo

Festival Politicos
South Africa- Tshego “Red” Mosiane, Misa Makwakwa Masokameng

Kinshasa Collection
Germany – Dorothee Wenner

Mexico – Fernando Perezgil, Gerardo LS, Emmanuel Basurto

Tanzania – Shams Bhanji

Nekros Pizza
United States – Sean Manos

Tanzania –  Tom Johns

Our Best Friend’s Wedding
Nigeria – Jerry Ossai

Prime Donne
Italy – Giacomo Spaconi

Italy – Michele Bevilacqua, Arcangelo Iannace , Francesco Spaziani

Rwanda – Kennedy Mazimpaka

Kenya – Reuben Odanga

South Africa – Tshego ‘Red’ Mosiane, Tseliso Monaheng

Tales of Shaa Umi and Nandis Adventure
Zimbabwe – Rodney Tapfuma Masanga

The Yard
Kenya – Busaka Jackton

South Africa – Lungelo Mdlalose

Two Sides of a Coin
Kenya – Morris Simwa, Calvin Ombogo

Richard Magumba – Tanzania

TAC and Côte Ouest announce strategic business alliance

The Africa Channel (TAC) and Côte Ouest announced at MIPTV in Cannes that they have signed a broad-ranging strategic alliance in which the parties will jointly pursue distribution, licensing and production opportunities across the globe.

TAC is the largest broadcaster and producer of African-themed content in North America. Côte Ouest is the world’s largest distributor of African content.

Under terms of the agreement, Côte Ouest will become a principal supplier of content for The Africa Channel’s linear platform. Programmes supplied in 2018 include a broad range of premium-scripted series including Shampaign, a TV Series on the shenanigans surrounding the election of the first female Ghanaian president. This distribution agreement is expanded to The Africa Channel’s digital platform, Demand Africa, that Côte Ouest will leverage with its high-end content.

This alliance also includes a distribution agreement, where Côte Ouest will provide TAC-owned content to French-speaking territories worldwide, and a co-production agreement. The two partners also will jointly engage in the development and co-production of new content.

Narendra Reddy, EVP and general manager for The Africa Channel, said, “This strategic alliance brings together two of the world’s leading providers of African-themed content, to the benefit of audiences in the U.S. and around the globe. We look forward to co-producing new programming with Côte Ouest; to introducing our viewers to their outstanding content library; and to Côte Ouest’s introduction of our content to French-speaking territories. This is a major step in our growth plans for 2018 and beyond.”

Bernard Azria, chairman and CEO of CôteOuest, said, “The Africa Channel and Côte Ouest share a common vision of the African continent and production. For us it is crucial to showcase to the world and communities beyond the African continent, the beauty of the African lifestyle. We are pretty sure that the outcomes in terms of production and exposure will benefit to the whole African audio-visual industry.”

The Africa Channel to present inaugural Zanzibar TV Series Festival 2018

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and DISCOP Zanzibar have announced The Africa Channel, the largest broadcaster of Africa-themed content in North America, as the official sponsor of the inaugural TV Series Festival 2018.

ZIFF festival director Fabrizio Colombo said: “As the lines between TV, film and digital content blur, it is becoming more and more essential to recognise and promote the amazing work being done by TV producers and directors across Africa. Broadcast TV in Africa is still a rapidly expanding environment, and with the rest of the world eagerly looking to Africa for fresh and original content, platforms like The Africa Channel are ideally poised to share this content globally.”

With some of Africa and the world’s best known content producers and distributors on hand for ZIFF, taking place from the 7 to 15 July, and DISCOP Zanzibar, from 11 to 13 July, The Zanzibar TV Series Festival presented by The Africa Channel will be the official showcase for TV shows selected in competition for ZIFF.

Two days of competition screenings selected by ZIFF will screen from 12 to 13 July, and will be followed by a showcase day of screenings on 14 July where platforms such as The Africa Channel will highlight some of the their newest and most exciting content.

Open to the public as well as industry guests, The Zanzibar TV Series Festival will strive to create a stage on which the foremost creators in the world of TV series come together, where tomorrow’s talents are showcased and a prestigious international competition for a wide range of genres and for series of all shapes and forms is presented.

ZIFF’s Colombo has spearheaded this vision of celebrating the TV content genre within the traditional film festival format. “Across the world TV content is now acknowledged for its quality production and importance for the industry,” he said. “Here in Africa especially, many producers and directors get their start in TV production and it is a critical growth driver for the next generation of filmmakers. ZIFF is always innovating and looking to find ways to support the growth of the industry in Africa, and we are excited to partner with DISCOP and The Africa Channel in the important TV space.”

Narendra Reddy, executive vice president and general manager of The Africa Channel, said, “We are so proud to be the official sponsor of the inaugural Zanzibar TV Series Festival at this year’s ZIFF event. The Africa Channel has been privileged to present content from and about Africa to North American audiences for over 10 years. Through our production arm TAC Studios, we have worked with amazing producers and talent from across Africa to help them create globally accessible content. This festival calls the world’s attention to the incredible film and TV content coming out of Africa and is a fabulous opportunity for content creators from the continent to showcase their fine work and be recognised for their efforts.”

During this year’s ZIFF, the category for Best African TV Series will be open to any African produced or co-produced and broadcast within the last two years. Three episodes would need to be submitted for consideration via the on-line application process as below.

Deadline for submission has been EXTENDED to 18 April  2018.

Submission procedures:
  • All submission must be done through the ZIFF platform on www.festhome.com
  • A signed and fully completed application must be submitted by e-mail at filmdept@ziff.or.tz
  • Freight costs of any film will be borne by the producer.
  • Selection results will be available from 15 May on the ZIFF website.
  • No DVDs will be returned. They will be kept at ZIFF for archival purposes.

The Africa Channel to screen SA-produced animated kids programming

The Africa Channel (TAC), the largest broadcaster and producer of African-themed content in North America, will be airing its first-ever animated kids programming on Saturday, 7 April. The two animated series, produced in South Africa, are Jabu’s Jungle and The Magic Cellar.

In Jabu’s Jungle, kids can follow the adventures of Jabu, an intrepid nine-year-old, and his Magic Talking Drum. Jabu explores the jungle, helping animals in need and meeting plenty of friends who join in the fun– but always on the lookout for naughty Van the Vulture!

The Magic Cellar follows Pula and her friends through their everyday lives as they encounter social issues and moral dilemmas. Mr. Zee offers them guidance or advice in the form of a folk tale illustrating their problem and guiding their thinking processes toward a solution. In the end, they are able to draw their own conclusions on how to approach their problems and find resolutions.

Karen Juve, TAC’s VP Programming & Acquisitions, said, “Kids have few choices when it comes to multicultural shows. We aim to help fill that void with our Saturday morning programming block so that kids of color can wake up each weekend to a reflection of themselves on morning television.”

TAC viewers will also be treated to the return of live-action series Siyaya – Come Wild with Us. The series offers a fast-paced youthful adventure through some of South Africa’s most fascinating national parks, where up-close wildlife encounters endear the kids to the importance of conservation.

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