Over the past three years the MultiChoice Group has grown its African presence by over a million subscribers each year. But the entertainment company believes that this growth is only the tip of the iceberg. Video entertainment in Africa is in its infancy. Africa has shown, time and time again, its potential, which MultiChoice believes exceeds the potential of any other region in the world.
The Group previously announced its intention to significantly increase its investment in Ethiopia which is recognised as having huge growth potential with its large population (second only to Nigeria), impressive GDP growth and its largely untapped potential within the ICT sector.
MultiChoice has operated in the country since 1992, and the company is looking to significantly expand its reach, investment in people and infrastructure, and its support of Ethiopian content and content creators. This includes investing heavily in local content as part of the Group’s hyper local content strategy.
“Our commitment to Ethiopia can been seen through our tenure. Unlike many other businesses we remained in the country since we launched our local operation nearly 30 years ago. We have built a truly Ethiopian business which has delivered solid results for us over the years. The strong foundation we have established through our local business, knowledge and expertise, positions us with a distinct advantage as we seek to unlock opportunities presenting themselves.
Ethiopia is open for business and has demonstrated its commitment to supporting businesses from around the world. We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to Ethiopia through the development of local skills and industries, and through exciting plans for content that speaks to Ethiopians in their own voice,” said Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer: MultiChoice Group.
The MultiChoice Ethiopia operation, ably helmed by General Manager Gelila G. Michael, employs nearly 100 Ethiopians directly, and through its supply chain and network of technicians and installers supports hundreds more.
Africa has also shown that it has a massive appetite for African stories, produced in Africa. Based on this, the MultiChoice Group’s strategy of creating hyperlocal content, made locally, has already borne fruit, and has allowed the company to commit to continue its investment in local content production and aggregation.
This is evident in the popularity of the recently launched a dedicated Ethiopian channel Zee Alem, on the Group’s DStv platform as well as the investment in dubbing international content in Amharic. MultiChoice has also conducted training for SuperSport commentators in vernacular for local sports broadcasts.
In keeping with its strategy of becoming a one-stop-shop of content for consumers, MultiChoice Ethiopia has also brought on board almost all free-to-air local channels and radio stations on the DStv platform to show its commitment to the Ethiopian market and to better serve its customers with local news, entertainment and music offerings.
“By continuing to invest in our local markets we intend to create lasting value for the local creative industry, with benefits including improved quality in the industry arising from training in our stringent technical standards; opportunities for local content creators; distribution of content in local languages; promotion of local talent who are able to build their individual brands; on-the-job learning for those involved in productions; and new content which we can license to other channels” added Mawela.
The MultiChoice Group is by now established as the leading provider of video entertainment in Africa, with access to 19.5m households across the continent. It is also one of the fastest growing pay-tv broadcast providers globally – and that growth is driven by Africa. MultiChoice has become the largest local content creator on the continent with a library of more than 56 000 hours of local content and has produced content in 17 languages for distribution via 33 proprietary general entertainment channels in 50 countries. In 2013, local content spends as a percentage of total general entertainment content spend was 30%. In 2020 it was 40% and is targeted to reach 45% by 2022.
But the value of a commitment to producing high-quality local content goes far beyond a dollar amount. The effects of this expenditure, apart from satisfying the demand of viewers, include the development of local storytelling talent, an increase in the number of independent production houses across Africa, and the growing contribution of local content production to employment and economic growth.
“In the aftermath of COVID-19 our commitment to the long term, and to creating local value chains and local content, is more important than ever. MultiChoice is a business born and bred in Africa, and we are proud to reinvest in the continent for lasting socio-economic impact,” concluded Mawela.