The first day of tours was surreal. As we drove to the Multichoice Africa studios, one of the first things I noticed was the DStv City Building under construction. Just from its name, one can imagine the scale and grandeur the new home to DStv will be. A city couldn’t be a more fitting name. The impressive building is definitely eye catching. Something I cannot stop talking about a week later after the tour.
We entered the Multichoice offices and after some chatting, we began the tour with a briefing and welcome. The tour commenced with a welcoming from Multichoice Africa and Mzansi Magic. Nkateko Mabaso, General Manager of Mnet led an informative talk on content creation particularly with regards to South Africa. Nkateko raised some important points from audience research, innovation, partnerships and accessibility. It is clear that Nkateko and his South African team have made some significant changes in the South African broadcast landscape especially with Mzansi Magic and Vuzu with regards to local South African content. Having invested a billion rand into local productions. The talk highlighted the success of newly launched Mzansi Magic and the legendary Mnet channels which offer audiences fresh and trendy shows. While southern African media were impressed by the hard work put in by the respective management. The BIG question was, “ WHAT ABOUT SOUTHERN AFRICA??WHERE DOES OUR CONTENT COME IN? More importantly what strategy plans does Multichoice have for Southern Africa.
The briefing session soon became a constructive and heated discussion around Southern African content and DStv. Media were curious to know what African content plans Multichoice has for countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Malawi. The response from Multichoice was the need for research into each of the markets to ensure commercially viable strategies for the broadcast service. With Multichoice maintaining its long term investment in the continent.
As a young Zimbabwean blogger, the discussion left me wanting to poke the minds of management more. While it is clear the immense investment and research needed to roll out a regional content plan. On the other side of the coin, being a producer of newly launched online show , I also know how a simple camera and director can capture local stories which often do not cost TOO much to produce and we certainly do not have any budget. Create African networks, send Mzansi and Vuzu hosts to African countries to explore what they have to offer , cover events and scout local talent in respective African countries.Young content creators like myself and several others across Zimbabwe and the continent are creating stories that well could be developed and commissioned by Multichoice. Multichoice investing in African stories which are not just Nigerian or East African is becoming a growing need in the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa also wants to be part of this exciting African content development adventure. Which Multichoice is beginning to acknowledge as seen with the launch of Maisha Magic.
Day 1 was filed of enquiries and questions and debates before we toured the productions. The content talk opened up the important conversation around Africa and content creation. Where the continent currently is and where we are going. The next few days was an eye opening experience where it became clear that South Africa is a few step aheads and are leading content creators. The impressive work being conducted by Mzansi Magic and Mnet left me feeling inspired as the tour progressed. There are many great lessons that Zimbabwe and fellow African countries can learn from Mzansi Magic and Mnet productions. It left me enlightened and of course the tour naturally made me think of Zimbabwe and content creation. What we can learn from Mzansi Magic and where Multichoice can invest in regional content creators. The is a need for southern African stories to be told together with our Nigerian , South African and East African counterparts . Creating networks that encourage content sharing, pan-African authentic conversations and most of all continental celebrations. In the coming days, I had the privilege of engaging with innovative and creative individuals that put productions together like V Entertainment, Rockville, Zabalaza and Idols SA. The tour in the coming days also left me yearning for more broadcast development in Zimbabwe .It left me excited not just for more Zimbabwean content but Africa’s future in TV . Furthermore, with the launch of Multichoice’s TIA campaign and blog this year, I am eager to see more investment in pan African projects especially in southern Africa. African stories are diverse and in most cases unknown to the world, there is a great need for more Southern African stories to be told especially. We want more and more DStv and I am sure more is coming. ..