Thirty established and aspiring producers from across the continent took the Discop spotlight on Nov. 4 to pitch their ideas to panels of programming and commissioning executives, advertisers, potential investors, and other key industry leaders.
The competition, which was part of the DiscoPro program running parallel to Discop Africa, offered a platform for African creatives to secure financing and mentorship as they push their projects through the production pipeline.
Wangeci Murage of Nairobi-based consultancy Media Pros Africa said the event offered an opportunity for producers to keep pace with a rapidly evolving media landscape.
“Things are changing, the dynamics are changing,” she said. “We have now moved into the digital space, so you just can’t think about TV channels as the only platform.”
Prizes will be awarded Nov. 6 in the categories of formats, TV series, Web series/comedy, animation and documentaries. Along with cash prizes, the winner and runner-up in each category will benefit from extensive consultations with DiscoPro’s industry experts to develop their projects into pilots, then carry them through the final stages of production and distribution.
Winners also receive a commitment from a number of African broadcasters to air their produced content.
Murage said the competition offered a common ground for both creatives and broadcasters looking to fuel the growing demand for local content across Africa.
“Producers never really get the opportunity to meet and engage with broadcast networks,” she said, while content-hungry broadcasters benefit by the exposure to exciting new projects in the pipeline. “It becomes a win-win situation for both parties.”
The competition will soon expand its reach. Because travel costs make it difficult for some producers from other parts of the continent to attend the Johannesburg event, another pitching competition will be held at Discop Africa’s next edition May 31-June 2 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in the hopes of luring West African producers.
Murage said a third competition is also being planned for Nairobi in order to attract East African content creators.
Even for producers who failed to take home any prizes, the event offered a chance to rub elbows with industry influencers and open doors for potential collaborations down the line, Murage said, with the “hope that they’ll be able to develop their content further. Because that’s what we’re here for.”