×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Creative Africa Brings Content Boom to Cannes

MipTV pavilion unites African creatives under single banner

Following on the heels of its successful MipTV debut in 2017, the Creative Africa pavilion will return to Cannes this week, offering production companies, distributors, sales agents, and broadcasters from around the world a gateway to the rapidly growing African TV market.

Created to help bridge the gap between African TV players and their global counterparts, the pavilion will host more than 60 African delegates on the main exhibition floor of the Palais des Festivals.

“Mip is a huge market, and we find that [companies from] emerging countries…need help to be noticed,” says Ted Baracos, Reed Midem’s market development director. For newcomers attending their first international market, “they tend to get lost.”

The pavilion will include a lounge open to all Creative Africa participants, as well as private exhibition spaces for companies looking to buy and sell content. Along with newcomers from the likes of Tunisia, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Creative Africa will host established players like South Africa’s award-winning production company Rapid Blue; South African telecom and pay-TV operator Econet Media; Ivory Coast pubcaster Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirienne (RTI); Naspers’ fast-growing SVOD service Showmax; and distributor Cote Ouest Audiovisuel, which boasts the world’s largest catalog of African content.

Turnout for the first edition in 2017 was “higher than expected,” according to Baracos, showcasing the pavilion’s ability to provide “more visibility and more awareness” about an African TV market that for many international players remains uncharted territory.

That market is growing by leaps and bounds, with digital-economy think tank IDATE predicting that the sub-Saharan Africa TV marketplace will deliver nearly $10 billion in consumer revenue by 2021. While pay-TV platforms are struggling in the U.S. and Europe, subscriber numbers in Africa are climbing.

According to data from Digital TV Research, the continent’s pay-TV subscriber base hit an all-time high of 23 million in 2017 – a number forecast to rise 74%, to nearly 41 million, by 2023.

Across the continent, there’s a scramble for home-grown content, both from established and newly-launched broadcasters, as well as emerging SVOD and mobile platforms looking to cash in on increased broadband penetration and lower data costs. Regional co-productions are on the rise, while the booming intra-African trade has prompted the  organizers of the Discop TV content market to roll out new editions in Zanzibar this year, and Lagos in 2019.

Foreign players are making greater inroads. Developments like the recent three-series deal inked by Sony and Nigeria’s EbonyLife point to a growing awareness that, in the words of MipTV’s sales manager for Africa, Samira Haddi, Africa is “the next continent for original content from [international] networks.”

Organizers are hoping that events around the Palais des Festivals will help to drive that momentum. A panel discussion on Sunday at 2:30pm will look at whether Nigeria can host the next format boom, while an Africa meet-up at the Palais’ Innovation Hub (Tue., 10am) will offer networking opportunities for African and international players looking to test the waters for future collaborations.

It’s part of a concerted effort by the organizers of MipTV and Mipcom, which is incorporating more Africa-centric sessions into its program, to ensure that African creatives have a seat at the table alongside established global players. “We really want to continue supporting the industry, and putting the African content out there,” says Haddi.

“There is a rich tradition of African story-telling,” adds Baracos. “It’s just [a question of] being able to develop the production means that can get you into global markets.”

More TV

  • WGA West Logo

    Writers Guild Sends Hollywood Agents Proposed Code of Conduct

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent Hollywood talent agencies a proposed “Code of Conduct” with tough new restrictions on how they operate as agents for writer clients. The WGA made the disclosure Thursday night in an email to its 12,000 members, a day after announcing that it will hold a March 25 [...]

  • Jussie Smollett court

    Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Say He Was Victim of Police 'Spectacle'

    Jussie Smollett’s legal team issued a defiant statement on Thursday night, saying the “Empire” actor feels betrayed by the justice system and hinting at a political motive for his prosecution. Smollett was arrested early Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. He was released after a court hearing on $100,000 bond, [...]

  • Carra Patterson Sarah Levy Paola Lazaro

    Fox Casts Four Leads in 'Patty's Auto' Pilot

    Fox has announced the casting of four lead characters for its multi-cam comedy pilot “Patty’s Auto,” including the eponymous Patty. Inspired by Patrice Banks’ Girls Auto Clinic, an auto repair shop with all female mechanics, the project centers on Patty, the intimidating owner of Patty’s Auto who will be played by “Straight Outta Compton” alumna [...]

  • Adam Pally Abby Elliott

    Adam Pally, Abby Elliott Join Cast of NBC Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured'

    NBC pilot “Uninsured” has cast four of its series regulars, with Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project,” “The President Show”) and Abby Elliott (“Saturday Night Live,” “Odd Mom Out”) playing the young married couple at the center of the show. Pally will play Dave, who is described as a “natural hype man with a good heart.” Elliott [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Appeared in Documentary on

    Jussie Smollett Recently Hosted Doc on Lynching, Filmmaker Talks 'Coincidence'

    In May 2018, Jussie Smollett appeared as the narrator and correspondent in an episode of the Epix documentary series “America Divided” that explored the subject of hate crimes, specifically lynching, in the state of Tennessee. Now that the “Empire” actor has been charged with filing a false police report and Chicago police are convinced he [...]

  • TV News Roundup: CBS All Access

    TV News Roundup: 'Twilight Zone' Reboot Drops First Full Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, CBS All Access has released the official trailer for the rebooted “Twilight Zone” and Sophia Bush will guest star on “Jane the Virgin.” CASTING “One Tree Hill” actress and Time’s Up activist Sophia Bush has been cast as a guest star on the fifth and final season of “Jane the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content