MultiChoice has said it will continue to invest and raise standards as it marks 20th anniversary of its Africa Magic channel, which it described as “an engine for multiplying creative talent” on the continent.
Launched as a single channel showing mainly Nollywood movies in 2003, Africa Magic has since grown to include seven channels for movies, sitcoms, soap operas, telenovelas, music, reality and magazine shows showcasing quality content by Africans for Africans.
The platform continues to invest directly and indirectly into the African entertainment industry and especially Nigeria, providing skills support and training, as well as a platform for new and established entertainment talent to grow and succeed, according to a statement on Friday.
It said successful Africa Magic productions such as Africa’s Next Top Model, The Voice Nigeria, Big Brother Naija, and the annual Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards have cemented the platform’s position as “a provider of premium entertainment tailored to the tastes of its audience”.
Africa Magic commissions series, reality shows, programmes and films in the Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and English languages, and has already created hundreds of thousands of hours of original local content, pumping billions of Naira’s directly into the creative industry and creating several thousand jobs in adjacent industries.
Popular Africa Magic series Tinsel, for instance, has clocked up to 3,600episodes, making it the longest running telenovela in Nigeria, while employing 1,200 staff and crew, and the AMVCA event creates 3 000 direct and indirect jobs every year.
The social impact of Africa Magic goes far beyond its financial investment. The West Africa academy of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) in Lagos, for example, is producing the next generation of Nigerian and Ghanaian content professionals.
Through the MTF Academy, the MTF MasterClass Series and the MTF Portal, the platform is already impacting the lives of young film makers, elevating the quality of storytelling and boosting Nigeria’s global image.
West African MTF alumni are already employed in the industry, having set-up production companies, working to produce local content for the Africa Magic pipeline.
“We understand that the proof of the success of the MultiChoice investment in Nigeria lies in how it improves the quality of people’s lives,” says John Ugbe, CEO of West Africa, MultiChoice. “This is why we invest in people, so that they might multiply the impact we can have through the power of entertainment.”
MTF alumni have moved into production roles in major Africa Magic shows. Uchenna Ugwu has served as head writer on Africa Magic Igbo’s first commissioned TV series, Nwanyị Ike, and worked as a writer and script editor for Wura, the Nigerian adaptation of The River, and Covenant.
Fellow MTF graduates Horla Manuvor Jnr. and Teniola Oyelumade have launched a company, Gray Space, which was commissioned by MultiChoice Nigeria to handle live stream production for two Nigerian start-ups participating in the MultiChoice Africa Accelerator programme.
The Accelerator programme is another example of how MultiChoice is investing in multiplying the social impact in Nigeria. The programme invites applications from social-enterprise start-ups across Africa, and culminates in a finals event in Dubai, where shortlisted start-ups present their business plans to a panel of investors.
Two finalists were chosen from Nigeria. Dojah Inc is an end-to-end personal identity verification and compliance framework that supports digital businesses. Crop2Cash is a digital financial service that allows smallholder farmers to open a bank account on their feature phones in under two minutes, with no internet required.
“As MultiChoice Nigeria celebrates Africa Magic’s 20th anniversary, we recommit ourselves to not only growing our people but also growing our industry and its talent,” says Ugbe. “We will continue raising our standards and developing our people. As an African content provider, we see our role as being to add value to our community through the power of entertainment.”
Ugbe said the investments MultiChoice Nigeria had made in the country since its establishment in 1993, had been shown to have a ripple effect on the industry, and the economy at large.
“We have made an economic impact, but we are equally proud of the social impact that MultiChoice has had,” he says. “Through decades of engagement, we have grown a deep understanding of our audience, and we are committed to continuing to enable quality African storytelling that reflects their interests, their hopes and their aspirations.”
“We’re all about improving the quality of people’s lives through what we do,” says Ugbe. “We have been humbled to see our audiences respond to that, and we look forward to many more decades as part of the African entertainment landscape.”