MultiChoice-owned video-on-demand service Showmax is investing in four East African-produced original films and programming as the entertainment company steps up its presence and product offerings in the market.
Showmax says the new programming includes a feature film, a crime drama series, and a high-level political thriller series set in a fictional county.
While MultiChoice has not revealed the amount invested in each show, the output is expected to be broadcast in Kenya later this year.
Timothy Okwaro, MultiChoice’s channel director for East and Southern Africa, said the Kenyan investment into Showmax originals showed that the commitment “speaks to our localization strategy and the keen focus on working with local producers, both established and upcoming to ensure we give our viewers what they want”.
According to Unesco’s Africa Film Industry report 2021, the film industry can give rise to roughly 20 million jobs while contributing $20 billion to Africa’s combined GDP, if financed better.
The survey adds that only about 19 African countries offer financial support to creatives in the film sector implying that there is a huge window for governments and investors to help content creators tell their stories to the world and make a living out of it.
Entertainment giant Multichoice runs MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a training center where creative industry players in Africa sharpen their filmmaking talent while engaging with one another through shared passions.
So far, the MTF has trained 206 students over the past six years and 62 MTF graduates now own their own production companies.
The latest investment by Showmax comes after rival, Netflix, which is fighting massive loss of subscribers globally, also unveiled a plan to channel roughly €56.4 million into South African-produced entertainment content.
That commitment covers four separate productions which will be produced and filmed in South Africa during 2022 and 2023.
At the moment, Showmax has about 861,000 subscribers throughout Africa while Netflix serves around 2.6 million customers.