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MultiChoice sinks Sh500 million in producing local shows

MultiChoice and Mnet, Africa’s largest producers and broadcasters of local television content yesterday hosted over 200 local producers, content developers and students at a one-day summit on “Investing in East Africa local content industries to spur economic growth.”

GOtv Kenya General Manager Simon Kariithi said DStv and GOtv are committed to invest in local productions. “As a leading financier of local productions in Kenya,” he said, “we are proud to announce a half a billion shillings investment in 14 original local shows to be produced and broadcast in the year 2017-2018.”

Mr Kariithi said the shows will air exclusively on Maisha Magic East, which is the only show in the country with 100% local content. Maisha Magic flew in Bollywood top thespians for a knowledge transfer session.

The summit, which took place at Local Production Limited studios in Nairobi, also featured two of Bollywood’s award-winning producers Neelima Bajpal and Shyamashis Bhattacharia, Directors at Shakuntalam Telefilms in India.

The Bollywood producers gave presentations that focused on the drivers of success of the Indian Telenovela productions including budgeting for Bollywood films, script writing and casting. Also featured was the importance of post-production in film production.

Shyamashis Bhattacharia, while speaking at the summit, acknowledged the role that TV plays in growing the Bollywood film industry.

 “TV appearances are just as popular as Film appearances in India. However, most revenue is generated from TV and not film as most advertising and product placement happens on TV,” Bhattacharia said.

Television gives film actors an opportunity to make guest appearances to promote their films, and this is the key that propels the Bollywood film industry as it gives the cast members more popularity. This has worked in Hollywood and would also work well with local Kenyan film productions.”

Neelima Bajpal also a Bollywood script writer said: “It takes patience and a professional team to put together a good film. Sometimes, Bollywood writers can go for up to 5 months without payment from the broadcasters. This should not discourage producers as Indian writers make more money than any other personnel involved in creating TV content. This is an indication that film is still a multimillion dollar business if done well.”

Other speakers at the event were Chris Foot, Chairman of the Kenya Film Commission; Dorothy Ghettuba, CEO Spielworks Media; Timothy Okwaro, M-Net Director East and Southern Africa channels; Mwaniki Mageria, CEO Riverwood and Nkateko Mabaso, General Manager M-Net South Africa. Delegates also interacted and engaged on various topics including issues around driving local content uptake and innovation in the Kenyan film sector.

The summit was organised to increase local production skills following a directive by the Communication Authority in 2014 to increase local content programming from 40% to 68% by 2018.

Apart from the summit, delegates had a chance to see the production of one of Maisha Magic East’s productions titled Jela 5-Star set for launch on 3 July 2017. Two other music shows – The Turn Up and Pambio Live will also launch on 1 July 2017 and 2 July 2017 respectively. The three shows will be the first of the 14 shows lined up to roll out in 2017 on Maisha Magic East.

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