By Michael Lang
Local content isn’t just entertainment; it’s a vital tool for economic growth, job creation, and cultural preservation. Investments that multiply opportunities in the local creative sector not only enrich African narratives – they also improve African lives.
Today, more and more people want to see their heritage come to life. They want their stories told and their experiences reflected on screen. With a growing appetite for African content, businesses have a great opportunity to invest in local productions – and consequently local people.
The desire for local content and the drive to consume content allows broadcasters to improve the skills of local production crews, invest in better equipment and facilities, highlight local talent on- and off-screen, and also adjacent industries.
In Nigeria, for instance, MultiChoice plays a pivotal role in empowering talent and driving economic development. It invests directly and indirectly in the African entertainment industry, providing critical skills support and training.
Its flagship channel, Africa Magic, is a springboard for aspiring and established talents to showcase their skills. This commitment paves the way for new and seasoned entertainment professionals to flourish, elevating the industry and the country as a whole.
Today, it employs more than 1 000 dedicated staff members, and that’s just the beginning. Indirectly, it supports more than 20 000 jobs across various sectors, from production crews to small businesses that thrive on the entertainment industry.
Another example is Kwenda Magic in Angola, testament to the MultiChoice Africa commitment to celebrating local culture and fostering growth through top-quality content. Its productions are shifting the dial, with DStv Angola now seen as the main investor in local content in country.
This channel, meticulously curated for the Angolan audience, has not only exceeded its targets, but has also created more than 3 000 jobs. These jobs span the entire spectrum of content creation, from actors to writers, producers, and technicians.
Kwenda Magic showcases the diverse narratives that make the country unique. By investing in local content, it empowers communities and amplifies their voices, strengthening their collective identity.
Zambezi Magic provides direct and indirect employment opportunities across Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Lesotho and Namibia, producing local content not only to entertain, but also to empower communities and stimulate economic development across the region.
In Uganda, Pearl Magic Prime is a respected DStv and GOtv channel. Its success and credibility are underpinned by its broad viewership but also by its significant economic impact.
Since 2021, more than 25 licensed and commissioned shows have graced the platform, employing approximately 1 000 people directly and indirectly. Even more impressively, these productions garnered a remarkable 15 local and international awards in 2022 alone.
Finally, in Namibia, MultiChoice has partnered with the Namibia Film Commission to support female filmmakers, also sponsoring two Namibian female filmmakers to establish a Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT) chapter.
This initiative is part of the broadcaster’s commitment to diversity and gender equality in the film and television industry. By empowering women in film, the company contributes not only to personal growth, but also to the broader development of the Namibian film sector.
Beyond the investment in the film industry, MultiChoice has also launched Network TV. This local channel offers current affairs, sports, youth entertainment, as well as travel shows – exclusively for Namibians, by Namibians.
Through this channel, the company has employed 4 people and supported a further 10 through indirect investment. It’s a step towards greater, hyper-localised content that supports a brighter future for Namibia’s creative industry and beyond.
MultiChoice’s dedication to tailoring content to each market is evident through the increasing number of local channels and productions in each region.
At MultiChoice, we believe in improving the quality of people’s lives through what we do. One of our most significant contributions to this mission is our investment in local content – content that speaks to people, tells their stories, and helps build a united, Pan-African identity.
Local content isn’t just a source of entertainment; it’s a powerful force for economic progress and the preservation of our rich cultural heritage. We remain steadfast in our commitment to nurturing talent, catalysing economic prosperity and telling African stories for African people.
Michael Lang, a public analyst, wrote from Lagos.