MultiChoice invests R4.5m in community TV stations

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Thabo Molefe, CEO of Soweto TV.
Thabo Molefe, CEO of Soweto TV.

As part of MultiChoice Group’s (MCG’s) continued efforts to support the local video entertainment industry, the company will support three of South Africa’s community TV stations with a total investment of R4.5 million.

The pay-TV operator says each of the selected stations will use the R1.5 million funding for the creation of fresh content.

Towards the end of 2019, MCG called on community TV stations across the country to submit original content ideas for consideration.

MCG says it received many exciting proposals, ranging from locally-produced reality shows to docu-series, current affairs programmes and comedy sitcoms.

Each submission was reviewed in terms of originality and audience appeal, says the company, noting the proposals from Bay TV, Soweto TV and Tshwane TV stood out and were selected for funding.

“Our relationship with MultiChoice has enabled Bay TV to be the conduit of an Eastern Cape story,” says Bay TV chairman Motse Mfuleni. “Without revealing too much, the current investment of R1.5 million will go towards the production of our new reality show entitled ‘Ekhondweni Lobudoda’. We are also confident this investment will launch our prowess as a content-generating channel.”

Chief executive officer of Soweto TV Thabo Molefe says the station is delighted to have been selected. “This investment will not only bring new content to the schedule, but it is also an investment in talent and empowers new storytellers.”

Tshwane TV sales and marketing director Collin McKenzie emphasises this investment will not only assist with content-generation but will also contribute to the station’s sustainability and growth. “We thank MultiChoice and we promise to deliver good quality content.”

MCG says it has a long-standing history of supporting South African community channels, including Gau TV, 1KZN TV and Cape Town TV.

According to the company, the broadcaster recently provided equipment upgrades to the various stations, assisted with camera and production training, and provided business training from Henley Business School for their management teams.

“Through our infrastructure, technology and empowerment initiatives, we empower an entertainment supply chain which, in turn, supports local business and communities touched by our business. For community TV stations, this means more local content which will generate economic opportunities for local communities,” explains Reggy Moalusi, MultiChoice SA’s executive head for corporate affairs.

MCG’s investment in community TV, and other grass-roots development measures, will go a long way to ensuring the sustainability of the industry and growing the local video entertainment business for those both in front of and behind the camera, says the company.

Moalusi continues: “We are a leading investor in local content production, and we are seeing day-by-day how our audiences are calling for more local content. For us, it’s about broadening access to African storytelling and creating platforms for local content creators to tell their stories.”

MCG further demonstrated its continued support for local entertainment industries when it announced the establishment of an R80 million fund that will pay full salaries of cast, crew and creatives for the months of March and April, during the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company concludes.

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