Pay-Television giant, MultiChoice, has announced plans to use new digital technology to deliver African content to global audiences. The announcement was by Yholisa Phale, MultiChoice’s CEO of Entertainment, on Wednesday, the first day of the 5th Digital Dialogue Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Digital Dialogue is a thought-leadership platform established in 2012 and facilitated by MultiChoice to address various issues facing the video entertainment industry on the continent and share industry best practices.
Addressing a delegation comprising of several international industry thought-leaders and key media stakeholders from across the African continent, Phale said rapid advancement in digital technology in Africa have created new opportunities to innovate on content delivery. She stated that the digital disruption has changed and will continue to change how subscribers consume MultiChoice’s products.
She explained that MultiChoice feels duty-bound to play an active role in the process because it has invested in Africa and is committed to the future of the continent
Her presentation set the tone for the conference with its positive outlook into the future directions of video entertainment and how the industry is responding to the rapid change in technology when it comes to platforms of content delivery.
“If you speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disrupter and if necessary even to cannibalize yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example, but MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future,” she said.
She disclosed that MultiChoice produces over 16 local content channels across the continent showcasing local storytellers and created the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards that celebrate African filmmaking, adding that the company works with local broadcasters so that East Africans can see what is happening in West and Southern Africa.
“As a company, we are looking forward to investing even more in telling local stories, documenting our history and providing a platform for Africans to share African stories,” she stated.
“But today in the midst of the ongoing digital revolution – we collectively have the opportunity to not only tell stories that educate and inform African audiences, the digital age means we are in a position to take African stories to the world, and create a global market for what we do. By using the internet and leveraging technology, we have the ability to reach audiences at a global level and the success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita Nyong’o and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages.”
“This will take incredible focus and increasingly, as we look to the future of news and media organizations, the conversation is focused on three words: content, technology and customer which we believe will continue to be essential for any news or media organization that wants to survive and grow in the future.”
She explained that for MultiChoice to survive and grow, it has to find new ways of engaging more effectively with viewers in an age with more choices and more free content than ever and when its customers are increasingly becoming used to receiving personalized content tailored to specific requirements often seemingly for free.
“Nowadays, no-one can say with absolutely certainty what the future holds for any business in the news or media industry. What we do know, however, is that people today consume more news and entertainment than ever and I believe this trend will continue. The delivery mechanisms will change, and in many ways, digital is just another route to market, but the producers of the most relevant and resonant content will survive,” she opined.
She told her audience that MultiChoice seeks to be the world’s best African story teller in addition to its intention to bring its customers the best international stories.
“Being able to tell the right story, at the right time, to the right person is our absolute focus and if we are able to leverage the technology and become obsessed with pleasing our customers we will nullify the headwinds and use the tail winds to drive exponential growth for our collective future,” she asserted.
She concluded her presentation by disclosing that MultiChoice is planning to start production on a number of epic African stories and use new digital platforms to create a stage for Africa to shine on while continuing to work with the best African talent to tell Africa’s stories to deliver the incredible economic benefits to Africa’s creative industries. “Let’s undertake to bring this kind of prosperity to our continent and aim to use digital technology to entertain and inform the world,” concluded Phahle.