South African Media Firms Look North For New Audience

South African Media Firms Look North For New Audience

A number of South African media firms are looking to expand into the rest of Africa in  bid to extend their reach to the rest of the continent as the digital age present an opportunity for the fourth estate to reach audiences previously perceived unreachable in the region.

Companies such as MultiChoice, Mail & Guardian and Times Media Group (TMG) have in recent years ventured into the rest of Africa with a renewed vigor, most of them capitalizing on the growing digital space to capture new readers and views.

“There have been so many homogenizing forces – Nollywood, DStv, Big Brother Africa – working in the background to create a common African experience. We wanted to speak to that ‘new African’,” Charlse Onyango-Obbo, the Mail & Guardian Africa Editor told The Media.

Mail & Guardian, a London-based media house with a strong presence in South Africa for many year, launched it Africa outlet in May 2014 to covered news in one of the world’s fastest growing regions and to highlight the prosperity stories as “Africa prospers”.

While Mail & Guardian took the organic growth route in its Africa expansion strategy, its competitor TMG  decided to enter new markets by buying shares in existing media groups on the continent.

Africa’s digital age

TMG bought about a third of Ghana’s Multi Media Group in 2013, a company that owns six radio stations and a number of television channels, then followed that with a 49% state in Kenya’s Radio Africa Group in 2014,  the holding company for the east African nation’s third largest newspaper, The Star, at least three radio stations and a TV station.

“Ghana is a good springboard for the west and Kenya is the largest market in east Africa, which makes them both perfect fits for TMG,” Andrew Gill, TMG’s managing director of broadcast and content, told The Media.

MultiChioce, a South African satellite broadcaster, decided to take on joint ventures, franchises and agents to grow its business in 50 Africa countries. Its offers it flagship product, DStv, via satellite, mobile and tablets.

“Africa is undisputedly regarded as the world’s next big growth market with huge potential,” said MultiChoice Africa CEO Nico Meyer.

“As a company born and bred in Africa, we recognize the importance of building sustainable solutions, which means our operations are built on local partnerships in each country we operate.”

Other global media firms that have ventured into Africa in the last two years include US-based digital media firm Moguldom, the parent company for AFKInsider and AFKTravel, and Quartz, which plans to set up its Africa division in June this year.