Is Hollywood Suddenly Interested In South Africa, Or Has It Been All Along?

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Written by Staff

From NationalMonitor. Story by Susan Douglin.

The entertainment industry has taken a big liking to filming productions in South Africa, even more than usual.

Viacom has been particularly active in the market for the past 10 years offering 15 networks in Africa, and now fashion is taking a liking to the country as well. The country recently launched a local version of BET this past year, and it came soon after the arrival of Nicktoons and Nick Jr. last September.

Although the networks are new to the market, MTV Base, MTV Portugal, MTV, VHI Classic, BET2, and Comedy Central were already at home there.

Many other media giants in the U.S. have built a presence in Africa as major players began to see the growing middle class alongside its resilient economic growth as a golden opportunity. 21st Century Fox’s International Channels has an office in Johannesburg and is currently distributing 10 pay-TV channels throughout the continent.

The Discovery Channel runs its international business out of London and said it has seven pay-TV channels on the continent.

Disney has an office in South Africa and offers networks in Africa as Disney Junior and Disney Channel. NBCUniversal’s channels in South Africa are managed by NBCU International’s headquarters in London that staffs most of their team. The company has in-territory ad sales support and marketing in Johannesburg. Their African channels are Studio Universal, Universal Channel, Telemundo, and E! Entertainment Television.

In 2005, Viacom launched its first network in Africa and now has the most comprehensive portfolio of channels compared to all of the international media companies on the continent. With more than 100 million viewers across 52 territories, Viacom’s international base is South Africa and has been the key to pay TV revenue potential.

“South Africa really was and still is the center of pay TV in Africa,’” said Viacom International Media Networks CEO Bob Bakish. “It makes sense to run our Africa business out of there. But as things have continued to evolve, a couple of years ago we also opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria. That is the largest ad market in Africa and a place where we are spending more time as we grow our business.”

Read more at NationalMonitor.