A new TV market is coming — thanks to RX Africa, part of the RX Group that includes RX France (which organizes, MIPTV, MIP China, MIPCOM, and MIP Cancun), and RX Singapore, which organizes Asia TV Forum.

MIP Africa’s debut is set for August 24-26, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa, and will be held at the city’s International Convention Center (CTICC), a three-story complex located in the city center, near the harbor and the V&A waterfront.

With MIP Africa, the market’s leadership wants to “ensure that Africans are robust players in the market, rather than mere consumers.”

“We’re in the business of growing businesses,” said Sisanda Henna, the 40-year-old Chairman of the Advisory Board, during a Skype interview. “The market is no longer segregated (e.g., Nigeria serving Nigeria or Ghana selling to Ghanaians), but international, and our object is for Africa to do global business.”  

VideoAge asked Henna if his approach to a TV market has any unusual elements, specifically with regard to making the seminar portion of the event relevant to the buying and selling aspects. “Yes,” he said from Amsterdam, where he attended a conference before flying back to his base in Johannesburg. “Even if we bring Steven Spielberg to the conference, people don’t fly 10,000 kilometers to just listen to him. The way we make the conferences relevant [to buyers and sellers] is to define what the next 50 years the industry business in Africa will look like, because we are different from Europe and America.”

Considering the chicken and the egg dilemma of any market is whether to focus on exhibitors in order to attract buyers, or to focus on buyers to attract exhibitors, his take was that, even though terrestrial television isn’t going to die (“there are government mandates to keep doing it”), MIP Africa’s strategy is to attract more streamers because that “is the new wave and by far the biggest size of direct investment coming to the market.”

The South African-born Henna’s professional background is mainly as an actor (he has 21 movies to his credit), but he has also produced and directed films. Henna is also familiar as to how Hollywood works, having moved to Los Angeles in 2007 for one year to assist the director of the Pan African Film Festival.

“We must no longer be passive bystanders but set the agenda for the sector as global players,” said Carol Weaving, RX Africa’s managing director.

If Henna is the bodywork of MIP Africa, Weaving is the engine. Born in the U.K., she moved to South Africa at age 29 and soon after she started her own company, Thebe Exhibitions, which was acquired by Reed Exhibition (now RX) in 2013.

This new MIP Africa event on the international film and TV trade scene will be part of an umbrella canopy called FAME Week Africa, which, in addition to MIP Africa, includes four other trade events that will take place around the same period: Animation Festival, Media and Entertainment Solutions, Muziki (Music) Africa, and Emerging Artists.

“FAME Week Africa brings together co-related events focusing on the major creative economies, namely film, television, and animation as well as music, with plans afoot to add more of the creative industries in future shows,” said Judy Goddard, FAME Week Africa event director.

FAME Week is also supported by Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) and Media Entertainment Solutions Africa (MESA). While CTIAF is the largest African Animation B2B event on the continent, MESA focuses on content and technology. The city of Cape Town is also contributing with subsidies for hotel rooms and flights.

MIP Africa will feature four country overviews: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, and will follow the November MIP Cancun format of up to 15 pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings of 25 minutes each. The meeting tables will be located in Exhibition Hall 1 in the CTICC1 (one of the complex’s wings).

According to RX Africa, 85 exhibitors are expected to rent meeting tables, and will meet with 60 hosted (all expenses paid) buyers, as well as some of 240 “member” buyers (who will attend at their own expense). Overall, 2,500 participants are expected.

The first “guest country” is going to be the U.S., which is well acquainted with South Africa’s strong service industry (Henna pointed to the talent that starred in Marvel’s 2018 film Black Panther as an example of this).

Since MIP Africa is being held during South Africa’s winter season, temperatures will probably be on the lower end, but are expected to reach a comfortable 11 C to 20 C. However, it is advisable to carry an umbrella since the month of August averages 15 days of rain.

Meanwhile, progress towards digital television continues in Africa unabated.

For example, anticipating universal broadband, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, a state telecoms regulatory agency, has already started migrating all television and audio broadcasting in the country from analog to digital terrestrial. Reportedly, about 572,000 low-income TV households have already been transitioned to digital for free so far, and over the last decade, South Africa’s government has slowly started to provide some sort of free broadband to some residents.

In August 2021, the South African government planned to hand out 10 free gigabytes of high-speed broadband to every household in its 60 million-plus population, a policy known as “broadband welfare.” According to Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South Africa’s Communications Minister, “Broadband and data will now become a basic utility that every household must receive, just like water and security.”

Recently, South Africa received close to U.S. $1 billion from auctioning off 4G and 5G broadband radio spectrum, giving it the cash it needed to implement the broadband program. In addition, Google has also announced the expansion of its Equiano subsea Internet cable, a key cog of the company’s $1 billion program to roll out a digital highway in Africa. It will land in South Africa later this year, and connect the country to Europe via Portugal, reportedly tripling Internet speeds in South Africa.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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