African content took centre stage at DISCOP Johannesburg 2016, with a marked increase in African representation and interest in African productions being the standout features of the event.
The 12th edition of Africa's premier film and TV content market wrapped up on Friday, 4 November following three intensive days of deal-making between hundreds of production companies, distributors and media platforms from Africa and the rest of the world.
The expanded floor plan at the Sandton Convention Centre was 100% sold out in advance, with 742 companies in total attending compared to 637 last year, and the delegate count coming in at around 2 000.
African representation up by 38%
There was an abundance of African content on offer: of the 347 production houses in attendance, 267 originated from Africa – up from 193 last year.
And not just the quantity but the quality of productions was higher, with Africa's multicultural audiences fast embracing digital entertainment, binge watching and social media, and African content producers putting increasing pressure on their international competitors when it comes to meeting this demand.
Feedback from many of the organisations attending this year's event all pointed to an increased interest in African content, both from international distribution platforms as well as from broadcasters, telcos and content aggregators from Africa. In all, 218 African distribution platforms attended DISCOP Joburg 2016, predominantly on the hunt for locally generated content.
Feeling the heat from African producers
According to DISCOP director and Basic Lead CEO Patrick Zuchowicki, this is in line with global trends over the past few decades. "Twenty to 30 years ago, across Europe, there was a marked increase towards locally or regionally produced content.
"While international content was not fully replaced, increased production values in locally produced content spurred an increase in interest in this content that still exists today," Zuchowicki said in a statement.
"Africa is now at the start of that trend that will see more and better produced African content taking its place on screens across Africa and beyond. The international content producers at this year's event were certainly feeling the heat from this increase in both the quantity and quality of African content on offer."