At MipTV in Cannes, BBC Worldwide announced it has licensed over 400 hours of programming across Africa in the first part of 2017. The sales include a first time deal with a new Southeast Asian SVOD platform Iflix, which has licensed over 150 hours of British content ahead of its imminent launch across Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). The deal includes classic Top Gear, Citizen Khan and the multi-award winning Luther.
Drama and factual series have been the driving force for wider deals across the continent with over 250 hours of BBC Worldwide content being licensed to mobile operators including Vodacom and MTN. Global hits such as Wolf Hall and Doctor Who contribute to the deal that spans 11 territories in Africa including Nigeria and South Africa.
The importance of Africa is recognised at this year's annual MipTV event, with an African Pavilion featuring local production companies, broadcasters and wider media platforms, who will be displaying the best of Africa.
South African panel at Cannes
Johannesburg-based production company Rapid Blue, which partnered with BBC Worldwide in early 2016, will be present at the event with its CEO, Duncan Irvine, taking part in a South African panel. Rapid Blue is an award winning production house that together with BBC Worldwide has introduced some of the most popular global formats to South Africa and Sub- Saharan Africa, including The Great South African Bake Off, Come Dine With Me South Africa and Strictly Come Dancing SA.
Joel Churcher, VP and GM for Africa, BBC Worldwide said, "It is an exciting time to be doing business in Africa. The demand for premium British content and formats across the African Continent is vast and is why we have collaborated with local companies such as Rapid Blue. We want to ensure that we not only distribute the best but also create and support the best local content to ensure that Africa stays front of mind globally in broadcasting."
In support of the wider local African TV industry and local economy, a number of titles in BBC Worldwide's catalogue including global hit programmes Planet Earth II, Top Gear series 23 and Call the Midwife series six have been filmed across the continent. Countries where filming has taken place include Ethiopia, South Africa, Madagascar, Namibia, Kenya and Botswana. Call the Midwife's Christmas episode used a local cast of actors based in and around Cape Town to complement the lead actors who travelled across to film at 'Hope Clinic'.
Other productions that have been filmed across Africa include the latest drama from Peter Moffat, The Last Post. BBC Worldwide commissions Tribal Bootcamp and Fishing Impossible have been filmed in countries including Kenya, Zambia and South Africa. Africa offers not impressive landscapes and backdrops for filming but also good value, which is helping both global studios and Indies to film more premium content.