Tuesday, March 11, 2014

DATELINE LAGOS: M-Net in Africa would like to see more quality African films; people understanding TV & film rights, says Biola Alabi.

There's still a knowledge gap when it comes to African filmmakers and African television producers who don't fully and correctly understand how film and television rights and the distribution chain works.

That makes it difficult for them - as well as distributors and broadcasters - to unlock and maximise the true and fullest value of their produced content across the various platforms and distribution windows that exist.

M-Net in Africa says the pan-African pay-TV broadcaster is helping to educate African filmmakers and African TV producers across the content about how the distribution system works, and would also like to see more quality films being produced and distributed to various different audiences across the continent and further.

TV with Thinus asked Biola Alabi, the M-Net Africa's managing director for special projects what the pay-TV broadcaster would like filmmakers and TV producers on the continent to know and what M-Net would like to see more of.

M-Net supplies a growing number of AfricaMagic TV channels to MultiChoice's DStv platform all across Africa and holds the AfricaMagic Viewers Choice Awards, the 2nd awards ceremony which took place this past weekend to recognise and reward filmmakers and TV producers across the continent.

"One of the things we would like to see come out of Africa is more quality films," Biola Alabi told TV with Thinus. "We will continue to look for great stories. Also, I think its important for filmmakers to continue to tell the African story. Make sure its modern, make sure its connecting with multiple audiences".

"Another thing we'd like to see is people really understanding television rights. So we want people to really work with us to understand how the distribution model work and understanding the rights, and really protecting their work - but at the same time also protecting everyone's legal rights across the distribution chain".

"That is where we still continually see big challenges. Its really people understanding the different rights that different people have across the distribution chain and not selling the same rights to multiple people at the same time. Those are challenges we continue to see".

"We've done different workshops - writers' workshops, lighting workshop and an audio workshop this year. These are areas where we continually see challenges in. These are areas we still need to work on as African filmmakers and African television producers".

"We educate filmmakers and TV producers on the different windows on which they can exploit their content. There is no real deliberate effort to shut anyone out. Everyone has a window where their content can be exploited. There is a pay-TV window where we get out distribution rights and we distribute the content. And there is a free-to-air window in which producers go and can exploit it on that platform".

"We work with tons of independent producers. What we've done is - and has gone out of our way to do - is to develop really great relationships with producers and make sure that there is a reciprocal relationship in which it is a win-win for everyone, which is why the content is on our platform".

"Good television programming appeals to everyone. So our job is to get the best programmes out there," says Biola Alabi.

"That is our number one goal. The second goal is for us, with GOtv launching across the African continent as MultiChoice's digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering, we're going to continue to make more niche content, as well as more general entertainment content for everyone and the widest possible audiences".

"We're very excited about the GOtv opportunity. With GOtv people are going to get much more indigenous language content. Remember, no matter who I am, I still want great content".

"You might say our content is made for rich people but that's not true. Whoever you are, and whatever you're watching, you want it to be the best content for you, and it is our job to do that," says Biola Alabi.