BBC Worldwide Invests in Producer of South African Versions of 'X Factor,' 'Pawn Stars'

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BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm of the U.K. public broadcaster.

The company says the deal with Rapid Blue will help "meet the growing demand for high-end, compelling and relevant local content for the African market, in addition to taking African content to the world."

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC, has made an investment in South African production company Rapid Blue.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

"The investment into Rapid Blue demonstrates BBC Worldwide’s desire to expand in the region and meet the growing demand for high-end, compelling and relevant local content for the African market, in addition to taking African content to the world," the company said.

Established in 1993 and based in South Africa, Nigeria and Angola, Rapid Blue works on original productions and international TV formats for South African, African and international audiences. "Rapid Blue has produced thousands of hours of television for local audiences, including The X Factor, SA’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, Dragons’ Den, Four Weddings and Pawn Stars," the companies said. BBC Worldwide has also worked with Rapid Blue on such shows as The Weakest Link and The Great South African Bake Off.

Said Grant Welland, executive vp Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at BBC Worldwide: "As demand for local content increases across Africa, BBC Worldwide and Rapid Blue are extremely proud to partner and explore the growing opportunities in the market. With BBC Worldwide’s enviable formats catalog and our combined knowledge and expertise, this agreement will enable us to provide content solutions for broadcasters across the continent, positioning us as the destination for quality television production in Africa."

Added Duncan Irvine, CEO of Rapid Blue: "We are very excited about this partnership as it provides us with access to tremendous development opportunities, as well as to a deep skills base and support as we continue to grow and develop our staff and the creative and production teams who work with us. The partnership will allow us to accelerate our growth in Africa and increase opportunities for employment and training."

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