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Viacom’s Viacom International Media Networks unit will broaden its entertainment channel offering on digital satellite TV service DStv in Africa with the launch of Nick Jr. and Nicktoons and via an extension of the reach of BET International in South Africa.
The moves come as Viacom continues to grow its African TV business.
With the launch of the new channels at the end of the month, VIMN Africa said it will deliver “more TV channels than any other international media company on the continent, with a total of eight distinct entertainment brands.”
VIMN Africa channels are now available to more than 100 million viewers in more than 50 territories in sub-Saharan Africa via a combination of pay TV, terrestrial TV and IPTV networks. As in other markets, the company offers its globally popular content and localized content.
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“We are delighted to partner with MultiChoice to strengthen our kids and family and general entertainment offering in Africa,” said Alex Okosi, senior vp and managing director VIMN Africa. “Nick Jr., Nicktoons and BET International provide the perfect complement to our existing entertainment, music, comedy, and kids and family channels.”
He said the company now offers programming for all key demographics, making it “a very exciting time” for his team.
“Africa is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world,” Viacom International Media Networks CEO Bob Bakish told The Hollywood Reporter. “There are more than a billion people there. We saw the [opportunity] early and have been active in the market for a long time.”
An expanding middle class and economic growth have helped lift media businesses in Africa. “We have seen very nice topline and bottom line growth there,” said Bakish. “We love the market. This is another important step forward.”
DStv, launched in 1995, is operated by leading African pay TV giant MultiChoice, part of media conglomerate Naspers, across Africa.
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Aletta Alberts, general manager for content for MultiChoice, said, “We want to add channels that fill a gap in our entertainment offering and that we know our customers will love to watch.”
Viacom’s recent programming moves in Africa include MTV’s acquisition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for Africa; the return, after a three-year hiatus, of the MTV Africa Awards (MAMAs), hosted by Marlon Wayans; and the successful use of Comedy Central roasts.
Nick Jr. will air such family-friendly hits as Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol in Africa. Nicktoons will offer series from Nickelodeon´s animation library, including The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.
BET International mixes talk, drama, reality, documentary, comedy, music, movies and more, including The Wendy Williams Show, Being Mary Jane, Real Husbands of Hollywood, The BET Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards and Comic View.
Okosi said Viacom has mostly focused on the market opportunity in South Africa and Nigeria, the largest advertising market in Africa. But the company has also looked for growth in such countries as Kenya and Angola.
“More and more middle-class consumers are coming online and can now afford pay television,” he said. “Content development and creation is also much more economically viable, which leads to a lot of growth in the market.”
Said Bakish: “Africa is a great market. We have a strong position. This announcement makes that position stronger in terms of our ability to serve consumers and serve advertisers, especially in South Africa.” He added: “We are going to look to continue to build [our] business in Africa.”
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