MTV Africa surpasses 2010 viewer target

Net exceeded audience forecast by 20 percent to 90 mil

NAIROBI -- MTV Networks Africa, a unit of Viacom, has already exceeded its 2010 audience forecast by 20 percent and now has 90 million viewers, its head said on Wednesday.

MTV Base, launched in February 2005, has 90 million viewers across Sub-Saharan Africa on both satellite and terrestrial platforms, well ahead of the company's initial forecast of 75 million viewers by 2010.

"In the first couple of years, we broke even. We want to have more distribution than any other MTV (channel) around the world," said General Manager Alex Okosi.

He said the channel, which is primarily distributed through DSTV, the satellite pay-TV arm of South Africa's Naspers, derived its revenue from advertising, sponsorships and distribution deals.

It is also distributed through syndication deals with local TV stations in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

"Africa represents a new exciting market where a lot of things are growing. We are willing to take the risk involved but we will also be in a position to benefit from the reward," he said.

Okosi said his team would soon turn its attention to the Kenyan market after spending this year strengthening its Nigeria office through more hiring of staff.

"We are now looking at finding digital media distributions and revenues," said Okosi, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in the United States.

Foreign investors are taking a second look at the African continent, and not just in the traditional sectors like mining and oil, Okosi said.

"The story of doom and gloom is evaporating. People are recognizing that for them to really capture the emerging markets, Africa needs to be part of their mix," he said.