By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of M-Net, Mrs. Yolisa Phahle has stated that their focus is about telling local stories in all local languages for viewers across the continent.
“We are constantly looking at ways to increase our investment and offering to ensure we tell more African stories through the eyes of local producers and actors. We currently produce in nine languages and have local channels telling local stories in East, West, and Southern Africa,” said. Mrs. Phahle.
According to her, M-Net believe that there are more stories that need to be told in more languages.
“Currently we are focusing on the Africa Magic channels in West Africa, the Maisha Magic channels for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Zambezi Magic for the English-speaking SADC region and Jango Magic for our Portuguese markets in Angola and Mozambique. The Mzansi Magic and kykNET channels tell local South African stories,” she mentioned.
While celebrating Africa Month, the Daily Express and two other journalists from Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi got the opportunity to interview Mrs. Yolisa Phahle to discuss their involvement on how local TV content successfully showcases African stories from an African perspective.
After two years of managing M-Net and touching on some of the challenges she face, Phahle said challenges are inevitable in any business. “The key is to find solutions that improve the viewer experience, that surprise, delight, entertain and inform audiences.”
She said M-Net is no stranger to challenges. “We have had a few difficult moments this year but seek to learn valuable lessons that can help us improve what we offer viewers in the long-term,” she added.
“Our Africa Magic, East Africa SADC and Portuguese channels have been impactful in their respective markets. The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards which has affectionately become known as the Oscars of Africa, is a testament to growth of our African footprint, as the number of awards, quality of productions and categories have increased year on year,” Phahle stated.
She pointed out that they seek to work with local partners in every market, to add value to the countries in which they operate and this remains a priority to them.
She emphasized that their strongest impact continues to be the opportunities they offer to film makers and producers and the continued investment into local production companies to produce content made by Africans for Africa. “As a group our investment in local sport and local content is testament to our desire to make a meaningful contribution,” she noted.
Answering a question whether they are not targeting a specific market, Mrs. Phahle said the M-Net channels through MultiChoice operations in nearly 50 countries and they offer content in nine languages. “Our focus is not just on the big markets, but focusing on being a diverse and representative African brand. This year, there is a big focus on Zambia and Tanzania, our investment in Mozambique is also representative of our commitment to the continent,” she mentioned.
Moving away from been a South African company, she noted that they are employing people on the ground in the countries where they operate. “We have channel managers from Angola, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe and will continue to work with a diverse and representative group of people from across the continent.”
Answering questions on how programmes on M-Net will advance the course of women, she noted that “it is important that we showcase stories which represent diverse female characters that reflect the lives of a wide variety of women. We also seek to tell stories that contain inspirational women who overcome major obstacles as these stories are motivational, educational and resonate well with our audiences.”
She announced that there will be no Big Brother Africa show this year. “This year we have produced Big Brother for Angola, at this stage we do not have plans for Big Brother Africa,” she added.