Content is at our core, and our unparalleled content offering sets us apart from our competitors. From the shows that we produce and the channels we acquire, to our scheduling strategy, our key ambition is to ensure our customers are delighted with great entertainment all year round. We offer a diverse set of channels to cater for the diverse needs of our customer base.
Our flagship channel, M-Net, renowned for its high-quality productions, continued treating viewers to only the best international series, blockbuster movies and sleek local versions of big-budget reality shows. Aligning with the company’s mission to invest in local content, the channel raised the bar yet again by expanding its local content considerably – a move that secured M-Net’s position as the number one channel on DStv Premium.
This year’s innovative M-Net local ventures included a landmark coproduction with global TV giants Cinemax (an HBO sister channel) and German public broadcaster ZDF. Trackers, the five-part adaptation of a novel by bestselling South African author, Deon Meyer – and M-Net’s first drama series in more than a decade – shattered channel viewership records. In its Sunday night slot at 20:00, Trackers attracted more viewers than a 30-year-old M-Net institution, the Sunday night movie, and even outperformed established international hits such as Game of Thrones.
We embarked on more international coproductions in 2019 that will take African storytelling to the world. In the pipeline is another drama series, Reyka, with the UK’s Fremantle as our partner, and the development of an original reality show in partnership with Keshet, an Israeli media company.
Paving the way for a locally slanted Thursday night on M-Net, the inaugural season of the big-format reality dating show The Bachelor SA boosted YoY ratings for its time slot by 34%. Hot on its heels came Survivor SA: Island of Secrets, which increased the show’s viewership from season 6 to season 7 by an impressive 36%. It is the most popular season of Survivor SA to date.
We continued our local winning spree on Thursdays with the addition of a local drama slot at 20:00. The poignant family drama Still Breathing was the first to occupy the slot.
Season 3 of the Sunday night live show, The Voice SA, produced its first female winner, and also the youngest winner to date. We also created another propriety reality show format for M-Net, a dating show called Finding The One.
Our proudly South African premier video entertainment brands, kykNET and Mzansi Magic, had a prolific 2019 showcasing authentic local productions and honing local talent.
After two decades of top-notch Afrikaans language-specific TV on DStv Premium, kykNET increased its viewership by 10%. The perennial favourite reality show Boer Soek ’n Vrou clinched a 37% audience share in its time slot and long-running hit Binnelanders reached a terrific milestone with the screening of episode 3 000. Furthermore, we treated our kykNET viewers to eight new drama series.
Extending its offering to a wider audience, kykNET introduced a fourth member to its family of channels. kykNET Lekker, a welcome addition curated for our DStv Access audiences, complements music channel kykNET NOU and kykNET & Kie, which are available on the DStv Compact and Family packages.
While the two kykNET & Kie soaps Suidooster and Arendsvlei have become appointment viewing, another show created with the channel audience in mind, true-life crime doccie Op Seer se Spoor, nabbed a SAFTA award.
Both kykNET, which celebrated a milestone 20th birthday, and Mzansi Magic, produced an unprecedented number of engaging and award-winning local productions, which secured them top ranking positions in their audience segments on DStv.
Mzansi Magic cemented its reputation as one of Africa’s best loved storytellers with an array of popular reality shows, dramas and telenovelas. Firm favourites such as Date My Family and Our Perfect Wedding continued trending on social media platforms, and we gave audiences a peek into the lives of colourful celebrities in shows such as Being Bonang, Living the Dream with Somizi and Real Housewives of Johannesburg. The 15th instalment of Idols SA drew a record of more than 186m votes. This is an increase of more than 40m votes YoY. Idols SA not only retained the top spot on South African Twitter each week, but also put us on the map on social media trending lists worldwide.
The volume of productions on our local South African channels reached an all-time high, while maintaining quality of the highest order. Series such as The Herd and The River received global recognition: an International Drama award win and an International Emmy award in the Best Telenovela category, respectively.
Supporting local filmmakers and the South African film industry remains a priority for us.
In the past year, our M-Net Movies division licensed or invested in more than 50 films. Among these films was the hard-hitting crime drama Knuckle City, South Africa’s submission to the Best International Feature category of the 92nd Academy Awards, and a drawcard at the Toronto International Film Festival.
We also backed 2019’s highest grossing local film, the box office smash hit The Kandansamys – The Wedding. Other notable films under our wing were multiple award winners Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer, Fiela se Kind and Poppie Nongena, all of which premiered at the annual kykNET Silwerskermfees.
Furthermore, M-Net, kykNET and streaming service Showmax partnered to bring our viewers the exceptional wildlife feature documentary, Stroop, a harrowing account of rhino poaching that took the world by storm and raked in a long list of international and local kudos.
Our comprehensive third-party international channels deliver on our promise to bring the biggest and best international brands home. It includes a wide variety of award-winning content including the best of British channels, leading documentary brands and international channel brands.
We are observing a trend of international channel brands increasingly investing in local content that resonates with our viewers. This included a South African cast of actors performing alongside the original Indian cast of Mehek, featured on Zee World. On the Food Network we aired local talent Siba’s Adventures and From the Heart with Jenny Morris. Comedy Central also invested heavily in local talent with Laugh in your own Language – a show that features comedians doing stand-up comedy in their mother tongue.
Other international shows featured South African talent as actors, presenters or celebrities as part of the format. In addition to the brands we feature, we also enhanced our international channels offering by launching a leading US women’s lifestyle channel, HGTV, and we introduced the leading documentary brand CuriosityStream. We also successfully replaced the Crime and Investigation channel with the successful launch of the crime documentary channel, CBS Justice, in November 2019. We launched Euronews and Africanews to complement our international news offering with European and African perspectives, and we added Trace Gospel for our loyal music devotees. We added two respected and well-loved children’s brands to enhance our leading portfolio of children’s content with edutainment channels Da Vinci and PBS kids.
Our Africa Magic brand, which includes three language-specific channels, Africa Magic Igbo, Africa Magic Hausa and Africa Magic Yoruba, represents the best of Nigerian storytelling. Our strong local content slate in the region and an effective windowing strategy contributed to the channels’ success in this financial year.
The latest instalment of Big Brother Naija was yet another massive hit, generating 240m votes – a 38% increase from the previous season. We also introduced localised versions of reality shows such as Date My Family, Confessions, Dr Laser and Unmarried to our West African audiences. During the latter part of the year, we created a new Nigerian reality format called Ultimate Love. The final episode yielded the perfect ending; a marriage proposal.
Our investment in the Nigerian creative industry resulted in two brand new telenovelas: Unbroken, whose popularity prompted media to call it Nigeria’s Game of Thrones, and the action-packed Brethren.
In East Africa, we design tailormade channels to speak to the needs of specific audiences. You will find Maisha Magic East and the newly launched Maisha Magic Plus in Kenya, Maisha Magic Bongo in Tanzania and Pearl Magic in Uganda.
These channels continued showing significant growth in FY20. Kenya’s locally produced telenovelas Pete and Selina and Tanzania’s Huba illustrate our quest to create authentic stories that resonate with viewers.
The local version of the home-grown reality show Our Perfect Wedding continued boosting viewership figures in Kenya. Subsequently, we extended the love to Uganda this year with its rendition of the show.
To keep programming in Tanzania fresh and give Tanzanian storytellers a place to call home, we introduced the commissioned drama series Sarafu and the Swahili dubbed telenovela Madhubala. Due to audience response, both were renewed for second seasons. Another popular addition was the docuseries Maisha Yangu. We also secured our first exclusive pay-TV channel licensing deal with Clouds Plus (Tanzania) in September 2019.
In Ethiopia, we launched Amharic commentary on SuperSport’s football games to improve our local content contribution in the country.
Our East African content received numerous accolades: Maisha Magic East impressed at the Kalasha International Film and TV Awards. Selina, Our Perfect Wedding, Nyanya Rukia and The Turn Up claimed the honours in six categories.SOUTHERN AFRICAN CHANNELS
In southern Africa, the two locally produced telenovelas Zuba and Mpali are still the shining stars of our content offering on Zambezi Magic, our flagship and top-performing channel in the region.
In the mass market segment on our Access and DTT packages, OneZed, features our wide selection of library content and is resonating well with audiences. We boosted the channel’s all-round performance by adding the first season of Zuba in October 2019.
When DStv launched a new Portuguese package, called the Familia package in September 2019, it became the number one choice for family viewing in Angola and Mozambique.
With some 7 500 live feeds a year, and 700 of our own productions, we pride ourselves in being the home of sport on the continent.
This year, we broadcast many great sporting events, including the Cricket and Rugby World Cups and the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament. In addition, leagues such as the EPL and PSL provide appointment viewing and continue to excite our sport fans. Thanks to our streaming services on multiple devices, we will never forget the day many of our Premium subscribers were watching the Cricket World Cup Final Super Over, Wimbledon Final fifth set tie break, and the Silverstone Formula One Grand Prix all at the same time.
The highlight for most South Africans remains the Rugby World Cup, where our Springboks were crowned champions for the third time. An arrangement with the SABC enabled the final match to be broadcast across the country, as we witnessed a remarkable performance by the victorious Springboks.
In addition, SuperSport was appointed as one of four host broadcasters for the Rugby World Cup, with our team producing 10 of the matches broadcast from Japan to the rest of the world. SuperSport was also the production partner for the globally broadcast tennis match-up between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the Cape Town stadium. Super Hero Sunday, a pre-season rugby competition that features the South African franchises participating in the Super Rugby competition, is conceptualised and produced by SuperSport in partnership with the South African rugby union.