Discop Johannesburg
It is estimated that over US$1-billion worth of broadcasting business was concluded at Discop Joburg and Discop Abidjan in 2016. (Image: Discop Africa)

Co-operative relations between German and South African film and TV makers will receive a major boost at Discop Johannesburg 2017, with the announcement that Germany has been named official Guest Country for the event.

Discop Joburg is sub-Saharan Africa's premiere entertainment content market and co-production forum. Around 2 000 delegates and over 700 companies, including 347 production houses from Africa and the rest of the world, attended the 12th edition of the event in November last year.

The increasing presence of German companies at Discop Joburg has been noticeable, as has the growth in SA-German co-productions since the signing of a film and television co-production treaty between the two countries in 2004.

According to Discop organisers Basic Lead, the naming of Germany as Guest Country for Discop Johannesburg both acknowledges this growth and seeks to build on it, with a special Germany Guest Country programme currently being developed.

Showcasing SA-German TV series projects

Key to this programme will be an initiative to pair television series ideas initiated in South Africa with German producers and content distributors seeking projects that can captivate global audiences.

"With cable networks and streaming services expanding their international footprint and original programming at a dizzying rate, our ambition is to put commercially viable television series projects, co-developed by South Africans and Germans, in front of key creative, production and distribution executives scouting new projects at Discop Johannesburg," Basic Lead CEO and Discop director Patrick Zuchowicki said in a statement last week.

The Germany Guest Country programme will also feature workshops spotlighting Germany and South Africa's well-funded incentive and tax rebate programmes, their excellent infrastructures, combined pool of renowned talent and highly skilled creative and technical crews.

Discop's exhibition floor will include a Germany Pavilion hosting a number of top German production houses, while German captains of industry will be among the international experts invited to discuss the radical changes affecting the entertainment business across Africa at Discop's opening conference.

Germany's Guest Country status will be officially announced at the 2017 European Film Market running alongside the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Discop's Sidebar Program Director, Gert Botes, will be in attendance at the European Film Market's Africa Hub, where he will lead a session discussing the various elements of Sub-Saharan Africa's multi-platform marketplace.

Africa's premiere content markets

Established in 1991 to facilitate sales and track co-production opportunities in fast-rising but complex countries, Discop takes place four times a year: in Dubai (January), Abidjan (May), Istanbul (August) and Johannesburg (October/November).

Central to Discop are its match-making programmes, which bring together buyers and sellers of television content and adaptation rights, and multicultural, independent producers seeking international funding and distribution opportunities.

Discop Abidjan and Johannesburg stand out as the premiere content markets in Francophone and Anglophone Africa respectively. According to Basic Lead's estimates, over US$1-billion worth of broadcasting business was concluded at these events in 2016.

Discop Abidjan and Joburg are aimed at Africa's fast emerging multi-screen and multi-platform marketplace.

"Driven by the tastes, expectations and usage patterns of an extremely young demographic, innovative business models and rapidly rising consumer embracement of cable, satellite, and mobile and streaming pay television services, television content business in Africa continued to show strong year-to-year growth in 2016, generating $1.2-billion in wholesale sales," Basic Lead stated.

This was "twice as much as five years ago, and rising fast as the driving trends behind the continent's long-term growth remain the same despite economic uncertainties".

Source: staff reporter

Contact the Gauteng Film Commission