DISCOP Johannesburg Wraps with Record Attendance


The sixth edition of DISCOP Johannesburg has come to a close with a record 1,506 attendees from 81 countries, including 37 in Sub-Saharan Africa, having participated in the event.

The market wrapped on Friday, October 27, after hosting 283 buyers representing 148 broadcasters, pay-TV operators, streaming and mobile platforms, and other content distribution outlets from Sub-Saharan Africa. Basic Lead reports that non-African content sellers and producers felt more competition from local companies offering content that is more affordable, with improving production values and dubbed versions in English, French, Portuguese and Swahili more readily available. DISCOP Johannesburg 2017 saw a 50-percent increase in the number of companies selling content “Made in Africa” as compared to last year, with many companies from the continent confirming significant deals, according to Basic Lead. National and regional pavilions hosted delegates from Germany, this year’s Guest Country; France; the U.S.; China; Francophone Africa and the Middle East.

The Next Gen conference and workshop program showcased 35 sessions and 82 international speakers. There were two prominent industry pavilions servicing creators and innovators in the digital and animation space: Digital Lab Africa and the African Animation Network. Organizers also spoke about plans to launch two new DISCOP markets, one in Zanzibar and one in Lagos. In an effort to expand DISCOP’s footprint across converging entertainment content sectors, organizers will add to each of the four markets two new conference, knowledge transfer and pitching programs: DISCORE, planned in partnership with ONGAI! and aimed at music industry executives seeking to establish stronger relationships with the film, TV and online content industries; and DISCOMICS, planned in partnership with the African Animation Network and aimed at the animation, video game and comic book publishing industries.

The next edition of DISCOP Johannesburg will take place from November 14 to 16, 2018, at the Sandton Convention Center.

“During these three days, all signs pointed to intensifying competition between distribution platforms hungry for content,” said Sheryl Navarro, DISCOP’s head of customer relations. “For the first time, sellers had more leverage and ended up with better deals. Competition is also growing between global entertainment brands who dominated the marketplace until now, and home-grown content rapidly catching up on quality and cross-border potential.”

DISCOP’s general manager, Patrick Zuchowicki, commented, “In Johannesburg this past week, and in Abidjan a few months ago, a consensus emerged among attendees who stressed the importance of developing stronger regional ties. The industry believes in the ‘regionalization’ of the Sub-Saharan African entertainment marketplace and our plan to have four annual markets by 2019 has been very well received. Until recently, this part of the world was dominated by one or two players. Today, competition is intensifying, with massive investments in internet connectivity, a steady migration to digital terrestrial television and significant smartphone adoption, mobile, digital and online content distribution platforms are challenging previously dominant operators.

“As a consequence, the Sub-Saharan African marketplace is expected to massively grow and become the most dynamic world region for entertainment content business. Studies show that local audiences prefer to be entertained by homegrown content. Therefore, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth in this industry will be driven by one: original, multiplatform entertainment content produced in Africa; two: reinforced trade between Sub-Saharan African countries; and three: intra-regional co-production initiatives.

“The 10,000-plus producers, distributors and programmers expected to comprise the Sub-Saharan African entertainment content industry by then will stay in Africa to develop, acquire, co-produce and distribute homegrown content. To stay relevant in this fast-moving environment, they will need to meet with prospects, production partners, suppliers, existing clients and advertisers as often as possible.”