COVID-19: MultiChoice Group sets aside R80 million to cater for local content video producers’ salaries


By Duncan Mlanjira

Economic businesses across Africa has been impacted greatly following disruptions that have arisen due to the precautionary measures for Coronavirus (COVID-19) that nations are adhering to and has affected some employees across the the continent.

Realizing the challenges that it’s partners in the industry might be facing following this disease that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared as a pandemic, MultiChoice Group says it has set aside R80 million to ensure that current video entertainment productions are able to pay full salaries of cast, crew, and creatives for the months of March and April.

CEO Calvo Mawela

A statement from MultiChoice Group take cognizance that everyday various sectors across the continent are adjusting and finding ways to deal with challenges brought about by the current pandemic. 

“At this time we would like to stand by them [because] we are seeing disruptions and delays across the continent,” says the statement quoting its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Calvo Mawela.


“Production has been impacted across many countries and production has come to a complete halt in South Africa as the industry adheres to the national lockdown. 

“For many years we have been a leader in the sector, and are a leading investor in local content production. 

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“We have deep-rooted partnerships and long-standing commitments that have grown the industry for the benefit of many, both in front and behind the camera.”

It is for this reason, Mawela continues, that MultiChoice has decided to implement several measures, aimed at safe guarding the incomes of cast, crew, and creatives as well as the sustainability of production houses. 


“With these measures we can hopefully steer the industry through this tumultuous time.”

MultiChoice hopes that by end of April the continent will have the worst of the disruptions behind and the R80 million windfall will go a long way to secure salaries of its creatives in creating income stability for them and their families. 

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“We believe this to be critical for the industry and in our view this is simply the right thing to do.

“Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory, we will be launching an online learning portal that will support over 40,000 members of the industry to gain access to courses and online master classes, so they can continue to hone their craft whilst adhering to the public health measures of social distancing and isolation.”


The video entertainment service provider says it is also committed to guarantee the incomes of freelancers in its SuperSport productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sport and the national lockdown. 

“This extends to guaranteeing the income of freelancers in our broadcast technology environment.

“Our main concern is to ensure as much as possible that we secure the incomes of creatives, cast and crew over this period. We want to ensure that they and their families are not negatively impacted as work has come to a standstill,” says the CEO.

The industry is made up of thousands of freelancers which include actors, producers, directors and camera operators, that leaves Africa’s video entertainment industry particularly vulnerable during this period. 

“These people play a critical role in keeping our viewers and communities informed, entertained and connected. All the whilst contributing significantly to the economy,” Mawela says.

Last week MultiChoice Group announced some adjustments that have been done in observance of the COVID-19 self isolation and quarantine in homes preventive measures.

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To ensure the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, MultiChoice will provide broadened access to credible information in liaison with WHO’s constant health communications by rolling out Africa-wide public service announcements on the pandemic.

The TV entertainment company is not only expanding its content offering for news, but there will also be more kids shows, movies and curated sports content.

Gus Banda MultiChoice Malawi MD

And in light of the disruptions to the school year it is also providing access to the best available educational content, to help keep young minds stimulated and engaged, as said by MultiChoice Malawi CEO Augustine Banda.

Supersport’s live coverage has suffered a impact as a result of sporting federations prioritising safety of players and fans alike and to cover up for this, MultiChoice Group announced it has acquired the best award-winning sport documentaries from around the globe and produced thematic channels for sports fans to relive the greatest sporting moments of all time.

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“A number of sports, film and production crews may not be able to continue working, but customers will be updated of any programme schedules and changes in the coming days and weeks.

“We are taking great care for our staff during this time and have encouraged those that are able to work from home to do so. 

“In light of this we have advised our customers that there may be a delay in our ability to attend to customer queries. However, we have a number of self-service and online platforms available, and we will do our best to sort out any issues they may have, timeously,” Banda had said.

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From last week, MultiChoice included CNN (channel 415), Euronews (channel 414), and brand-new Africa-focused news channel Africanews (channel 417) on DStv Access.

GOtv Max and Plus customers can also keep informed with Africanews (channel 47) before it becomes exclusively available on GOtv Max from Friday 1 May.”

And for the kids, MultiChoice Group is making revision accessible for lessons and edutainment, adding educational channels Da Vinci (DStv 318) and fun programming on Cartoon Network (channel 310) on DStv Access until the end of May to help keep young minds stimulated and engaged.

“It has also opened SuperSport 1 to DStv Compact Plus and Compact which is this thrilling customers with past sport stories that have created some of sports most magical moments. 

And in addition, SuperSport 7 and Select 3 which will showcase Motorsport action are open to DStv Access customers and GOtv Plus customers respectively.