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Kenya’s KTN inks deal with BBC

By Dominic Omondi | Updated Tue, March 14th 2017 at 08:30 GMT +3

Standard Group’s Kenya Television Network (KTN) has entered into an agreement with the UK’s BBC Worldwide. Under the deal, KTN will licence content from the commercial arm of the British broadcaster.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for the television industry in Africa. There’s an insatiable appetite for top-tier programmes, and BBC Worldwide content, in particular our drama series, are cutting through the wealth of content available and being recognised as some of the most popular shows across the continent,” said Joel Churcher, the vice president and general manager for Africa at BBC Worldwide.

KTN has licensed fantasy-drama series Atlantis and action-adventure show Sinbad.

Speaking during a BBC Worldwide Showcase in Liverpool, UK, Mr Churcher said his firm would continue working directly with free-to-air channels like KTN to get more shows into East Africa.

“Showcase will be pivotal for us as a business to capitalise on the influx of popularity for our content and formats, and deliver it to an even bigger audience in 2017.”

Churcher added that BBC Worldwide hosted three new buyers from Africa this year – subscription video on demand (SVoD) service Iflix that operates across the continent, free-to-air channel NET2 TV in Ghana, and payTV platform Econet Media Group.

“Each of them will get to see the very best of our new content for 2017 and also some of the best programmes in our back catalogue,” Churcher said

Besides KTN, other local free-to-air channels that have bought BBC’s programmes include Mediamax Network, which licensed Big Cat Diaries for its Kameme TV channel. The show will be dubbed in Kikuyu.

The BBC Worldwide Showcase event sold more than 800 hours of British television programming to several broadcasters and platforms throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Across digital, pay TV and free-to-air platforms, British drama has been BBC’s driver, with Luther, Ripper Street and Call the Midwife being most in demand.

In the past four months, BBC Worldwide has secured some of its biggest television sales deals in Africa, with SVoD platform ShowMax purchasing in excess of 250 hours of programming.