Enriching Lives Through the Power of Entertainment
Collectively, Africa presents one of the fastest growing economies in the world but lags in the necessary capacity to take advantage of the opportunities this presents, with over 20% of the continent’s population not empowered to participate in its growth.
As the continent’s largest video entertainment company, MultiChoice Group (MCG) remains committed to continue playing a significant role in enriching lives and empowering people in the communities in which it operates, by contributing to a stronger, more integrated, and inclusive economy that can deliver growth and benefits for all.
These actions, investments and partnerships have been shared in more detail in the Group’s 2020 Social Report, released today.
“The MultiChoice Group has been rooted in Africa for several decades. We remain deeply invested in the growth and sustainability of the continent, which is demonstrated in every story we tell and every decision we make,” says Calvo Mawela, MCG’s Chief Executive Officer. “This means collaborating with partners across our markets to overcome challenges, empowering communities to change their lives for the better, creating jobs, growing economies and working with entrepreneurs to bring their innovations to life.”
In 2020, the world as we knew it was changed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the economic implications of national lockdowns and stay-at-home campaigns. As a company born and bred in Africa, MCG acted swiftly to lessen the impact of the pandemic on the lives of customers, employees, suppliers, and frontline services.
In South Africa we supplied much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to the value of R28 million ($1.6 million) and contributed R126 million ($7.1 million) to socio-economic development, some of which included the provision of food parcels to the most vulnerable. In the Rest of Africa, we worked with governments and health authorities in countries where we operate to help with the distribution of test kits and PPE to safeguard medical workers. The overall COVID-19 public health support for Rest of Africa was valued at R37 million ($2.1 million).
Supporting the continent’s entertainment industry was a critical focus for us during this difficult time. Production companies as well as freelance actors, producers, directors, camera operators and many others who work behind the scenes to bring us the best in local entertainment, were left vulnerable during the economic standstill. Our R94 million ($5.3 million) relief fund was directed at sustaining those who play a critical role in keeping viewers informed, entertained, and connected throughout this period. We also invested a further R4.5 million ($0.3 million) to sustain six community TV stations in South Africa, who are targeted in their reach and on whom many communities rely for local news.
We have established strong partnerships across the continent to enable job creation and the development of sustainable small businesses in the industry. This was achieved through the provision of funding, mentorship and training, to new and previously disadvantaged business owners in the film, TV, media, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.
As a group, we support a network of accredited installers and independent service providers across Africa. In South Africa specifically, many small, medium and micro businesses depend on the Group’s preferential procurement programme to help them develop and grow. In the past year we spent almost R5 billion ($327 million) specifically for this purpose.
In addition, the Innovation Fund, which was created out of our Enterprise Development Trust (EDT), focuses on assisting entrepreneurs with ground-breaking ideas. The Fund provides selected beneficiaries with access to tools, skills and financial assistance and boasts some impressive statistics in terms of support for the development of small businesses. In the past year, 31 black-owned businesses - 16 of which are owned by women - benefitted from us investing a total of R45 million ($3.0 million) in these new businesses.
As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, investing in the development of local content is what sets us apart. As a group we support creative professionals across the continent by commissioning programming from existing local production companies and helping to establish new ones. Over the past year, we added more than 3 850 hours of local content to our already extensive library and we invested around
R52.6 million ($3.5 million) in the various MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) programmes across the different markets where we operate. These programmes help us to identify, develop and nurture young African creatives and ensure a pipeline of authentic African storytellers for years to come.
As the leading funder of sport in Africa, supporting talent on and off the sports fields is another keen focus area for us. We have a long history of supporting the more popular sporting codes such as football, rugby, tennis, athletics and cricket, while also shining the spotlight on equally important but probably lesser known sports such as wheelchair basketball.
To learn more about all the development programmes and socio-economic investments, as well as the stories of the people who have benefitted from this extensive support, read about it in the Group’s 2020 Social Report at https://www.multichoice.com/enriching-lives.