Multichoice has launched a new training initiative is set to revolutionise the African TV sector, taking industry skills to a new level and boosting the quality of content for audiences across the continent.

The initiative will be a collaborative project between MultiChoice, local television channels in various African territories, and the MultiChoice Talent Factory, the MultiChoice industry-development and training programme.

“Our vision is to upskill production professionals, and to raise the standard of productions right across Africa,” said Fhulufhelo Badugela, MultiChoice Africa CEO, launching the programme expansion. “This will boost Africa’s film and television industry exponentially, because as you capacitate more people, more people are motivated to start projects, and everybody benefits, including the viewers.”

“This is an investment in the future of our industry, and investment goes beyond financial investment it also requires skills, time and a core understanding of the consumer needs,” said Badugela. “But the most immediate impact will be to raise the standard of productions across Africa.”

The programme will consist of online learning courses, masterclasses, and practical training. MultiChoice will partner with local broadcasters to help develop skills in the various territories. It will include certified short courses in critical production skills such as post-production, sound, screenwriting, 3D animation and cinematography.

The programme’s online-learning component enables MultiChoice to reach as many content creators as possible, across the continent, while also allowing working professionals to do courses at their own pace.

The programme will initially reach 300 broadcast workers who are already producing content in their local markets through e-learning. They will then be able to instantly apply their learnings to domestic productions.

“Local broadcasters are the grassroots of the TV industry in every country,” said Badugela. “By building the industry we are enabling local job creation, enabling an industry to contribute to the economy and responding to the ongoing consumer demand for quality local entertainment.”

Masterclasses will be held in person and also broadcast online with local and international industry leaders. The focus is on creating and curating masterclasses that are fit for purpose and meet the needs of each country.

“The people on the programme will gain skills relevant to their own field of expertise – so their knowledge will be immediately applicable,” said Badugela. “We are also able to reach more people by doing the training in-country.”

“We have seen the impact investments can have,” said Badugela “In Zimbabwe, we ran a training programme to support the launch of new local entertainment channels. The standard of the new channels is excellent, and the market has really opened up in terms of the productions being launched and the calibre of Zimbabwe’s filmmakers.”

Badugela said she anticipated the African training initiative leading to more productions, with higher production values, which would boost viewership and the financial viability of the industry – especially in emerging African TV markets.

“Improving the skills of our TV professionals will give audiences more choice and more chance to see themselves reflected in the content they consume,” she said. “It’s about quality African content for African viewers.”