Lagardère lays out African content business

Leading French production group Lagardère Entertainment is building out the structure of its new African content business.

The company, which claims it produced 1,200 programming hours in 2014, began working on a production and distribution business, Lagardère Entertainment Africa, last autumn.

The Paris- and Senegal-based operation is set to take a stake in an unnamed light entertainment-focused indie based in Abidjan, having already bought a majority share of drama prodco Keewu.

Run by Alexandre Rideau in Dakar, Keewu is currently developing a police series, Habib and Sosso, with another Parisian Lagardère company, GMT. The series is based on books from Malian writer Moussa Konaté, and will broadcast on Canal+ Overseas and A+, which is Canal+’s African channel.

A+ and TV5 have also co-commissioned another series, the 13x36mins C’est La Vie. The deal is for two seasons.

Furthermore, Lagardère Entertainment Africa has scored a deal with All3Media International for the African format rights to Gogglebox, Are You Normal?, Cash at Your Door and Cash Cab. The unnamed entertainment specialist will work the shows up for local channels.

Meanwhile, Lagardère is currently building a slate for distribution subsidiary Diffa, which sells programming to African channels. It currently has programming form 24 African companies and around 600 hours in the catalogue.

“We aim at giving independent African production outfits the means to [grow] their development and generate revenues from their catalogues as a way to finance future programmes,” said Lagardère Entertainment’s CEOS Takis Candilis.

This all comes as growth in the African content market is expected to explode, with around 850 DTT channels in 54 territories are set to be in operation by 2020.

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