BBC Worldwide strikes Africa SVOD deal

Digital-headerlutherBBC Worldwide has sold a raft of programmes including Top Gear and Luther to African Netflix rival iflix.

The deal, the first between the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster and the African streaming service, covers 150 hours of UK programming.

As well as popular motoring format Top Gear and Idris Elba cop series Luther, there are titles including BBC comedy Citizen Khan.

Iflix is already in Asia and is about to roll out its SVOD service across sub-Saharan Africa, taking on the global and local streaming players.

Joel_ChurcherJoel Churcher, vice president and general manager for Africa, BBC Worldwide, told TBI about the SVOD deal while in Cannes for MIPTV. “It’s our first deal with iflix and comes ahead of their launch and covers drama, fact-ent and comedy,” he said. “Africans want choice and there is an appetite for international, as well as local, content.”

Worldwide has sealed a raft of other programming deals in Africa, Churcher said.

It has also licensed a 250-hour drama package to regional mobile operators VodaCom and MTN that includes iconic sci fi series Doctor Who and BBC drama Call the Midwife. The deal spans 11 territories in Africa including Nigeria and South Africa. The iflix deal does not, meanwhile, cover South Africa.

“It’s a really exciting time to be doing business in Africa,” said Churcher, who  runs regional programming and channel distribution from Johannesburg. “The demand for premium British content and formats across the African Continent is vast and is why we have partnered with local companies like Rapid Blue.

“We want to ensure that at BBC Worldwide, we not only distribute the very best but we also create and support the very best local content to ensure that Africa stays front of mind globally in broadcasting.”