The billionaires club with the likes of the Oppenheimers were the first to pledge money for the country, but now entertainment industry mega-corporations like MultiChoice have also stepped up to support the country’s talent.
On Friday the group released a statement acknowledging the MultiChoice Group’s position in Africa’s video entertainment sector, saying it is aware of the challenges their partners in the industry are facing.
In South Africa, production has come to a complete halt as the industry adheres to the national lockdown.
For many years MultiChoice has been the leading investor in local content production. The group has partnerships and long-standing commitments that have grown the industry for the benefit of many, both in front and behind the camera.
MultiChoice has decided to implement several measures aimed at safeguarding the incomes of cast, crew, and creatives as well as the sustainability of production houses. With these measures, the group can hopefully steer the industry through this tough time.
A source at Afrikaans pay-channel kykNET told The Citizen that for now all soaps on the channel were asked to provide at least 30 days of content before the shutdown. This isn’t new, as soaps usually stop production for school holidays and usually have enough footage stockpiled.
So as far as entertainment goes, this will mean that most soaps will continue as usual, since most follow this shooting structure. The public broadcaster follows the same standard, and shows like 7de Laan has around two months of footage pre-recorded.
MultiChoice has set aside R80 million to ensure that current productions are able to pay full salaries of cast, crew, and creatives for March and April. The need to secure salaries for the sector’s creatives goes a long way in creating income stability for them and their families.
There is also a commitment to education. The MultiChoice Talent Factory will be launching an online learning portal that will support over 40,000 members of the TV industry to gain access to courses and online master classes, so they can continue to upskill while adhering to social distancing and isolation regulations.
Another backbone of the industry, freelancers, will also see some rewards.
Multichoice committed to guaranteeing the incomes of freelancers in SuperSport Productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sport and the national lockdown. The guarantee also extends to the income of freelancers in the broadcast technology environment.
Broadcasters are currently seen as essential workers, and they will have permits to travel during the lockdown. News channel workers will be at the frontline in the coming weeks to inform the country about the national status – and if the lockdown is effective in flattening the curve.
(Compiled by Adriaan Roets)