By Sebidde Kiryowa
First they said they would create compelling local television content in East Africa. We looked on and they did when they helped produce 56 original films in East Africa in a single year.
Then asked local film producers to submit their content and we ended up watching our stars and programmes like Mariam Ndagire’s Tendo’s Sisters and the Ebonies’ Bibaawo on continental television.
They launched a dedicated Swahili channel for audiences in East Africa and they partnered with SuperSport to build a studio facility in East Africa.
But all the programmes were scattered on the various Africa Magic channels on their bouquet. Now Ugandans can watch their own locally-produced programmes on Maisha Magic, a new East African-focussed and dedicated television channel that continental pay television service provider M-Net launches on September 1.
The Maisha Magic channel will be screened 24/7 on channel 161 across all DStv viewers. It will predominantly be made up of East African content, though the channel will also include some international programming that have resonance with East African audiences, such as Latin American telenovelas, dubbed into English.
Specific programming on the Maisha Magic channel will encompass multiple genres including sitcom, telenovelas, reality, drama and music. Highlights to look out for include comedy shows Mr & Mrs Singh and Mazagazaga and Comedy Club Uganda hosted by Ann Kansiime; the dramas Rush and The Tendo Sisters; the music shows Wakilisha and Beyond the Beat; the Mexican soaps A Love To Remember and Loving You Is All I Wantas well as recent hits such as Konaand Noose of Gold.
The Maisha Magic channel will also be the home for all daily highlight programs from Big Brother Africa 9, plus all the live Sunday eviction shows.
“Our research demonstrated clearly that our audiences want home-grown entertainment, interspersed with very specific kinds of international content, so we’re working on getting that balance right to ensure that this is in fact a channel made in East Africa, for East Africans, to meet East African tastes,” said Michael Ndetei, Regional Director, M-Net East Africa at the launch of the channel in Nairobi recently.
Ugandan and East African talent and stories have proven as compelling as those found anywhere else in Africa. This is a fact proven by the success of East African content at the first two Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.
Now with MNet’s studio fully functioning, the AfricaMagic Original Films Project well underway producing made-for-TV titles and thier flagship show Mashariki Mix well established, Maisha Magic is likely to take Ugandan and East African television content to the next level.
“We have been building steadily on its investment in the East African market, centralized in Kenya but with outreach across the region. We have recognized that whilst the AfricaMagic brand has come to represent a powerful philosophy about pan-African cohesion, there is definitely great potential for a customized East African television brand,” said Michael Ndetei, Regional Director, M-Net East Africa, at the launch of the channel in Nairobi recently.
Further, given that the Maisha Magic channel is East African focussed and will be compiled in East Africa, the major benefit is that its scheduling will be harnessed to maximize the prime-time viewing patterns of Ugandan audiences.
Consequently, on September 24 Africa Magic Swahili will officially become Maisha Magic Swahili. Simultaneously, the Africa Magic Original Films initiative which produced 56 movies in East Africa recently will transform into Maisha Magic Original Films initiative under whose banner a massive 60 more films will be produced before the end of this year.
Ndetei thanked East African filmmakers and producers for their strong support of M-Net intiative to promote local content.
“Our team is focussed on growing the positive relationships we already enjoy with the film, TV and media community across the region; professionals and visionaries who have and are continuing to collaborate with us to establish this exciting new brand.
Together we are emphatically saying that Maisha Magic is here and it is here to stay!”
Ugandan television content gets own channel on DSTV