DStv's MVCAs and AMVCAs go ahead as Africa's TV industry grapples with possible coronavirus impact

Doctor with face mask (Photo: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Doctor with face mask (Photo: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Cape Town – MultiChoice is continuing with the big productions of the 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards (MVCAs) in South Africa, as well as the 7th Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCAs) in Nigeria.

Both set events are set for 14 March as Africa's TV industry braces for the impact of the coronavirus possibly spreading throughout the continent.

Confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases in Nigeria and South Africa – as well as some other African countries – have resulted in the television and film production industry across the African continent taking a wait-and-see approach.

READ NEXT: SA's first positive case of Covid-19 confirmed.

So far no events or productions have been cancelled or scaled back with the making of television that is a highly social industry, requiring studio audiences and a steady influx of guests and analysts for TV talk and news shows, live audiences for televised award shows, as well as contestants for the flurry of reality series.

MultiChoice that revived both the MVCAs and AMVCAs for 2020 after a year's absence and with both set for the same date of Saturday 14 March in Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa respectively, says next Saturday's live televised award ceremonies are both still a go.

READ NEXT: Multichoice withdraws Sjava's nominations for the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards.

Collectively thousands of people from various countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including TV and film executives, on-screen talent, crew, media and members of the public will converge on the Eko Hotel in Lagos and the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg respectively for the shows.

MultiChoice and M-Net didn't want to speak on the record in response to media enquiries about what additional precautions and changes the pan-African pay-TV operator is making to the organising, production and logistics of the two award shows given the severe issue of the arrival of the novel coronavirus in Africa. 

Providing insight, a MultiChoice representative told Channel24 on Thursday afternoon that the pay-TV service "is monitoring the situation closely and taking it day by day".

Meanwhile, Clover South Africa carried on with a media event this week for the 9th season of the advertiser-funded reality show Tropika Island of Treasure on SABC3, while SABC2 is going ahead with a press screening set for next week of some of the channel's new local TV productions.

For the time being production is also continuing M-Net's latest 8th season of Survivor South Africa entitled Survivor SA: Immunity Island set to film soon for broadcast in September. 

South Africans from across the country are chosen by the production company Afrokaans to fly internationally to an as-yet-undisclosed island to compete in the next season of the local version of the castaway reality show. 

BBC Studios Africa is continuing with a media event and press screening on Saturday of its new documentary series, Seven Worlds, One Planet, coming to BBC Earth (DStv 184) for a gaggle of local and international guests in Muldersdrift where the Ndlovu Youth Choir is set to perform.

While British broadcasters like the BBC and ITV have now started to draw up specific coronavirus plans as the spread of the disease is beginning to disrupt production schedules and media events, there have not been any public statements yet from the likes of the South African public broadcaster or its SABC News division, e.tv or e.tv News and eNCA division, MultiChoice, M-Net or StarSat about what they might be doing differently in light of the virus presence and its spread across the continent.

Multiple American and international broadcasters, as well as streaming services, continue to cancel meetings, media upfront events and media engagements as they also cancel attendance at conferences and festivals. At the same time, some international filming productions are likewise being reconsidered and curtailed.