Amid the challenges brought about by the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, MultiChoice has set aside R80 million to ensure that current productions are able to pay full salaries of cast, crew, and creatives for the months of March and April.
“The need to secure salaries of our creatives goes a long way in creating income stability for them and their families. We believe this to be critical for the industry and in our view simply the right thing to do,” said MultiChoice Group chief executive Calvo Mawela in a statement.
“Our main concern is to ensure as much as possible that we secure the incomes of creatives, cast and crew over this period. We want to ensure that they and their families are not negatively impacted as work has come to a standstill.”
“Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory we will be launching an online learning portal that will support over 40 000 members of the industry to gain access to courses and online master classes, so they can continue to hone their craft whilst adhering to the public health measures of social distancing and isolation.
“Furthermore, we have committed to guarantee the incomes of freelancers in our SuperSport productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sport and the national lockdown. This extends to guaranteeing the income of freelancers in our broadcast technology environment.”
Across the continent businesses and industries are experiencing disruptions and delays.
In South Africa, production has come to a complete halt as the broadcast industry adheres to the national lockdown. For many years MultiChoice has been a leader in the sector and are a leading investor in local content production. The group has deep rooted partnerships and long-standing commitments that have grown the industry for the benefit of many, both in front and behind the camera.
“It is for this reason that MultiChoice has decided to implement several measures, aimed at safe guarding 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 tumultuous time.
“As an industry made up of thousands of freelance actors, producers, directors and camera operators, Africa’s video entertainment industry is particularly vulnerable at this time. These people play a critical role in keeping viewers and communities informed, entertained and connected. All the whilst contributing significantly to the economy.”
Meanwhile, M-Net which is owned by MulitChoice, has launched a new pop-up channel for DStv premium and compact plus subscribers called: M-Net Binge – The Home of HBO.
The pop-up channel will showcase "full seasons of edgy, award-winning series as well as a selection of riveting documentaries and HBO Original films" a statement said on Friday.
The channel will be on DStv 114 and is an atempt at keeping South African's entertained during the 21-day lockdown.
The channel starts on Friday evening at 7pm and will be available seven days a week from 6pm to 6am. The reason given for the odd time slot was "because of the racy nature of the channel and the age restricted material, which is not suitable for daytime viewing".