MultiChoice has announced a sizeable investment that it is making in three local community TV stations. The firm explained that it will be giving R1.5 million each to Bay TV (Port Elizabeth), Soweto TV (Johannesburg) and Tshwane TV (Tshwane) in order to help the stations develop new content.

Towards the end of 2019, the MultiChoice Group (MCG) called on community TV stations across the country to submit original content ideas for consideration. MCG says it received many exciting proposals, ranging from locally produced reality shows to docu-series, current affairs programmes and comedy sitcoms.

Each submission was reviewed in terms of originality and audience appeal, but the Group says the proposals from Bay TV, Soweto TV and Tshwane TV stood out and were selected for funding.

“MCG has a long-standing history of supporting South African community channels, including Gau TV, 1KZN TV and Cape Town TV,” the company explained in a press release regarding the investment.

The broadcaster recently provided equipment upgrades to the aforementioned stations, assisting with camera and production training, and providing business training in partnership with Henley Business School for their management teams.

“Through our infrastructure, technology and empowerment initiatives, we empower an entertainment supply chain which, in turn, supports local business and communities touched by our business. For community TV stations, this means more local content which will generate economic opportunities for local communities,” explains Reggy Moalusi, MultiChoice South Africa’s executive head of corporate affairs.

With a myriad industries and businesses struggling to keep afloat currently due to the COVID-19 and extended national lockdown, these investments should also go a long way to ensuring those TV stations can keep going.

To that end, the company also set up an R80 million fund for the local entertainment industry, which will help to pay salaries during March and April.

“MCG’s investment in community TV, and other grass-roots development measures, will go a long way to ensuring the sustainability of the industry and growing the local video entertainment business for those both in front of and behind the camera,” concludes Moalusi.