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Viceland to Launch In Africa on Kwesé Network

Variety logo Variety 1/16/2017 Nick Vivarelli
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ROME – Viceland will launch across sub-Saharan Africa through an exclusive partnership with Kwesé, the multi-platform network operated by African telecom and pay-TV operator Econet.

The tie-up with Econet, which operates on the “TV Everywhere” model in which subscribers access content through multiple devices, marks a key step in the expansion of Vice Media’s global lifestyle and culture channel.

It will bring Viceland’s flagship shows, including “Huang’s World,” Noisey,” “States of Undress” and “Black Market,” to African audiences on Kwesé’s multi-platform offering, most significantly via Africa’s burgeoning mobile market, which has huge potential.

Viceland content will be accessible across sub-Saharan Africa on pay TV and Catch Up, as well as Kwesé’s official app available on Android and iOS.

Viceland Co-President Spike Jonze and Eddy Moretti, who is Vice’s chief creative officer, will oversee the channel’s development.

“The launch of Viceland in Africa marks the start of what’s undoubtedly going to be a landmark year for the channel internationally,” Viceland International President James Rosenstock said in a statement. “The linear and multi-platform nature of this deal with Kwesé emphasizes our continued vision of ensuring viewers are given access to our programming 24 hours a day, across all screens.”

Since launching in the U.S. and Canada in February 2016, Viceland has rapidly expanded its footprint to the U.K., Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. According to a recent PwC report, Africa is the region with the world’s highest digital media revenue growth rate. That growth is estimated at 18.6% between 2016 and 2020, mostly driven by mobile platforms.

The statement said Africa is the latest in several expected international deals that aim to make Viceland content available as multi-screen programming for viewers in 51 territories.

“Viceland is a channel enjoyed by many across the globe and we are happy to be the first TV network to introduce it to the African market,” said Joseph Hundah, President and Chief Executive Officer, Econet Media, in the statement. He added that the “partnership is a natural fit for Kwesé because our target audiences include the urban youth,” which the channel is conceived for.

Kwesé, which started out as a sports network and partnered with ESPN in Africa last year, is in the process of branching out into general entertainment. They recently signed content agreements with big players FremantleMedia and Red Arrow and carriage deals with several channels, including Discovery Network and French music video channel Trace.

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