Turner, the consumer centric global media company has revealed an exciting new line up of programming, content and partnerships for its African markets.
Turner operates six channels across Africa’s 54 English, French and Portuguese speaking countries. These include CNN International, Africa’s favourite kids’ channels, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing and Toonami, as well as recently relaunched blockbusters destination, TNT. Not only has this year seen Turner actively evolve its portfolio, but the broadcast giant is trailblazing with the creation of relevant and authentic local content in Africa to expand its footprint, while resonating even further with its local audience.
With the recent launch of TNT, Boomerang’s channel refresh, greater local initiatives through brand partnerships, local productions, local dubbing of content, the launch of Turner content on Showmax and advertising and sponsorship business growth, exciting times lie ahead.
“As Turner, our audience needs are becoming more pertinent and we’re constantly challenging ourselves to be more innovative and creative in our offering to keep attracting and entertaining our loyal fan base, on-air, on-line and for-real. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the best service and high-standard content to our fans,” says Jaime Ondarza, Senior Vice President for Turner Southern Europe & Africa and Chief Executive Officer of Boing SpA.
“We are benefiting from high awareness and a great level of brand recognition with our brands in Africa. CNN International is widely known to be the most trusted source for news and information on the continent while our kids’ channels, Cartoon Network and Boomerang, have been leading and gaining market share within the pay TV kids industry for almost four years in a row,” adds Ondarza.
New General Entertainment Destination: TNT
As part of its ongoing commitment to its fans, Turner Africa launched the modern TNT Africa channel in September with a brand positioning of being the reference for ‘the best American blockbusters’ and in only one month, the channel has seen a 45% boost in ratings*.TNT has an exciting line-up with great blockbusters such as The Illusionist, Crank, Robin Hood, Gladiator, The Island, Jurassic Park and King Kong.
Local Initiatives & Partnerships
Turner has strengthened its footprint in Africa over the past few years, not only with the distribution of global content, but through meaningful and sustainable partnerships with local content creators, talent and distributors as part of its commitment to a localisation strategy based on the cultural differences of the African market.
These initiatives include CN Creative Lab, an African creative competition where the winner and runners up will be given the opportunity to get their project produced as a pilot with Cartoon Network Africa which will premiere in 2019; Pop Up Party season 2, where we see local kids expressing themselves through some incredible dance challenges; the launch of Mike and Rob, a series show-casing two witty microbes making jokes with local reference voiced by local comedian, Trevor Gumbi; and African magic will take center stage in Boomerang’s new exciting local production set to hit screens in 2019.
Local Brand Initiatives
Beyond searching for local talent and producing original African content, Turner has focused on tone of voice, and image, to resonate with its fans, increasing its local collaborations with artists and brand ambassadors such as Toya Delazy, Africa’s very own Powerpuff Girl, and Bafana Bafana’s midfielder, Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, connecting Ben 10 fans to the FIFA World Cup. The campaigns engage with the realities of African children, while also contributing to a greater cause. For example, the PPG Awards, launched in August, celebrate and empower young girls in Africa, offering them a platform to showcase their super-powers. These girls are ordinary little girls, with superhero skills, who have great ideas to change their world. The winners in the fields of Technological Innovation, Social Responsibility and Bravery; and Art and Creativity will each receive $1 500 to help bring their award-winning entry to life with the help of a dedicated mentor.
Forging Connections with Our Audiences
Turner has invested heavily in qualitative market surveys and research to better understand its audiences and provide actionable insights to ensure its brands deliver locally relevant content, as well as packaged tailored experiences. “Plans are underway to produce original digital productions to further localise our online platforms and engage with our fan base. We are currently in discussion to produce an exclusive local version of our YouTuber, Toony, for our African digital platforms. We are also increasingly strengthening our presence on the ground. For the upcoming season we will be activating the Johannesburg Zoo on the 8th and 9th of December and will tour the Kwazulu-Natal coast for ten days with Cartoon Network and Boomerang’s Beach Tour,” says Julien Borde, Head of Channels for Africa.
Content Partnerships & Distribution
Turner has distribution agreements with main African TV platforms in all key regions including pan-African players such as MultiChoice, StarTimes, Orange, SFR/Altice and Canal Overseas, as well as region specific distribution players including mobile streaming services such Black-Cell C and Maroc Telecom. With some entertainment and news channels already available on Cell-C’s OTT service Black, and DStv Catch Up/DStv Now services, digital roll out continues to be a major priority for Turner. Its new distribution deal with African OTT Subscription Video on Demand platform, Showmax, owned by the MultiChoice group, makes Adult Swim accessible to its millennial audience from mid-November.
Rated the #1 cable network in the US for almost a decade, Adult Swim offers an epic mix of animation, stop motion and live action comedy. The service will also have a dedicated kids’ corner with Cartoon Network and Boomerang content.
Furthermore, Turner and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) struck a deal to broadcast Ben 10 in South Africa, enabling Turner to bring one of its most beloved series to a wider audience across South Africa by tapping into the extensive reach of the public broadcaster. Following the first season premiere in July, Turner is excited to engage new fans by re-airing the first season on SABC2 in Afrikaans and SABC 1 in SiSwati later in 2018.
Commenting on this, Guillaume Coffin, VP Head of Commercial and Business Development says, “Partnering with the SABC reflects our strategy to expand our brands’ presence in South Africa. We are thrilled to bring Ben 10 to new fans and audiences across more screens and in new languages. Turner is dedicated to a localisation strategy that adapts to the cultural differences of its African markets. Implemented in recent years, this effort has helped Turner address the gap in locally-relevant content, drive programming that resonates with African audiences, and boost brand value across the continent. This collaboration allows new local audiences to engage in the Cartoon Network brand.”
To further diversify its revenue stream and business offering, Turner has expanded its advertising business in key African markets through the appointment of advertising representatives, Mediamark, in South Africa beginning of 2018, and Greenworld Communications in Nigeria last September. These two partnerships are a strategic move for Turner which will bring its channels’ value to advertisers in Africa. “Our wide portfolio allows us to target a large array of segments from families, to kids, through to young adults; we can offer our client fully integrated advertising offerings from non-linear to linear and on-the ground events. We are aware that clients are looking for fully integrated advertising package which Turner Africa is able to now do in South Africa and Nigeria” says Coffin.
About the Turner Africa Channel Portfolio
Cartoon Network – Expect the Unexpected
More than 20 million Cartoon Network fans in South Africa alone, and many across the continent, can look forward to 325 hours of fresh content, throughout 2019, with 6 exclusive new series and 1 325 new episodes. The 2018 Sunday Times Generation Next Youth Survey gave further credence to Cartoon Network’s popularity in this market, with South African youth giving the channel the thumbs up for ‘Coolest Kids TV Channel’ in South Africa, while retaining its #2 spot in the overall ‘Coolest TV Channel’ category for the third year in a row! Through the channel’s new positioning, “To expect the Unexpected”, fans will be treated to new Cartoon Network originals, Apple and Onion, Craig of the Creek, Summer Camp Island and Victor and Valentino.
Boomerang – Watch. Laugh. Play
Boomerang brings its new positioning, “Watch. Laugh. Play” to life this November with a refreshed on-air look filled with hilarious idents, a vibrant colour palette and a tone of voice! The channel, well-loved by African kids aged four to eight-years-old*, will continue to offer a great line-up of shows from The Tom and Jerry Show, (voted ‘Coolest Animated Brand or Entertainment Characters’ in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2018 Youth Survey) to Grizzy and the Lemmings to The Happos Family and the latest Cyber Group Studios animation production with Taffy launching at the end of the year (World Premiere in Africa).
Boing – Better together
As the fun-filled playground where kids can share great stories with their friends, Boing offers a range of comedy and action shows to local African households across 21 countries. In 2019, the channel will premiere international animation references such as My knight and Me, DC Super Hero Girls and new seasons of The Jungle Bunch and Total Drama Action.
Toonami - The super-heroes destination
Toonami, the home of superheroes, targeting six to 12-year-old children and super-hero fans of all ages, is jam-packed with top-rated adventure and action series. In 2019, the channel will bring all super-heroes fans captivating, high-octane series with Lego DC comics shows series, and legendary slate of super-hero movies like Justice League Universe. Exclusive content, never seen in Africa, will also launch next year with new episodes of Dragon Ball Super and the release of another true anime phenomenon, Inazuma Eleven!
TNT – The American Blockbuster Destination
TCM – Powered by Movies revealed its slick new look in September, immersing audiences in creative and relevant programming specially tailored for African fans. TNT is the culmination of TCM’s move to refresh its brand image and adapt its brand positioning; the channel moved away from its former global positioning in favour of a more bold and appealing positioning of the ‘American blockbuster destination’.