Local is lekker for Showmax, which received a whopping 45 awards at Safta 2022

Showmax logo. File picture

Showmax logo. File picture

Published Sep 10, 2022


Johannesburg - Local proved to be lekker for Showmax as the local streaming service walked away with a whopping 45 awards at last weekend’s South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

This was more than half of the content prizes given out at this year’s glittering ceremony, which was hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation in honour of creative excellence in the local film and television industry as assessed by the volunteer judges.

Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Video at MultiChoice – which Showmax is part of – was thrilled by the multitude of accolades.

“The Saftas are a wonderful celebration of the South African film industry and serve as an important platform in showcasing our talent and the world-class entertainment industry we have in South Africa,” Phahle told the “Saturday Star” this week.

Yolisa Phahle, the CEO of General Entertainment and Connected Video at MultiChoice. Picture: Supplied

Phahle believes that much of the secret to Showmax’s success is its commitment to hyper-local content that viewers can personally relate to.

“Across the globe, people want to watch stories in their home languages and see characters on screen that they can relate to. Viewers love comedy, sitcoms, soapies, telenovelas, reality and action. What they love even more is seeing these translated onto a familiar backdrop, which is why our investment in hyper-local content continues to work for us.”

She added that strategy is evidenced in their growth numbers.

“The hyper-local knowledge that underpins our strategy for Showmax has seen fantastic growth across our markets. Last financial year, our growth outpaced the market, proving that our strategy is moving us in the right direction.”

Showmax Originals alone won 17 Saftas, the most of any channel or streamer.

“Tali’s Baby Diary” and “Glasshouse” were the two biggest winners at the Saftas overall, with five awards each, tied in first place with Mzansi Magic’s telenovela “DiepCity”.

Showmax’s “Tali’s Baby Diary”. Picture: Supplied

“Tali’s Baby Diary”, which won South Africa’s best comedy at the Saftas, is the sequel to the first-ever Showmax Original, “Tali’s Wedding Diary”, which set a (then) record for the most first-day views on Showmax and was similarly the most awarded comedy at the 2019 Saftas, taking home five prizes, including best comedy.

In “Tali’s Baby Diary”, an unexpected pregnancy forces Tali into a desperate pivot from Insta-influencer to wholesome mom-fluencer.

As Tali, Julia Anastasopoulos (aka SuzelleDIY) won best actress, while Kate Normington won best supporting actress as her mother, Michelle. The series also won for directing (Ari Kruger and Daniel Zimbler) and editing (Richard Starkey and Gordon Midgley).

Phahle explained that Showmax shows like “Tali’s Baby Diary” are uniquely South African stories made for local audiences and packed with cultural nuances, languages and scenarios that resonate with their viewers.

“The comedic brilliance of ‘Tali’s Baby Diary’ lies in characters like Tali, a self-obsessed Joburg princess, that will resonate with anyone who’s spent any time in Sandton,” she said. “Would somebody in the UK understand this character? Maybe not as well, but our local audiences love her and that’s what matters to us.”

Other proudly South African content from the streaming service which won big at the 2022 Saftas was the Showmax film “Glasshouse”, which was the most awarded feature film at this year’s awards.

Showmax’s “Glasshouse”. Picture: Supplied

Meanwhile, kykNET’s “4 Mure” won three Saftas: best TV drama; make-up and hairstyling (Minke Swart); and wardrobe (Mariechen Vosloo). The show is a five-part anthology set in the same hotel room, with the same housekeeper (Lida Botha), but with different stories, characters and genres. Mzansi Magic’s “DiepCity” was the big telenovela winner, winning five awards, including best telenovela and most popular TV soap or telenovela.

IdeaCandy's Showmax Original true crime series “Devilsdorp” was named best made for TV documentary at the Saftas. It follows the spate of brutal “appointment murders” that gripped the town of Krugersdorp in 2016 that left salespeople and consultants terrified to book meetings in case they were the serial killer’s next victims.

Showmax’s “Devilsdorp”. Picture: Supplied

DJ Zinhle’s reality television show on Showmax, “The Unexpected”, won the best soapie reality TV in South Africa.

Phahle explained that MultiChoice is committed to empowering African film-makers to tell hyper-local stories in their own languages, without the need to over-explain, dilute or translate anything for international audiences. And this strategy appears to be working.

“In South Africa, six of the top 10 titles were Showmax Originals in the past year: the psychological thriller ‘DAM’, the true crime docu-series ‘Devilsdorp’, the telenovela ‘The Wife’, and the reality series ‘Uthando Lodumo’, ‘The Real Housewives of Durban’ and ‘Temptation Island South Africa’.

“Our Nigerian and Kenyan charts similarly skewed local, so it’s clear our Showmax audience can’t get enough of local content,” she said.

Phahle believes that streaming services such as Showmax are changing the way people consume content, rather than what they are watching.

“There’s no need to wait for a particular time of day for your favourite show; you can watch what you want when you choose and you aren’t limited to watching content or live sport at home in front of the television, as you can stream on your phone from virtually anywhere,” she said.

She attributes this to the rise of the digital sphere and technological innovations.

“As internet access has improved, it’s becoming ever easier and more affordable to stream.”

Phahle added that Showmax was designed for the African continent, with features that consider issues like the cost of data.

“Showmax was the first streaming service in Africa to make mobile downloads possible for off-line viewing and launch a mobile-only plan.

“We offer the lowest data-streaming options on the continent and accept payments in more local currencies and payment platforms than any other streaming service globally, including rands, naira, Kenyan shillings, Botswana pula, Namibian dollars, euros, pounds, Australian dollar, USD, PayPal, GooglePay, Apple, MTN Mobile Money, Vodacom Store and more.”

Apart from Showmax’s Safta success, the local streaming service already has plans to maintain and improve its content offering.

“We know Showmax offers something different to every other streamer on the market because our home and primary market is Africa,” Phahle said.

Showmax’s “The Wife”. Picture: Supplied

“Everything about Showmax – our content, our approach to data, our payment solutions – is made for local audiences.”

She added that they have their strongest ever slate of Showmax Originals on the way, while Showmax’s Pro plan also sets them apart from the competition.

“Powered by SuperSport, we bring the world’s best football leagues to a continent that is football crazy – including the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, DStv Premier League and every game of the Fifa World Cup 2022 later this year,” she said.

“Looking at international shows and movies, Showmax is the streaming home of HBO in Africa, providing access to shows that are not available anywhere else.”