Zuku sallies east in a venture set to promote Africa’s film industry

Zuku, a Kenya-based digital broadcaster and Internet provider, has announced it will support the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) with a 1 million dollar sponsorship for a period of 10 years.

In a partnership set to promote East Africa’s local creative industries, ZIFF and Zuku say they intend to create employment opportunities for filmmakers, producers and actors throughout the region.

This partnership will also see Zanzibar’s film industry merge well with the digital technology offered by Zuku.

According to Zuku, it will provide $100,000 (KSh8.3 million) each year until 2022.

“As a broadcaster, Zuku is deeply invested in the growth and success of East Africa’s creative and content industries. It is therefore with pride that we enter into this association with ZIFF, which has for the last 15 years been instrumental in celebrating and enabling film making from the region and around the world,” said Ali Mufuruki, Chairman of Wananchi Group, the Zuku owners.

ZIFF’s chairman Mahmoud Thabit said he had been overwhelmed by the high level of confidence in the company’s sponsorship of ZIFF.

“As ZUKU spreads its wings to capture the pay TV market in East and Central Africa, ZIFF will work closely together with ZUKU to develop the film and media entertainment industry,” explained Thabit.

He added that ZIFF is a huge part of African culture and as a proud Zanzibari organisation, the company is pleased to extend the great relationship.

Zuku is the fastest growing pay cable channel in the East African region. Earlier this year, Zuku began producing its own local production for the region. The cable company reports that it has connected over 35,000 users across East Africa.

Apart from cable television, Zuku offers Internet connectivity and voice call services.

Earlier last month, Zuku partnered with South Africa Advertising Award, Loeries to sponsor African and Middle East categories in the award.

The TV service providers plans to penetrate 11 countries across Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Malawi and Somalia. Pay TV penetration in the countries targeted is at present less than 1 percent.

Zuku TV presently offers a range of entertainment channels ranging from news, movies, sports, music and documentary. These include several third party channels such as MTV Base, BBc, MGM Movies, E amd Setanta Sports.

It also offers its own produced channels including Zuku Africa that airs African content, and Zuku Life, that airs documentaries. Others include Zuku Sports and African themed movies.

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