What the Zacu Entertainment Acquisition Means for Local Cinema | The new times

TWENTY AGO, CANAL+ Group announced the acquisition of ZACU Entertainment, a major player in the production and distribution of content in Rwanda.

This acquisition allows CANAL+ Group to significantly strengthen its audiovisual activities in Rwanda by benefiting from a wide content offer of more than 500 hours of new films and TV series produced per year and a catalog of 700 hours, all in Kinyarwanda. .

Along with production companies PLAN A in Côte d’Ivoire, ROK STUDIOS in Nigeria, the group acquired ZACU Entertainment as part of its ongoing commitment to support audiovisual production on the African continent to deliver quality content that meets the expectations of its subscribers.

Wilson Misago, the founder of Zacu Entertainment, tells The New Times the details of the acquisition and what it means for the local film industry.

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Were you surprised when a Canal+ group approached you for the acquisition of Zacu Entertainment?

I am also an entrepreneur and investor. I believe in my business and have always believed that the business will one day grow to a high level.

Referring to big companies like Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc., they start off as small businesses, but the more investors they attract, the bigger they grow and their value increases accordingly.

At Zacu too, we worked so hard to make him what he is now.

Yes, I was surprised [about the acquisition] but I had the feeling that it is something possible because we have content that exceeds the required hours (500 hours). It’s so contained considering our industry which, I have to say, is still small.

When big investors come to you, you should always be ready in every aspect, from paying taxes to filing financial statements, showing a clear vision of how big a business you are going to be.

This is something that we have presented to other potential investors.

What are the terms of the acquisition of Zacu Entertainment by Canal+ Group?

I cannot divulge information concerning the size of the shares that the shareholders acquired in Zacu but Canal+ Group is our main shareholder because the majority of the shares belong to them.

Does the acquisition change anything about Zacu’s day-to-day operations and structure?

I will remain CEO of the company and the team behind Zacu’s content will not change. I still believe in my team with whom we have worked because with them so much has been achieved.

There will therefore be no change in the current team, we will rather empower the members of the available team. Canal+ is a large group with extensive experience in content production and distribution and I think that’s a good thing for the team as long as they are empowered to meet the necessary standards.

Zacu Entertainment is now part of Canal+ Group but nothing will change in our usual operation. We will simply increase the content that we produce with local film producers, but taking into account better content that we can sell in the international market.

What does the acquisition of Zacu Entertainment mean for you as a filmmaker and for the Rwandan film industry in general?

This is a sign that Rwandan cinema is on the right track and only getting better. It’s a privilege to see a large international company like Canal+ Group take an interest in what you do to the point of opening discussions on the possibility of acquiring your product.

The acquisition requires a long process and is done with diligence. There are so many things an investor expects from a company before investing in it. This is why the company must always be ready.

The acquisition of Zacu Entertainment therefore indicates that the Rwandan film industry is progressing day by day, which I really celebrate.

When you look at where we started, the local cinematic journey has been truly amazing.

As a film entrepreneur, what are you celebrating in this agreement?

I celebrate the progress made by a young Rwandan filmmaker and the efforts of young people to put the Rwandan film industry on the map. When I started investing in cinema, I would never have thought that a large group like Canal+ Group would one day invest in my company.

This milestone is not just about me but the film industry in general as there are other people who have innovative projects for the film industry that have great potential.

I also celebrate the growing audience that Rwandan movies are getting because when you look at how much people enjoy watching local movies, I see society in the next five years getting used to watching Rwandan movies as a culture.

When it comes to content production, content agencies like Canal+ Group set their own standards. What are you going to do to meet their standards?

Via Canal+, a special channel dedicated only to local films produced in Kinyarwanda, will soon launch and start its operations in Rwanda.

Something big has changed in terms of the quality of audiovisual content as we aim to produce content with not only local but also international standards as it is possible that different international Canal+ channels will soon broadcast our films.

Do local producers have the skills and is there equipment that meets the content standards necessary for production on Canal+ channels?

I have no doubt that Rwandan producers have enough skills in producing audiovisual content that caters to the international market. You do not know the Rwandan films produced by local filmmakers who win international awards? They win because they meet international standards.

Yes, there is still a need to improve production skills, but our local producers so far have production skills that meet Canal+ standards.

When you watch Western movies, they don’t have anything better than our local movies.

There have been claims that local movie content for audiences to consume is still limited. With the acquisition, what are you going to do to solve this problem?

Yes, the content is still limited and only a few films are shown on local televisions, but I’m sure we will produce more content for our audience.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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Gladys T. Hensley