By Adam Wakefield

The 54 on Bath hotel was the venue on Wednesday, 18 January, for the 2017 FOX Africa Showcase. Invited media and guests were given a sneak preview, and an additional show screening, of the varied content FOX is bringing to screens locally and across the continent this year.

Prior to a more detailed introduction of the different programmes coming our way, delivered by FOX Networks Group SA director of sales and marketing Khosi Khanyile, FOX Networks Group Africa general manager Gary Alfonso spoke about what the group hopes to achieve this year.

“I think when it comes to entertainment and media and audiences, I knew I was hooked on this industry when I was 12-years-old, after I started a radio station in a tree house in the small town of Clocolan, but I learned something about audiences very quickly,” Alfonso said.

“Otis Redding didn’t go down well, and so I changed my channel to speak at different times of the day to different people passing in the street. Nothing has changed for me since 1975 as far as trying to make sure we get the right content to the right audiences and build on that as a business model.”

FOX Life launched in October last year, with the FOX channel (Channel 125 on DStv), FOX Life (Channel 126), National Geographic (Channel 181) and Nat Geo Wild (Channel 182) now available across DStv’s Premium, Extra, and Compact ranges. This meant, according to Alonso, FOX Networks Group Africa’s contact was now within the reach of the LSM five to seven groups, and across the pay TV spectrum. The group also has a presence on the Star Sat platform through the likes of Nat Geo Wild and FOX channels.

The group is also moving into the sporting arena, having concluded agreements with the West African Football Union, representing 16 countries, to broadcast local matches, and the World Boxing Association to host African championship boxing.

Much work is also being done on the group’s video-on-demand content, and while Alfonso could not elaborate at this stage, he did intimate that there will be 3 000 hours of premium content available through their trusted platform.

He highlighted the continued success Empire has had with audiences, with the award-winning show renewed for a fourth season. The legendary animated show The Simpsons is now into its 28th season, and international sensation The Walking Dead is just getting into gear with its latest season.

American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson, another Golden Globes Award winner, has proven a success, while other content such as the 12th and final season of Bones is set to start soon.

National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild content Alfonso also touched on included international success Mars – the second most watched show ever on National Geographic – Savage KingdomFacing, and Before The Flood.

It was over to Khanyile to introduce shows coming to your screens this year. On the FOX channel, viewers will see the new 24: Legacy – following in the footsteps of the pioneering 24, with the same real-time format to apply – Bones Season 12, Legion Season 1 – of which invitees were given a special screening – The Walking Dead Season 7B, and The MickSeason 1.

Fox Life will see the Lee Daniels’ Star take to the airwaves, while National Geographic will be graced by content such as Gender RevolutionWater & Power: A California HeistHell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of Isis, an untitled Jane Goodall Project, and the second season of Story of God. An extended teaser of Genius, a dramatised focus on the life of physicist Albert Einstein, was also played, whetting the appetite of those in attendance.

On Nat Geo Wild, Big Cat Month takes place in South Africa in March, with shows Battle for the PrideSoul of the CatUltimate Rivals: Cat v DogStorm Cats, and Return of the Lion will all feature, among other shows.

With all this content on the way this year, the couch seems a good place to be for fans of FOX content, who have the difficulty of choosing what they want to watch.

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