EXCLUSIVE: African entertainment hero Jean du Plessis is back.
The CEO was appointed chairman of Primedia Studios shortly after leaving South African pay-TV M-Net and retiring after a hiatus of nearly 30 years.
Primedia Studios has become part of African content giant Primedia, positioning itself as South Africa's leading production and distribution operator and "the partner of choice for the national and international audiovisual industry."
Du Plessis will oversee the licensing strategy, creation, development, localization and distribution of entertainment programming and content. He will also oversee a "robust succession strategy" to ensure a generation of black leaders reach leadership positions at Primedia.
He will be joined by Primedia Broadcasting's Director of Revenue and CEO, Lindell Xoka, and Showrunner and Project Manager, Victoria Ramapolana. Du Plessis will report directly to Primedia Group CEO Jonathan Proctor.
The move comes as a surprise given that Du Plessis left M-Net, where he oversaw the creative and commercial aspects of the business, running networks and services in sub-Saharan Africa. He is also known for commissioning and developing local versions of formats such as Big Brother, Deal or No Deal , My Kitchen Rules , The Voice , and Idols , and founding the M-Net distribution division.
He has also directed some 70 films for M-Net, many of which have received top ratings on networks such as Mzansi Magic, KykNET and M-Net Movie. Elsewhere, he founded the AfricanFilmLibrary (AFL), which is now one of the largest collections of African films in the world, with more than 1,000 prints.
“Ian is an exceptionally talented professional who will inspire the next generation of young people at our company, as well as the next generation of leaders in our industry,” said Primedia Procter CEO. "Their innovations have created countless opportunities for viewers and advertisers. For Primedia and the rest of the African continent, this will be a defining moment in the development of our industry."
Du Bliss added that he was "sure that international format rights holders, studios and independent companies will share our excitement about the launch of Primedia Studios.
"Our clients and advertisers can count on the best local content, including new and updated formats, as well as specialized marketing support," he added. "Marvel has discovered that there are superheroes in Africa and that Wakanda can be eternal. We want the character and real stories of Africa to permeate everything we do, and we will invest all available resources in the intellectual property that brings these stories to life, taking advantage of With the power and reach of the Primedia Group, Primedia Studios will become the home for high-quality African-inspired content that will resonate with audiences around the world.”
South African companies were still dominated by whites at the top level, so Procter drew attention to the importance of the second component of du Plessis's role. “Our investment in black talent is an integral part of Primedia's strategy,” he said. "Our commitment to transformation is non-negotiable. We have deliberately placed it at the top of our agenda because we know it will benefit not only our people, but also our industry and the continent as a whole."
Following Du's departure from Plessis M-Net, the payments giant consolidated its key management teams under KykNET's channel manager Valdimar Pelser.
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