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Vincent Bolloré is coming to the Media and Culture industry in Africa

(Agence Ecofin) - Vincent Bolloré had already fully entered the media sector in Africa thanks to his majority shares in French group Vivendi, owner of Canal+. Today, he is at the head of both the parent company and the subsidiary.

On 3rd September 2015, Vincent Bolloré thus assumed the chairmanship of the Supervisory Board of Canal+ group. The company has made Africa its priority market. In 2 years, the TV channels editor and distributor has seen the number of subscriptions rise from 700,000 to 1.5 million on the continent. Apart from francophone Africa, its traditional market, it is present on the rest of the continent and even in the Maghreb. The Canal+ offer has got over 200 TV channels many of which are dedicated to Africa, such as A+, but also Novelas TV, the telenovelas channel, Edan which offers cosmopolitan and urban entertainment or Gulli Africa, first kids’ channel created for Africa. Canal+ continues to canvass the market by agreeing to partnerships with local cable content distributors for the distribution of its channels.

By taking over the control of Canal+, the business is clearly stating its intention to invest in the cultural industry in Africa. On 26th September in Conakry-Guinea, the cornerstone of the “Canal Olympia” will be laid, a theatre in the image of the great Olympia of Paris. This theatre will host concerts from artists under the Universal Music label, which belongs to Vivendi. The event will be broadcasted on Canal+, online platform Dailymotion and the African channels of the Canal+ group, including A+.

More theatres will be built in many francophone Africa countries. For Bolloré, this is about developing on the continent the Olympia brand. In June, he even declared: “We want to develop this brand in Africa by building cinema multiplexes or theatres”. Vincent Bolloré was then visiting Vivendi Village in Paris, offices which group together small units like the Olympia.

Bolloré also admitted, African cinema is also a target for him. “I heard Vincent Bolloré say that there were new talents to be found in Africa and it was important to revive African cinema, prevent cinemas from closing, etc. He actually put me in charge of getting an inventory of all existing cinemas, the ones that have been destroyed and the ones which existed. He is surely thinking about developing film activities on the continent”, said Michel Roussin, Mr. Africa in Bolloré. This comes from a meeting held with Point Afrique in June.

That is a program to strengthen the presence of Bolloré in Africa. His group receives a quarter of its revenue from this continent, according to Michel Roussin, in the logistics and transport sector, but also in agriculture and food industries. It should be added that the French magnate has become the majority shareholder of Havas Group, 6th worldwide in the communication sector, firmly established in Africa.