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OTT movers and shakers: Africa and the Middle East

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a six-part overview of the movers and shakers within the global online video space, divided by region. Today, part 3: Over-the-top professionals making waves in Africa and the Middle East. Part 1, covering Asia-Pacific, was published Aug. 16; part 2, listing OTT professionals in western Europe, was made available Aug. 17; and part 3, covering eastern Europe, went live Aug. 18.

This listing is based on independent research, recommendations and suggestions from S&P Global Market Intelligence analysts, as well as recent news coverage and press mentions. This list is by no means exhaustive. It represents our best, educated guesses based on market activities and our experience covering the industry.

Koos Bekker — Naspers chairman

Media mogul and founder of one of Africa's largest mobile operators, MTN Group Ltd., Bekker is credited with transforming Naspers Ltd. from a print-focused media company to a digital powerhouse. Its OTT platform, ShowMax, is available in its home country of South Africa and has expanded to other African markets, including Kenya, and to more than 20 countries outside the region. Locally, users can choose from more than 25,000 movies and series for 99 South African rand per month.

SNL ImageChris Savides, head of Africa at ShowMax
Source: ShowMax

Chris Savides — ShowMax head of Africa

The Naspers subsidiary launched in South Africa in 2015 as the continent's largest subscription video on demand, or SVOD, service. Recognizing the challenges faced by video-streaming services in Africa, ShowMax provides download capability and is considering partnering with local telcos to provide packages geared toward markets with low disposable income.

Jason Njoku — iROKOtv founder and CEO

Njoku is the Nigerian internet entrepreneur behind Nollywood-on-demand platform iROKOtv, which he and Bastian Gotter launched in 2010 to create an online catalog of Nigerian music and movies. Today, the "Netflix Inc. of Africa" is the most broadly distributed Nollywood channel group, with 400 employees and subscribers in more than 100 countries.

Joseph Hundah — Econet Media president and group CEO

Hundah joined Econet as president and CEO of Econet Media Ltd, bringing more than two decades of experience at Modern Times Group, M-Net and Multichoice Nigeria. He oversees the recently established Kwesé TV, a fast-growing pay TV group and a rival of MultiChoice's DStv. The young company has partnered with ESPN to allow the network to exclusively air sports content across 19 African countries. Kwesé is an alleged favorite to win the rights to the English Premier League in 2019.

SNL ImageOSN CEO Martin Stewart
Source: OSN

Martin Stewart — OSN CEO

Stewart joined OSN, a leading Middle Eastern pay TV network and home of OSN Play, the region's first digital platform, in 2016. He was previously CFO at British pay TV giant Sky plc and is CFO of the U.K. Football Association.

Njeri Rionge Hogan — Wananchi Online founder

Rionge Hogan co-founded internet service provider Wananchi Online, which has since evolved into Wananchi Group Holdings, home of internet and pay TV service provider Zuku.

Andre de Wet — iflix head of Africa

De Wet leads iflix's sub-Saharan African division, which opened five offices in four countries and hired more than 80 staff in the last 18 months. The platform recently announced an SVOD partnership with Kwesé TV to bring a new Africa-focused streaming service to the market.

Nader Sobhan — iflix head of the Middle East and North Africa

Sobhan joined iflix as MENA chief in July 2016. The service is now live in eight countries and has a subscriber base of just under 5 million. Sobhan was previously head of planning and business development at Dubai-headquartered media giant MBC Group.

SNL ImageGary Alfonso, head of Fox Networks Group Africa
Source: Fox

Gary Alfonso — Fox Networks Group Africa head

Alfonso joined 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Networks Group Africa as general manager in summer 2016. The media giant plans to launch an SVOD platform in South Africa and produce local content across the region.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi — BeIN chairman and CEO

Al-Khelaifi has overseen the launch of OTT platform BeIN Connect at Qatar-based BeIN.

Fadi Mehio and Carlos Tibi — icflix co-founders

Launched in 2012, icflix is a Dubai-based streaming and VOD platform showcasing Arabic Jazwood content, Bollywood and Hollywood movies and TV series across MENA. Mehio and Tibi opened icflix's office to the U.S., Morocco, the Czech Republic and Egypt.

SNL ImageVodacom CEO Mohamed Shameel Joosub
Source: Vodacom

Mohamed Shameel Joosub — Vodacom CEO

Joosub has led South Africa's Vodacom Group Ltd — home to VOD platform Video Play — since 2012. Today the operator has more than 66.8 million customers across Africa and has amassed more than 80,000 users on its VOD service in South Africa.

Olivier Laouchez — TRACE TV co-founder, chairman and CEO

Trace Partners, a major urban entertainment platform which is 75% owned by Sweden's Modern Times Group, has a reach of 59 million paid subscribers and more than 200 million young viewers across 140 countries. TRACE TV channels are distributed in 160 countries via 220 carriage deals.

Humaid Sahoo Al Suwaidi — E-Vision CEO

Under Al Suwaidi's leadership Etisalat UAE's cable TV service E-Vision has evolved into a Middle Eastern digital media powerhouse, delivering more than 600 TV channels, since it was established in 2000. Now a leading Middle Eastern IPTV provider and the United Arab Emirates' key cable provider, E-Vision had nearly 50,000 subscribers as of the third quarter of 2008.

SNL ImageGraeme Cumming of
MultiChoice
Source: MultiChoice

Graeme Cumming — MultiChoice head of digital media

Cumming's role as digital media chief at one of Africa's largest pay TV operators combines his knowledge of the linear ecosystem with more than 14 years' experience in the online and digital industries.