Gerald Langiri
November 08 / 2012

Zuku is the consumer brand of the Wananchi Group and offers home entertainment services in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.They aim to make affordable, high quality home entertainment available to a rapidly growing, choice conscious and underserved East African middle class. They have numerous of channels like Zuku Africa, Zuku Life, Zuku Movies Max, Zuku Sports etc which bring you programs like Mentality, Hyped East Africa, Afro Fuse, Tales from the bush ladder. The prorgams range from cooking shows to dramas to movies to sports etc.

If you are a producer/film maker out there trying to get your content on local television and have failed, how about trying Zuku who are also looking for content to serve their many channels.

Here is what zuku looks for in the kind of content that you have to submit to them and the approach and processes involved in a nutshell:


• Concept originality
• Regional (Universal) appeal
• Resonance with targeted audience
• Exportability to other buyers
• Long shelf life
• High production values
• Program appeal to channel profile
• Unique buying and selling points

They have three main approaches when it comes to sourcing for content:

• Involves paying an agreed fee for an already produced and ready to air program
• It is determined by their program requirements, territory, history and demand
• Producer undertakes all costs and aims to recover the cost from distribution
• They buy limited runs for a period of time, for a specified territory
• Allows producer to redistribute the program to other buyers after the expiry of their agreement
• Intellectual copyright remains with the producer 
        Licensing process

1. Producer/content owner approaches Zuku with a copy of a ready-to-air program and proposal

2. They review the submissions in line with the above requirements, and accept or decline

***If declined they inform the producer why the program has been declined via email, phone or face-to-face

3. If the program meets at least 80% of the requirements, they propose changes to be made

4. If the producer is in agreement with the proposed changes, they issue an offer

5. Negotiations around license fee, number of runs, territories, etc begins

6. A contract is then issued 

• They issue a brief to the industry with the objective of developing their own content
• Alternatively, producer can sell their concept to them for consideration to develop the content
• Cost of production is fully funded by us
• We own the Intellectual Property rights
            Commissioning process

1. They issue a brief to the industry that states the specific requirements for commissioning

2. Proposals are submitted by the producers as per the proposed deadline

***Proposals submitted after the deadline are disqualified

3. They review the submissions and shortlist proposals based on their eligibility and viability

4. Producers are then invited via email or phone to a pitching session in front of a selected panel

***Rejected proposals are informed

5. Producer (s) of the selected proposal are informed and discussions begin around development of the program

***Rejected proposals are also informed

6. A contract is then issued

3.Co-production (in exceptional cases)
• Involves where a producer has a concept and is seeking partial funding for production
• Partial funding could be a 50-50 share for the production cost or could be higher/lower for us
• Producer should be willing to meet at least 50% of the proposed production costs
• Background Intellectual Property rights remain with the producer, i.e. concept, trademark, etc
• They jointly share the foreground IP rights, i.e. distribution rights, sponsorship and/or advertising costs as agreed by both parties
    Co-production process

1. Producer submits a concept and proposal to them with their terms of requirements

2. They review the proposal and in line with their requirements, they accept or decline

***If declined they inform the producer why the program has been declined via email, phone or face-to-face

3. If the program meets the requirements, they discuss terms of engagement, i.e. concept, budget, distribution, sponsorships, etc

4. If they reach an agreement on the above terms, they draw up a contract

5. Joint development process begins as per the agreed terms


Zuku also aggregates and distribute content, mainly East African content, African content. They mainly distribute to regional and international broadcasters with african broadcasters being the largest consumers.


• Involves sourcing for already produced programs and ready-to-air from independent producers and/or broadcasting stations
• Discuss with content owners on terms of distribution, e.g. open territories, distribution fee (60% owner; 40% distributor)
• Producers undertake the cost to deliver the content in the required format as per the buyers specifications, i.e. DVD, Mini DV
• Delivery and/shipping costs to the buyer are undertaken by ZUKU at no additional charge to the content owner
• They monitor usage of the distributed content

1. Producer/content owner approaches ZUKU with a copy of a ready-to-air program for distribution

***They also seek out producers and approach them for distribution of their content

2. They review the content in line with their requirements, and accept or decline the content

***If declined they inform the producer why the program has been declined via email, phone or face-to-face

3. If the program meets the requirements, they issue an offer for distribution. If the program meets at least 80% of the requirements, they propose changes to be made

4. If the producer is in agreement with the proposed changes, they discuss terms of distribution and delivery

5. A contract is then issued (if there was none yet)


Africa: The largest consumer of locally produced content from Africa. West Africa has expressed much interest for East African content, e.g. My TV, TV4Africa, Viasat 1

Europe: African content has drawn quite a huge interest from European broadcasters and online distributors, e.g. Viasat, CFI, UK Black channel

America: Due to the high influx of Africans in the Diaspora, demand for African content is steadily growing through online distribution.


  • Buyer and Seller Markets: Markets such as DISCOP, MIPCOM have a high level of available content
  • Festivals: Coast Film Festival, ZIFF are good places to engage directly with producers/content owners
  • Broadcasters: Established relationships with regional and international broadcasters for direct sales 
  • Producer Forums: Hosting industry forums so as to engage producers and content owners
  • Direct Approach: Content owners that may have programs that we would like to distribute


The benefits to the producer are much aligned with the program requirements presented, e.g.

1. Regional (universal) appeal provides a wide range of distribution possibilities

2. Long Shelf Life means the program can be distributed for a long period of time

3. Concept originality means the format/concept can be sold to interested buyers, e.g. Bush Larder

4. Unique buying and selling points means that the program can be distributed in different formats, e.g. webisodes, linear, etc

***All the above with a view to give the producer a return on investment and exposure in different territories    

Courtesy of the filmmakers forum held by Zuku on 3rd October 2012 at Pride Inn Hotel.

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