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Vivendi makes it live venue no10 in Africa

Vivendi has inaugurated its second CanalOlympia in the capital of Togo, Lomé, and its tenth in Africa.

The French media conglomerate – whose subsidiaries include See Tickets, Universal Music Group, ad agency Havas and pay TV operator Canal+ Group –opened its first CanalOlympia venues, which serve as both cinemas and live performance spaces, in Africa in early 2017, with Conakry in Guinea, Douala in Cameron, Niamey in Niger and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso chosen as the initial locations.

There are now CanalOlympia venues in seven west African countries (the ninth venue, a second in Ouagadougou, opened this summer), and Vivendi says each have quickly found a keen audience of local film fans and eventgoers.

“The CanalOlympia venues have become important cultural hubs with the organisation of concerts, most often in association with Universal Music Group, as well as numerous events,” according to the company.

“The CanalOlympia venues have become important cultural hubs”

“For example, Vivendi Sports is organising an official boxing competition as part of the IBO (International Boxing Organisation) world championship being held at the CanalOlympia in Dakar, Senegal, on 20 October. Also, many local businesses often use these venues for private events.”

The venues are designed around a modular 300-seat film theatre, which can be transformed into an open-air stage with an audience capacity of several thousand. They come under the Vivendi Village corporate group, which includes Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets UK and US, Digitick and Paylogic, acquired in April), live event producers Vivendi Talents&Live and Olympia Production, and several music venues and festivals.

Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group in July announced the expansion of its operations in Francophone Africa, including a new office in the Ivory Coast.

 


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Strong showing for ticketing and live in Vivendi’s H1

While most of the column inches dedicated to Vivendi’s H1 2018 results have centred on its plans to sell up to 50% of Universal Music Group “to one or more strategic partners” and not via an IPO, the French conglomerate’s latest financials also underline the strength of its many live businesses, with record festival crowds and a powerful ticketing unit incorporating the recently acquired Paylogic.

Vivendi Village – which includes Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets UK and US, Digitick and Paylogic, acquired in April) live event producers Vivendi Talents&Live and Olympia Production, and several music venues and festivals – turned over €52 million in the first six months of 2018. While that’s a slight decline on the €56m seen in H1 2017, the 2018 figure includes the cost of the acquisitions of Paylogic and ad agency Havas.

Following the Paylogic deal, ticketing accounts for half of Vivendi Village’s revenues, giving Vivendi a “strong and complementary presence in three major markets: it is a leading player in the United Kingdom, it offers significant opportunities for synergies in Continental Europe and it is strongly growing as challenger in the United States”, according to the financial report.

Beyond ticketing, Vivendi’s festivals also saw success in the first half of the year. France’s Les Déferlantes, Brive Festival and Live au Campo – all managed by Vivendi Village – saw their attendance rates grow by 17%, 30% and 15%, respectively, and the company is plotting further expansion in the French festival market with the rumoured acquisition of Garorock and the launch of a new event in Limoges in 2019.

Total live revenues grew 36.7% year on year.

Outside of Europe and North America, meanwhile, a strong performance in Africa, and intentions to expand these operations, has also proved fruitful. An additional CanalOlympia venue was opened on 1 June 2018 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – Vivendi’s second in the city and the ninth in its growing west African live venue/cinema network.

 


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Universal Music Group to expand live music offering in Africa

Universal Music Group (UMG) has this week announced it will be expanding current operations in French-speaking Africa. The move will see a new Universal Music Africa division in Ivory Coast, as well as a significant expansion of live music operations throughout the continent in partnership with parent company Vivendi and CanalOlympia.

The expansion aims to discover new and local music talent in French-speaking Africa and provide support for artists in worldwide endeavours. A statement from UMG says the expansion will “provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.” The team will headed by Moussa Soumbounou, an experienced music industry exec and live promoter.

Olivier Nusse, CEO of Universal Music France comments that the appointment of Soumbounou, “will not only help us to discover and release new talent throughout Africa and other French-speaking markets around the world, but will also increase the creative, commercial, digital and live opportunities available for these artists locally, in France and now globally.”

The expansion will “provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success.”

In recent months, Universal Music Africa has been active in live music scenes across French-speaking Africa. Tours organised include French rapper Niska and Cameroon-born rapper Tenor. Their focus on African live music has also seen them work closely with parent company Vivendi and several of its divisions, including CanalOlympia, Vivendi Village, Canal+ and Havas.

Vivendi has had a sharp focus on developing the ‘live music industry ecosystem’ throughout Africa for some years now. In 2017, the French media conglomerate opened a host of venues across the continent as part of its CanalOlympia network. The media giant reported a ‘dynamic performance’  from its Vivendi Village division in 2017, thanks to a growth in ticketing revenue and more venues opening in West Africa.

Live music throughout Africa continues to grow after a particularly successful few years. As Chin Okeke, of Nigeria’s Gidi Culture Fest explained recently to IQa generation of young, passionate promoters are transforming the market across the continent. Universal Music Africa’s new move aims to further push this success.

 


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Vivendi H1: Ticketing grows as African venue network expands

Vivendi’s ticketing businesses continued to display what the company calls a “dynamic performance” in H1 2017, earning the French media giant €27 million in the first six months of the year.

That’s a 16.5% increase on the same period in 2016, and comes amid strong growth for the company’s Vivendi Village subsidiary – which includes Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets UK, See Tickets US and France’s Digitick); events producers Vivendi Talents&Live, Olympia Production and Festival Production; and Vivendi’s music and entertainment venues – as a whole.

Vivendi Village’s H1 2017 revenues topped €56m – up 7.9% – although EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation) fell to -€9m, from -€4m in H1 2016, due to “investment costs”, according to its latest balance sheets.

These investment costs include opening more venues in Africa: its sixth entertainment and film venue in Senegal launched in May, while two more, in Togo and Benin, are due to open their doors in September.

Recorded-music revenue, from Universal Music Group, climbed 7.8% to €5.44bn – helped along by ‘Despacito’, by UMG Latin America artist Luis Fonsi, which last month became the most-streamed song of all time, clocking up 4.6bn streams in six months.

 


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Vivendi opens host of venues in Africa

Vivendi will open four entertainment venues in Africa throughout January and February that will house cinemas and host music concerts.

The venues are part of Vivendi’s CanalOlympia network of several dozen, including the first to arrive in Cameroon capital Yaoundé last year. There’s more due in Central and West Africa over the course of 2017.

On January 11, CanalOlympia opens its doors in Conakry (Guinea), followed by Douala (Cameroon) on January 18, Niamey (Niger) on February 1 and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) on February 25. The latter opening coincides with the first day of Fespaco, the pan-African cinema and television festival that Vivendi’s Canal+ Group sponsors.

The venues will be first used to screen 18 films per week over six days. Concerts by African and international artists will be booked at a later stage, the organisation of which will be led by Vivendi’s record label, Universal Music Group.

CanalOlympia venues aim to facilitate access to culture and entertainment and stimulate talent development in Africa.

With an indoor capacity of 300, and several thousand outdoors, the premises are energy self-sufficient with solar panels and storage batteries, and are outfitted with state-of-the-art digital projection and sound equipment.

 


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