Picture: GETTY IMAGES/NUR PHOTO/JAAP ARRIENS
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/NUR PHOTO/JAAP ARRIENS

Online streaming giant, Netflix, will donate R8.3m in support of the local film and television industry that has been negatively affected by Covid-19. 

SA businesses, except those offering essential services, stopped operations to adhere to the national lockdown imposed by the government to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

During the first part of the lockdown, this issue particularly affected local video production, which had to stop with the exception of broadcast services. This halted many film and television productions, leaving actors and other related professionals out of work for some time. 

On Tuesday, Netflix said it will donate $500,000 (about R8.3m), which will be administered by Tshikululu Social Investments, “who will screen the applications for eligibility as well as disburse the funds to beneficiaries”.

The donation is part of a global effort to assist the industry by Netflix. In March the Silicon Valley company said it had created a $100m fund to help with hardship faced by the creative community. This was recently increased to $150m.

The Covid-19 Film and Television Relief Fund was created in partnership with the SA Screen Federation (Sasfed), and the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO). 

In a statement, Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s lead for African Originals, said it is proud to be working with Sasfed and IPO on the project. “SA crews are vital to Netflix’s success and we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.

Other players, such as pay-TV operator MultiChoice, instituted similar action early on during the lockdown. In March, the company set aside R80m for salaries and wages for professionals working in the production industry, which has been so disrupted.

At the time, the DStv operator said it would also pay freelancers at SuperSport productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sport because of the virus. The group said that contractors at its broadcast technology functions would also be compensated.

gavazam@businesslive.co.za

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