Dear readers, viewers, contributors and advertisers
The year continued to be dominated by the painfully slow progress of Africa’s transition to digital broadcasting. But much else has happened that brings better news:
DTT - Shuffling to the finish line: As predicted, the majority of African countries did not make the ITU’s June 2015 deadline. Even now, six months later, only a handful of countries have actually finished the transition process.
Nigeria’s signal carrier licensing process is in a mess because too many different interests have had to be satisfied. Nigeria was never going to meet the ITU deadline of June 2015 but legal action by one of the successful bidders means that the whole process will be considerably delayed.
In May 2014, the broadcast regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), issued a tender for a second DTT Network Operator Licence in Nigeria: “Licence to roll-out and operate a national terrestrial broadcasting signal distribution network in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Rwanda’s Tele10 has launched its digital box and app service in Kenya and will soon be rolling it out in Uganda and Rwanda. The platform has been supplied by Net M, which is now a subsidiary of Japanese giant NTT-Docomo. Russell Southwood caught up with Tele 10’s Eugene Nyagahene at AfricaCom this week.
There’s been much talk of telecoms companies entering the African content space but with a few exceptions not much sign of them. However, Hong Kong’s PCCW is not a classic telecoms operator as it already has significant TV holdings in Hong Kong. Russell Southwood caught up with the Head of ONTAPtv.com, Lindsay Servian.
At a press conference held in Paris in early September 2015, Olivier Laouchez, CEO and co-founder of the TRACE group, unveiled the group's strategy and announced the launch of new products, content and services.
TRACE is an entertainment brand that’s now present in 160 countries and specializes in what it calls “urban entertainment”. It’s taken its traditional media channels in pay TV and FM radio and added mobile services and VoD, making it a multi-platform operator.
Those with long memories will remember that South Africa’s digital transition was supposed to have started by the World Cup in 2010. A combination of Government “speed” and industry bickering managed to set the process back by five. This week the signs are that the transition is finally beginning to gather pace.
Signal carrier Sentech has already carried out extensive past testing and so was really waiting for the political go-ahead to start rolling out network coverage. When it switched on, it had 178 DTT transmitters ready for operation
Diasporas are a key audiences for African broadcasters for they create a bridgehead in the international market for their content. However, there are few companies that are focused on several diasporas including those from the Caribbean. This is what the North American company Soundview Africa is doing under the brand name Afrotainment with a global take on Black culture.
Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation Studios has been ploughing a lonely furrow. It has produced two commercially successful, feature length animation films. It now wants to scale up and work with others who want to create African stories for the global market. Russell Southwood spoke to Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish about what Story Lab aims to do and who it’s partnered with to make it happen.