The digital transition is not simply a technical changeover but an opportunity to provide better broadcasting for Africa’s citizens. The best of the continent’s telecoms policy-makers and regulators have been innovative in how they have tackled the issues they have faced. But in an area like broadcasting that is closer to the “powers that be” and potentially more threatening, there has been little sign of much needed innovation. Russell Southwood thinks the time has come to re-examine how public broadcasting works (or perhaps more accurately, doesn’t work) in Africa.
The recent fire damage to Ultima Studios’ in Nigeria (see Broadcast News below) and the 2008 fire in Universal Studios’ video vault underline the importance of holding a back-up and making a proper archive of work. Balancing Act’s Sylvain Beletre looks at what the practice in Africa has been so far and suggests some easy ways to overcome the problem.
The good news regarding Ultima Studios' recent fire is that the chairman confirmed that they carefully save copies of their work.
The African television industry’s dirty little secret is that there are television companies who simply broadcast material that they have recorded off air and which they do not have the rights to. To face up to this challenge of corporate piracy, a number of key African broadcasters came together and have agreed to set up Africa Rights Watch as a way of trying to police these kinds piracy. Russell Southwood spoke to Cherise Barsell of DISCOP about how idea to launch the organisation came about and what it is setting out to achieve.
Last week’s 2nd Broadcast and Film Africa Conference had many topics but one that came through at almost every turn was the need for African broadcasters to understand what it means to differentiate themselves in increasingly crowded markets. Russell Southwood looks at what the best African broadcasters think makes them stand out in a crowd.
According to new research from Balancing Act, over half of Africa’s 52 countries are unlikely to make the 2015 deadline set by the ITU for the transition to digital broadcasting. 29 countries appear to have not yet even started the policy and implementation process and although 2015 is four and half years away, the time remains tight to complete the process. Russell Southwood looks at the scale of the challenge facing the laggards in the field.
In countries that have liberalised their airwaves, radio has become one of the most crowded sectors. Some countries have well over 100 radio stations. The stars of this upsurge have been vernacular radio stations that broadcast in local languages, often on a local or regional basis. In this issue Russell Southwood talks to Mike Daka, founder and Director of Breeze 89.3FM who has managed to carve himself a commercial niche in the Eastern Province of Zambia.
The 1st African Broadcast and Film Conference attracted over 200 participants from across the continent, There was a real buzz in the air as many people within Africa’s broadcast industry met for the first time. This 2nd African Broadcast and Film Conference will take place over two days (28-29 July 2010) in Kenya at the Kenyatta Centre in Nairobi. Key topics include a session on Africa’s newest generation of Free-to-Air and Pay TV Challengers, a look at how broadcasters can generate local content and a look at multi-platform strategies with social networking and blogs.
In the Apartheid years, the prisoners on Robben Island played football to FIFA rules and dreamt of the day when a Black South African Government would invite players from all over world to play. That day has finally arrived and this week we look at the media-build up to the big event that starts this Friday.
After the death of GTV, it looked for a while as if no-one new would dare enter the African Pay TV market. However, a new report from Balancing Act (see Technology and Convergence News below) shows that competition is alive and kicking. Russell Southwood talks to Bjorn Weigel, Deputy CEO of Next Generation Broadcasting, one of the market’s new entrants about why Africa remains a compelling business opportunity for Pay TV operators.
One vital source of income for TV and radio stations is the SMS messages sent in as votes or in response to competitions or questions about programmes. Although the income share of SMS votes on reality TV show programmes are big money earners – sometimes nearly enough to finance the programme – very few media owners have a clear strategy for raising money in this way. Russell Southwood spoke to Charles Etekamba Ekanem, Director of ESJ Interactive, who is hoping to change things in this industry.