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The Long Road to the World Cup: South Africa finally takes centre stage in the media spotlight

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.

Sweden’s NGB takes the DTT route into both FTA and Pay TV content

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.

Radio and TV stations using SMS messaging to raise money and generate interactivity

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.

Q: What does your SMS Messaging Platform do?

My TV looks set to provide a regional challenge in the African Pay TV market

With the launch of ODM’s Top-TV days away, competition in the Pay TV market in South Africa is set to become more intense as it takes on DStv in its largest market. But below the radar there are several regional challengers squaring up to them in key Sub-Saharan markets. My TV has enough subscribers in Nigeria to lay claim to being a contender. Russell Southwood talked to their CEO Bhajat Mirza about what the company’s got planned.

IDmage offers African film-makers distribution via VOD and pre-paid mobile cinemas

Enrico Chiesa, associate director at IDmage is gearing-up for the launch this year of a new web portal - http://www.africafilms.tv - that will bring African films back on screen...via VOD. He is also pioneering a new way of getting cinema to viewers in a way that will pay back revenues to film-makers. Russell Southwood and Sylvain Beletre spoke to Chiesa about these two path-breaking projects.

With the opening of three new production studios, will Nigeria generate a production ecology with real pulling power?

Outside of South Africa, there is no country on the continent that has a full-service production ecology. This elusive full-service ecology is a mixture of production and post-production facilities, skills and talent that draws film and TV makers like a honey-pot. It may sound ridiculous now but Nigeria has a chance to become a contender for this role with three new production and post-production complexes opening, the latest being Hi-TV’s Paradise Studios which opens this week. Russell Southwood sees which way the wind might blow.

Nigeria: Galaxy’s veteran broadcaster Steve Ojo to launch national Free-To-Air channel with China’s Star TV

The Nigerian broadcasting market is one of the toughest in Africa where there is plenty of competition for tough markets. The pioneer of private broadcasting in Nigeria is Galaxy CEO Steve Ojo who runs a company that encompasses studios and a Nollywood producer and distributor. Russell Southwood spoke to Steve Ojo at DISCOP 3 in Dakar last week.

Q: What’s the range of what your company does?

Producing global TV formats in Nigeria and South Africa – working to a different business model

Rapid Blue produces local versions of global TV formats across the African continent. Its two main markets are Nigeria and South Africa and it has production bases in both countries. In addition, it looks to create new opportunities through creating its own shows. Entertainment television in Africa is changing the traditional business model for broadcast. Russell Southwood looks at what it does and what it says about the future of production in discussion with Rapid Blue’s CEO Duncan Irvine.