Two of Senegal’s leading media companies have mounted a legal competition challenge to the French Pay TV company Canal Plus. This is one more shot in the continuing war over access to Pay TV programme rights as markets across Africa continue to liberalise. Newcomers are discovering that it is far from easy to get their hands on premium content as the pioneers have “taken all the land”.
A new report from the Panos Institute of West Africa includes a survey of radio stations in seven West African countries about their use of ICT for reporting, production, transmission and interaction with their listeners. The survey clearly shows the existence of a “two-track” Africa in radio broadcasting with countries like Ghana and Senegal in the “fast track” with others like Niger and Sierra Leone falling well behind. Russell Southwood pulls out the key findings.
Africa’s second wave investment after mobile telephony has kicked off with a commitment from Kenya’s Wananchi to invest over US$100 million in an HFC network in Nairobi and Mombasa to deliver a Triple Play service with plans to also launch in Tanzania. It has put together a range of bouquets including one aimed at Asian viewers and a GTV premium content package. Russell Southwood interviewed the Group’s new CEO Euan Fanell.
The broadcast television market in Nigeria is as complex as the country itself. With an estimated 138 million population, it is more like several countries in one and until recently broadcast television tended to follow this regional pattern. The capital Lagos alone has a staggering 7.1 million potential viewers over the age of seven. It is a cauldron of competition as established private players seek to hold their own against new entrants. Russell Southwood looks at developments in the capital city.
Two recent developments in francophone Africa have set the stage for wider broadcast liberalisation. Firstly, the Ivorian Minister of Communication has received a study recommending opening up the market. Secondly, Africa’s newest Pay TV contender GTV fired its opening shots in the battle to win a significant chunk of subscribers in francophone markets. Russell Southwood looks at what’s happening.
Last week the Government owned Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting issued new contracts for staff at the Gabon-based pan-African radio station Africa N°1 which it took over in 2006. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that a formerly French-owned radio station launched to promote French language and culture has been taken over by the Libyan Government. As with the acquisition of Gabon Telecom, the takeover provided the pretext for employee unrest which took the service off-air for a short time. Russell Southwood tries to make sense of what’s been happening.
Following national and international pressure, Communication Minister, Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, lifted a ban he slammed on Equinoxe Radio and Television and Magic FM in February. The Minister announced the decision during a question and answer plenary at the National Assembly on July 4.While announcing the lift of the ban, Biyiti Bi Essam urged the authorities of the media organs to do well to respect the regulations in force.