As the Thema Pay TV channels in France have shown, there’s a huge appetite for news from “back home” amongst those living in the global African diaspora. Kenya’s Habari TV hopes to capitalise on this interest by providing streamed news programmes from key African broadcasters. Russell Southwood spoke to Habari TV’s Kelvin Karungu about its plans.
As Africa’s broadcast industry moves from time-based programming to thematic channels, viewers will stop asking “What time’s the news on?” and start saying “What’s my news channel?” Thematic programming also opens up the potential for TV broadcasters to address niche markets in a way that African vernacular radio stations have done in more liberalized markets. One of this new generation of niche TV channels is Ochre Media’s Saffron TV. Russell Southwood spoke last week to Stan Joseph and Alet Bensch of Ochre Media.
The latest national survey from market research company Synovate shows that Internet use in Kenya is beginning to eat into the time devoted to television viewing, particularly in the key 18-24 demographic. The number of Kenyan Internet users continues to grow and this growth is coming from both urban and rural areas. Russell Southwood looks at the latest evidence of change in the media landscape in this bellwether country.
Next week Italian-American filmmaker Franco Sacchi’s This is Nollywood is being shown at the Abuja International Film Festival before coming to the Raindance Film Festival in London in October. Sacchi’s film uses the making of Bond Emeruwa’s film Checkpoint as the core of a look at Nollywood’s actors and producers. Russell Southwood spoke to Franco Sacchi about the money behind the movies, the origins of Nollywood and the desire to raise production standards.
The 1990s saw the phenomenal growth of the mobile sector in Africa turning millions of people into the proud owners of a phone. This growth was made possible by opening Africa's telecoms market to new investment and competition, lowering prices and increasing choice. Broadcasting is about to go through the same cycle only twenty years later, writes Russell Southwood, and Africa's broadcast industry may see the same kind of growth.
IP-TV has crept up slowly on Africa. The pioneers have introduced it without much fanfare. It is an activity that exemplifies the word convergence and is probably one against which the reality of this idea will be judged on the continent. Currently, IP-TV is being offered in a small number of African countries: Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Morocco and Senegal. Others like South Africa are planning to enter the market. The question is: will the pioneers of IP-TV get the arrows and the settlers (who come along later) get the land?
A meeting of the South African Parliament's Communications Portfolio Committee offered the first glimpse of an independent television production sector struggling to assert itself against the old monopoly ways. With the exception of Nigeria, where they nearly always do things differently, Africa's independent television producers have almost no space in which to earn a living. Russell Southwood seeks to explain why this matter for the development of broadcasting on the continent.