Uganda is one of Africa’s most liberalised broadcast markets . It has 9 free-to-air television stations, 190 radio stations and several Pay-TV channels. Neverthless most of the TV market is split between three of the major channels : NTV, WBS and UBC. But with many smaller challengers nipping at their heels, it probably won’t be long before this turns into a four-horse race. And that’s even before the transition to digital channels happens. Russell Southwood looks at how the current major players are likely to fare.
Africa’s francophone countries have been slow to liberalise compared to many of their anglophone counterparts but the tide may be turning as events in Senegal seem to show. Its increasingly liberalised media is winning the battle for audiences hands-down and putting very real pressure on the previously well-entrenched state broadcaster. Russell Southwood looks at the latest survey results from Adesr.
Just when it seemed that in terms of television programme sales it was all a one-way street, a French distributor, Thema, has reversed the flow by creating a bouquet of francophone African channels that it has launched through several broadband companies, most recently this month with Free. Russell Southwood spoke to Francois Thiellet, CEO of Thema.
M-Net Electronic Media Network has quietly invested in buying all rights for 450 plus African films which it sees as bringing the rights back to Africa. It will be the distributor for this unique library on its own channels, through other TV stations, in film festivals and on a new VOD streaming service it will launch. Even more radically, it is exploring the feasibility of launching a film channel in francophone Africa. Russell Southwood spoke last week to M-Net’s Head of Sales and African Film Library Acquisition, Mike Dearham.
Africa has taken global programme formats and morphed them into new shapes. One of the latest formats to arrive is VTT Satellite Ghana’s Make Me a Success and its CEO Fathia Ansah-Plonge believes she has got something that is more than simply a copy. Russell Southwood interviewed her about what she hopes to achieve with the new format.
Africa’s first full-blown media market started with a bang last week in Senegal’s Dakar. Over 400 people came to the event to either sell programming or buy it and Dakar’s Pullman Terranga was like an ant-heap as people moved between a seemingly endless succession of meetings. Both large and small distributors were there selling international content but there were also a small number of companies (successfully) selling local African content. Russell Southwood was there and wanted to find out what’s happening in the market.
The two founders of the Africa Channel wanted to “showcase the beauty and promise of Africa” to audiences outside Africa. So they put together a channel that took African material and framed and packaged it in a way that American audiences were used to. It’s not a channel aimed at African diaspora audiences but one aimed squarely at the general viewer. Russell Southwood talks to its President Jacob Arback.
Last Friday Gateway Broadcast Services (GTV’s operating company) announced today that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to liquidate the Company. Its statement blamed “excessive demands on the business” caused by the global financial crisis that “interrupted (its) ability to secure funding on an acceptable timescale and have left us no choice but to cease operations”. Russell Southwood looks at where it all went wrong.