Issue no. 111; 16 August 2011

top story

  • It’s official. The Swedish-owned DTT Pay TV operator NGB which runs the Smart TV brand seems to have quietly slipped out of Africa, having offloaded off its three existing operations. Russell Southwood rakes over the still glowing embers from this week’s news.

    “The Sixth Swedish Pension Fund (AP6), investors in NGB Africa have decided to refocus their Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) investment plan from Africa," NGB said in a statement on Friday, 5 August 2011.

    When interviewed by us about their investors commitment to the continent in May 2010 it said that its main investor was a Swedish pension fund and this gave it an advantage in terms of timetable and return:”They will take a 5 year rather than a 1 year view. We’re here to create a sustainable business. We’re hiring local people and operating where we set up out of local offices. We’re not in a hurry. It will happen in Africa and it will be huge. We think that we can grab a huge share.”

    Next Generation Broadcasting Kenya Ltd is now wholly Kenyan owned under a new firm known as Transmex Kenya Ltd whose chairman is Mohammed Nyaoga, a Nairobi-based lawyer.

    However, Next Generation Broadcasting Kenya Ltd CEO Daniel Kagwe said,"We have not closed, Smart TV is in business and the company is now Kenyan owned. The Swedish investors left to concentrate in other markets such as China and South America." According to a report in The Nation, sources said it found Kenya a 'frustrating business environment'.

    NGB had been taken to Court by six Free To Air operators who were unhappy that it was using their programmes as part of its DTT bouquet. They felt that NGB should have sought permission and paid a fee. Later the court ruled that there was no irregularity in the process and gave NGB a go-ahead to continue with operations. It had partnered with state broadcaster KBC to offer its pay TV channels.

    CEO of Smart TV Uganda, Martin Abuya said the transfer of NGB's shares to local company Digital Broadcasting is good news because it will give the local company a chance to improve what has already been accomplished. "This is good for Ugandan producers because on top of what we already have, we now have enough space for local content and are reaching new areas," Abuya said.

    NGB's exit from Uganda came hardly a week after NGB Uganda commissioned two 2 kilowatt transmitters to boost Smart TV's signal. "Our signal can now be accessed within a radius of over 80km." The transmitters are also designed to improve the station's quality of pictures and carry more channels besides the increase on the area of coverage. One of the two transmitters is dedicated to carry all free to air stations in Uganda, while the second will deliver international channels, according to Abuya.

    In Ghana, it transferred its business to local operator Skyy TV which already has a licence to operate DTT, after the regulator NCC forced it and its local partner state broadcaster GBC from broadcasting.

    It has been outgunned on its strategy of working with local incumbent state broadcasters as a way into the market by China’s Star Times which seems to have tied up more of these arrangements and got more subscribers, even though its bouquet was perhaps less impressive.

    The degree of competition in the Pay TV market is perhaps best illustrated by the roll call of providers in Uganda, by no means one of the largest markets. In addition to the locally owned NGB company, there are now: Wananchi’s Zuku, MultiChoice Uganda (DStv), Star DTV (StarTimes), Pearl Digital Tv, MoTv, and Kampala Siti Cable. Nevertheless, across the continent DStv remains the one to beat.


    Video clips that might interest you on Balancing Act’s Web TV channel

    What Kenyans watch on TV: Joe Otin, Media Research and Monitoring Manager, Synovate
     
    Joe Otin, Media Research and Monitoring Director, Synovate on the Portable People Meter
     
    Wachira Waruru, CEO, Royal Media on using local content to become No 1
     
    Farah Chaudhry, Hd of Marketing, A24 Media on the launch of Africa: What's Your Story?

    Douglas Namale, Kibera News Network on community news gathering and online TV

    Patrick Shomba, CEO, Ghetto Films on using film as an educational tool
     
    Dayo Ogunyemi, CEO, Cinemart on the launch of a new mass market cinema chain

    Shalini Gidoomal on the FilmAid Film Festival, Nairobi

    Shuaib Nda Adama, Executive Director, NTA on the digital broadcast transition in Nigeria

    Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr



    23 – 24 August 2011- The Mobile Entertainment Africa conference

    For those wanting to understand how mobile phones have become the new media for African broadcast, the upcoming Mobile Entertainment Africa conference is a good opportunity to find out.

    From the team behind the Mobile Web in Africa series of events comes Mobile Entertainment Africa.  The event will take place August 23rd to 24th at the 5 star One&Only Resort Hotel in Cape Town and will give attendees the opportunity to gain and exchange knowledge and expertise regarding maximising the entertainment opportunity on handheld devices in Africa.

    The conference will utilise the acclaimed Interactive Roundtable Seating Format, which creates superb levels of interaction, discussions and enhances attendees’ on the day experience and conference outputs.

    Key contributors include Emma Kaye (Bozza), Aryan Kaganof (Director of SMS Sugar Man), Mark Rayner (DStv Mobile), Candice Goodman (Mobitainment), Musa Kalenga (IHOP World), Richard Morgan-Grenville (Supa Strikas), Nevo Hadas, (/dev/null), Jon Hoelher (Starfish Mobile), Brett Loubser (Samsung), Fela Oke (Goldrush Entertainment), Wesley Lynch (Realmdigital), Russell Southwood (Balancing Act), Isis Nyong’o (InMobi), Toby Shapshak (Stuff Magazine), Karen Liebenberg (Digital Music Specialist), Justin Spratt (Quirk), Mark Kaigwa (Afrinnovator), Vincent Maher (Motribe), Honey Onile-Ere (Independent Entertainment Professional), Tim Bishop (Prezence) and Obi Asika (Storm360).

    For more information on Mobile Entertainment Africa, including the latest news and updates, visit here:  or send an email to info@allamber.co.uk.  Ticket subsidies are available for mobile start-ups and developers.

    Venue: “One&Only Resort Hotel”, Cape Town, South Africa
    From the team behind the Mobile Web in Africa series of events comes Mobile Entertainment Africa.  The event will give attendees the opportunity to gain and exchange knowledge and expertise regarding maximising the entertainment opportunity on handheld devices in Africa.
    For more visit the website here:

more

  • July - Sept. 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC
    NYC, USA

    Outdoor Summer Screenings in NYC Parks. Featuring dance, music, food and of course films. AFF programs year-round; therefore, AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    For more information please visit here:

    21 – 24 August 2011
    The 13th PAMRO meeting and All Africa Media Research Conference
    Dakar, Senegal at the Le Méridien President Hotel.

    For more information please visit here:

    23 -24 August, 2011
    Mobile Entertainment Africa
    Cape Town, South Africa

    From the team behind the Mobile Web in Africa series of events comes Mobile Entertainment Africa. Aiming to create a fantastic annual event which showcases the very latest information relating to maximising the entertainment opportunities on handheld devices, both from within Africa and further afield. Ticket subsidies are available for mobile start-ups and developers. For more information on Mobile Entertainment Africa, including the latest news and updates, visit here: or send an email to info@allamber.co.uk. 

    27 August - 4 September 2011 (final date tba)
    Zimbabwe International Film Festival

    Competitive for features, shorts, documentary with 12 ‘Mweya Awards’ in different categories.
    zimfilmfest@zol.co.zw

    31 August - 10 September 2011
    Mostra de Venise

    Tel: [+39] 041 5218706
    Fax: [+39] 041 5218879
    For more information please visit here:
    indoffice@labiennale.org

    11 - 14 Septembre 2011
    HighwayAfrica 2011
    Rhodes Uni., Grahamstown, SA.

    A show focused on journalism and new multimedia. For fourteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world. For more information please visit here:

    3 - 8 Octobre 2011
    « Festival du Court Métrage Méditerranéen de Tanger »
    Tangier, Morocco

    A festival focused on short films.
    E-mail : ccm@menara.ma


    5 - 9 October 2011
    Africa in the Picture
    Bioscoop het Ketelhuis in Amsterdam, NL

    Tel:[+31] 20 622 7 151
    Fax:[+31] 20 627 15 44
    For more information please visit here:
    info@aitp.nl

    20 - 22 October 2011
    ZAFAA 2011 - The Zulu African Film Academy Awards
    London, UK

    Closing Date for Entries is Friday May 20th 2011.
    African Film Festival & Academy Awards
    For more information please visit here:

    21 - 29 October 2011
    Cinemed (« le Festival du cinéma méditerranéen »)
    Montpellier - France

    Tel. +33 (0) 499 13 73 73
    Fax +33 (0) 499 13 73 74
    info@cinemed.tm.fr
    Deadline: 8 July 2011
    For more information please visit here:

    21 - 30 October 2011 (tbc)
    Kenya International Film Festival (KIFF)
    Nairobi, Kenya

    Tel:[+254] 2 201 05 26
    Fax:[+254] 722 897 216
    For more information please visit here:

    25-28 October 2011
    CDN WORLD SUMMIT 2011
    Hilton Paddington Hotel, London

    The 3rd annual CDN World Summit promises to be the largest and most comprehensive CDN event ever. We are pleased to announce our partnership with BT Wholesale as the host operator and those already confirmed to the stellar line up which will include over 80 speakers.The full value chain is represented including content providers, broadcast operators, traditional and telco CDNs, represented by industry leaders such as; FilmFlex Movies, BT Wholesale and AT&T.
    For more information please visit here:

    26 - 31 October 2011
    Annual Tricontinental Human Rights Film Festival

    Muizenberg, Cape Town, 7945 – South Africa
    Tel: [+27] 21 788 5462 - Fax: [+27] 21 788 5469
    For more information please visit here:

    29 October - 6 November 2011
    Festival Amakula Kampala
    Uganda, Kampala

    Tel: [+256] 41 427 35 32
    For more information please visit here:
    info@amakula.com

    27 October – 6 November 2011
    Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival
    Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema

    The UK's largest African Film Festival
    For more information please visit here:

    31 October - 7 November 2011
    Out In Africa
    South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Venue: various, see website

    For more information please visit here:

    25 November - 4- December of 2011

    International Film Schools Festival  - 34es « Rencontres Henri Langlois »
    TAP, Poitiers, France

    The Festival organiser invites African film students to join is. The Festival gathers about 15000 participants and about 100 professionals. A trade market is held on the side (includes CineSud).
    For more information please visit here:

    30 November - 3 December 2011
    MYCONTENT,
    4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Dubai
    MYCONTENT - Is dedicated to the Middle East & North Africa. It is MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace which will be held in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    For more information please visit here:

    4-5 July 2012

    Broadcast & Film Africa
    Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    The conference provides the platform for industry leaders shaping broadcast and film industries to share their knowledge and perspectives with peers from throughout the region. The exhibition provides manufacturers and dealers the opportunity to showcase their latest products and services and connect with the decision-makers in the African broadcast and film-making markets. For the conference Call for Papers log on to the organiser’s website here:and to book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

  • The Angolan Ministry of Mass Media has appointed a Managing Commission for the Anibal de Melo Press Centre (CIAM), according to ANGOP.

content

  • Plans are underway to shoot the fourth Mad Max film 'Fury Road' in Namibia instead of Australia. By Brendan Swift It is understood that equipment and crew are currently preparing to move offshore and Namibia is touted as the most likely destination according to sources.

    IF magazine had spent the past week attempting to confirm the ongoing rumours directly with Dr D Studios, the company's head of production, Brett Feeney, and director George Miller, via his assistant.

    Instead, Miller spoke to the SMH after Broken Hill mayor Wincen Cuy confirmed that the production would not shoot in Broken Hill in a report published on the ABC website. The production had already paid for a two-year lease on Station B at the newly-constructed Broken Hill Studios last December, as well as an option for a third year.

    The production was close to filming in Namibia in 2003 before the first Iraq War scuttled production plans. But the project was officially revived in October 2009 when director George Miller announced that pre-production was again well underway – this time with New South Wales providing the locations.

    However, delays have continued to plague the film, which was originally set to shoot last year. Miller has blamed unseasonal weather in Broken Hill, which has turned the post-apocalyptic desert landscape into lush greenery. “It’s not as green as it was, but it’s not as desolate as the filmmakers would like,” Broken Hill mayor Wincen Cuy said.

    Miller and the team are currently in the throes of finishing Happy Feet 2, which is due to be released on December 26. US studio Warner Bros is funding and distributing both films. The film is set to star Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron although both have moved on to other projects because of the delays.

    Another local source said Fury Road no longer had an explicit green light for production although Miller has consistently said the film will be made. Fury Road shares listed on the Hollywood Stock Exchange – an artificial money market which allows investors to predict the four-week gross box office – have more than halved this year to about $US32.

    As well as ongoing issues with the landscape, the rising value of the Australian dollar may also have affected the decision where to shoot Fury Road.

    The Australian dollar has risen by more than 15 per cent since the original production announcement in October 2009 (from US92.8¢ to $US1.07), although that may not be a factor if Warner Bros had already locked in the production budget in local currency.

    Almost three years ago the rising dollar drove blockbuster Green Lantern offshore, despite Warner Bros already booking several sound stages at Fox Studios Australia. It also forced other major productions considering Australian shoots, such as Battleship, to choose other locations.

    Shooting Fury Road offshore does not preclude it from receiving the 40 per cent Producer Offset rebate (which is reserved for Australian films) on qualifying Australian expenditure, but it may lessen the value of the subsidy.

    The last major Australian film to predominately shoot overseas was $10 million drama Disgrace: it spent eight weeks shooting on location in South Africa and only one week shooting in Sydney in 2007. (However, that film was funded via the now-defunct 10BA tax-based subsidy. It received almost $5 million in funding via former government agency, the Film Finance Corporation.)

    Nonetheless, if Fury Road is unable to access the Producer Offset it could still receive a substantial rebate via the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset, which was doubled to 30 per cent in the Federal Budget. The Location Offset provides 16.5 per cent of qualifying expenditure.

    if.com.au
  • A leading analyst of the diamond industry cast doubts on a BBC documentary exposing human rights violations at the controversial Marange fields. The BBC's famed Panorama programme alleged that Zimbabwe's security forces were running a torture camp at the diamond fields.

    Alleged victims of the torture were showcased recounting horrific tales about the goings on at the fields near Mutare in Manicaland. But Chaim Even-Zohar, an analyst for diamondintelligence.com, a publication on the diamond industry, pointed out many inconsistencies in the documentary that compromise its credibility.

    "Panorama's Marange report seen in its totality was superficial; there was no real discussion of the complex issues and no real dialogue on what the KPCS (Kimberly Process Certification Scheme) has achieved or where it has failed," Even-Zohar wrote. In that respect, the programme was a disappointment and clearly a missed opportunity."

    Even-Zohar said most of BBC's evidence appeared to be sourced from incidents that happened in 2008, yet a lot has changed in Marange since then.

    Stephane Chardon, the chair of the KPCS's powerful Working Group on Monitoring convened an emergency teleconference, a day after the airing of programme, but no action has been taken against Zimbabwe yet.

    The Standard
  • On 9 August 2011 Jacaranda 94.2 launched its  World Cup of music open, back by listener demand. The channel has selected 32 of the biggest music stars, solo artists and bands from the station and arranged them in 16 sets of duelling duos until 8 September 2011.

    Jenny Griesel, marketing manager, says "The 180,000 SMS responses we saw in 2010, when Steve Hofmeyr was crowned the World Cup of Music Champion, affirms that this promotion appeals to our audience and offers more than just top of mind to advertisers.

    "It is entertaining, simple, fun, interactive and boasts rewards by keeping people tuned for longer and giving advertisers dedicated access to a prime audience of 25-49 year olds in LSM 7-10.

    It's the ideal canvas for bottom line results and solid return on investment."

  • At the beginning of the festival the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) announced its support for an array of feature films, shorts and documentaries that were to be exhibited at the festival.

    It is with great pleasure the NFVF announced that three of the projects exhibited at DIFF won various top awards.

    The winning films funded by the NFVF were:

    Best South African Documentary, Dear Mandela directed by Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza. Dear Mandela explores the inspiring story behind Abahlali BaseMjondolo, the largest movement of the poor to emerge in post-Apartheid South Africa.

    The Best Short Film Award was awarded to Dirty Laundry directed by Stephen Abbott. Dirty Laundry tells the story of one guy who just wants to get his washing done. The short Film also went on to win the Best South African Short Film. ""With a fresh storyline and strong acting, this is a colourful and humorous mini-snapshot of the 'dirty laundry' of ordinary South Africans,"" said juries Zandile Tembe, Andile Ntimbane and Jerry Pooe.

    Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award went to Sobukwe, A Great Soul directed by Mickey Madoda Dube. Sobukwe, A Great Soul is the story of a giant, an unusually extraordinary human being, a global visionary, teacher, political leader of note. He was a philosopher, spiritualist, dedicated father and husband.

    The 32nd Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy of South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, and a range of other valued partners.

    dev.nfvf.co.za
  • - South Africa’s Dstyles Productions recently shot the music video “Get Going” for The Stella’s, a Johannesburg-based band.

    - Broadcasters from Europe and Asia have bought high-definition programming from South Africa-based wildlife specialist Earth-Touch. In Europe, Spanish pubcaster TVE has acquired the documentaries Cheetah - Price of Speed, Gannets - The Wrong Side of the Run, Pride in Battle and Diving with Crocodiles and Leopard - The Ultimate Opportunist. Finnish pubcaster YLE has acquired Cheetah and Gannets, while Italy's Rai has gone for Crocodiles. In Asia, South Korean national broadcaster KBS has gone for the same package as TVE, minus Leopard.

broadcast

  • The television industry is set to benefit from increased investment after it emerged that all necessary infrastructure is in place to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting ahead of the December 2011 deadline.

    A study conducted by Rwanda Broadcasting Services (RBS) through the Rwanda Television (RTV), the country's sole broadcaster, indicated that digital images can be received across the country.

    Government had stopped issuing licenses to investors with analogue equipment as it set up infrastructure to support the migration to digital.

    After setting up the infrastructure, interested investors were invited to rent any of the available 130 digital channels.

    According to Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), a number of investors are in advanced negotiations with the government. "The government has eased regulations and processes of setting up a TV station in Rwanda in the hope of attracting local and foreign investors. There is a new ICT bill and many other media reforms are ongoing," the Director General of RURA, Regis Gatarayiha, said in an interview.

    Gatarayiha added that the government's main concern is to ensure that the migration process from analogue to digital takes place smoothly without the interruption of broadcasting services.

    The Chief Technician at RBS, Innocent Nkurunziza, said that for viewers to receive digital images, they must purchase set-top box devices (STB's) which enable television sets to receive and decode digital images.

    "These go for about Rwf30,000 to Rwf60,000 but are not readily available on the local market; RBS is optimistic that by the end of 2011, STBs will be available to enable a full implementation of the switch," Nkurunziza said.

    He added that seven other commercial television channels will broadcast alongside RTV when they receive their operating licenses.

    The Geneva based International Telecommunication Union, of which Rwanda is a member, signed a treaty agreement in 2006, which set June 17, 2015 as the deadline for all countries to adopt terrestrial digital broadcasting. After that date, no analogue signal will be protected under ITU rules.

    Rwanda set its own deadline of December 2011, which is a year ahead of the EAC's agreed deadline. It is unlikely to meet this deadline.

    New Times
  • The logistics manager and driver for Radio Simba, Farah Hassan Sahal, died from bullet wounds early Thursday evening just outside the station's compound in the restive Bakara Market in the capital, Mogadishu, Radio Simba Director Abdullahi Ali Farah told CPJ.

    Hassan was helping the station move damaged radio equipment when a sniper shot him three times, Farah said. Hassan, 45, is survived by his wife and eight children, he said.

    The shots came from an area of the market controlled by African Union (AU) forces, Farah said. Local journalists suspect that the forces may have mistaken Hassan for one of the insurgent gunmen in Al-Shabaab.

    Al-Shabaab, government, and AU forces have been using buildings near the market to attack each other in a week-long offensive aiming to take control of the area, Somali journalists and wire reports said.

    Radio Simba has been off the air for three days, Farah said, after shells hit the transmitter antenna of the station. They hope to start rebroadcasting from Bakara Market once the heavy shelling stops since they lack the funds to move to a safer location, he said.

    Radio Simba is one of the few media groups still operating in the volatile area, local journalists said. Radio Shabelle, for instance, moved out of the area last year in an attempt to save the station from Al-Shabaab control, Abdimaalik Yusuf, chairman of Radio Shabelle, told CPJ.

    In April, Radio Simba sports reporter, Ahmed Hassan, sustained bullet injuries from crossfire while covering a soccer game in Mogadishu. Hassan managed to survive a stomach and shoulder injury after colleagues rushed him to Medina Hospital, local journalists told CPJ.

    Last year, a stray bullet killed Barkhat Awale, director of Hurma Radio, while he was helping a technician fix a transmitter on the roof of the station, local journalists told CPJ.

  • A pay television operator, NTA-Star TV said it planned to increase its channels to 50 by the end of this year. Chairman of Startimes Networks of China, the major investor in the Pay TV,  Pang Xin Xing, who disclosed this at the one year anniversary of the firm in Abuja, stated that his company had invested $17 million (about N2.6 billion) since the commercial launch of the Pay TV in 2010.

    NTA-Star TV is the joint venture of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Startimes Network of China.

    Xing also disclosed that the pay television has over 400, 000 subscribers since it started operation last year. Speaking through an interpreter, the investor promised that the service of the Pay TV would be deployed in many other states across the country.

    Also speaking, the director-general of NTA, Usman Magawata said that the Pay TV, which started service in Abuja and Lagos, has extended it services to 10 more states in Nigeria.

    Magawata, who stated that all the remaining community NTA stations have been actualised, added that that would serve as an advantage to the Pay TV because its service would be received anywhere NTA has network.

    While promising good quality of service for its customers, the director-general stated that the management of the Pay TV was working hard to improve the content of the existing channels, even as it planned to increase it from about 40 to 50 channels before the end of this year.

    The chairman, board of NTA, Patrick Ogbu, in his remarks, described the Pay TV as a unique one because its decoder does not operate with a satellite dish like other Pay TVs, yet, it gives clear signals.

    "Startimes decoder is cheap unlike its sisters in the market; it is durable and has about 40 interesting channels. Before now, ownership of satellite dish used to be a luxury, but now, it is no longer so because the price of the NTA-Startimes decoder have brought down the cost of other providers," he said.

    "Startimes channels are carefully selected for different user needs, such as new documentaries, live sports, entertainment, kids and education. A number of NTA channels are also included in the package like NTA News 24, sports 24, entertainment and knowledge," he disclosed.

    Leadership
  • A recent decision by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to impose a blanket ban on all radio phone-in programmes for the Silozi Service at Katima Mulilo has precipitated a firestorm of criticism from its listeners in the Caprivi Region who feel cut out.

    NBC's Director-General Albertus Auchamub reportedly imposed the ban on the call-in programmes: 'Busile', 'Maikuto', 'Lizibiso' and 'Kakwachi' after some unknown callers verbally abused and "insulted" NBC presenters for no apparent reason.

    The NBC has opened a case with the police and investigators are sifting through MTC data to try and ascertain the identities of the callous callers who could soon face the music.

    Callers are now being advised to put in writing their messages and announcements and they will not be allowed to phone-in until further notice. Many of the rural population in the Caprivi Region, like thousands of other Namibians, depend on radio as their main medium of communication.

    "We were having greeting(s) and announcement programmes as well as youth quiz. Some people started calling in the programmes and insulted producers live on air. I am a regular caller. I used to participate in this youth quiz. We used to win recharge vouchers but now we can not because the programme is closed," said a disgruntled Richard Mubuyaeta. Mubuyaeta, from Lisiki village, in the Kabbe Constituency, added: "This region will never develop with people doing such things."

    He explained that the phone-in programme used to help neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Botswana because they too could call in and make announcements about missing cattle.

    "Now people have to travel long distances even over 100 kilometres to come to NBC and give their messages. Sending SMSes is difficult. Not everyone can do it and some don't have cellphones. We will never develop here because of certain individuals," he fumed.

    In addition, Mubuyaeta, said he agrees with the DG's decision so that people learn not to misbehave and abuse a radio programme that is intended for discussions of progressive issues. "People must not insult producers if they want to benefit from the radio services.

    Now even children's programmes are gone. They have deprived the young ones and I always walk with my radio for programmes but now it is just music," he said.

    Angelika Tubazumbe and her husband, Erick Kasenge are also disappointed with the manner in which some individuals insult radio producers on air.

    "I am very disappointed. It was our means of communication for our announcements and entertainment. This brings the region down. Our neighbours (Zambia and Botswana) are also very disappointed. They must bring the culprits to book. The programme used to help our children to greet others and now they are asking us what happened to the programme," she said while waiting at the Katima Mulilo Open Market for a hike to Sifuha in the Kabbe Constituency. Sitali Masule, also a regular young listener from Isize Village, does not take kindly to the development.

    "I am very disappointed in the people who are busy insulting producers on air. Now what happens to our elders who can't write letters, worse an SMS? Our elders were used to the call-in the programme for announcements especially deaths. For many years, this is what they would do, now they cannot call," she remarked.

    Locals in the region are demanding that the Namibian police, MTC, Telecom and leo pursue the culprits so that they face the full wrath of the law. It is not clear for how long the ban would last.

    New Era
  • - Following a five day training workshop, broadcast media representatives on Lesotho established Guidelines for the Coverage of Elections on Radio and TV.

    - From 1st August, 2011 Swazi TV is accessible via satellite transmission. In a statement signed by acting Chief Executive Officer Mbusi Dlamini, it was stated that the process was supposed to be completed by the 1st April, but for undisclosed reasons the target could not be realised.

    - "This is a milestone that both companies are very proud of," he said. This development was made possible by a partnership between the ministry of information, communication and Technology, the Swaziland Television Authority (STVA) and Multichoice Swaziland and will be accessed by local Multichoice Swaziland subscribers.

distribution

  • With South Africa's longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival having concluded this past weekend, the industry has shown growth with 55 of the 193 films screened being South African.

    According to the research manager at the Gauteng Film Commission, Sebastian Ndayi, recent research reveals that the local film industry generates approximately R2.2 billion nationally of the estimated R12 billion for domestic entertainment in the country and has created over 30,000 employment opportunities on a full-time, part-time/contract and freelance basis.

    "The SA film and TV industry has grown with its share of global filmed entertainment, which is valued at $1.8-trillion, growing from less than 0.5% of GDP to an average annual growth rate of about 1.1%," Ndayi said.

    South Africa's image as a movie-making destination has also grown and has had many high-profile films shot on its shores such as Academy Award-nominated Invictus, Blood Diamond, District 9 and most recently Winnie, starring Jennifer Hudson.

    The government has introduced various schemes to encourage foreign investment as well as to enhance the country's image and profile abroad. One of these schemes is a production incentive for foreign companies called the Location Film and Television Production Incentive that offers a 15% rebate on the costs of filming in the country. The scheme is set to run until 2014.

    Not to exclude our local filmmakers, they are offered a 35% rebate for the cost of their films or any full length television programmes that they produce.

    Government has set up other initiatives to grow the industry by increasing access to funds for film projects as well as for students interested in studying film. These include funding from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) as well as partnering with the Department of Trade and Industry's investment unit, Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA). The film industry also receives funding from the National Lottery.

    According to a co-production report released last year by the National Film and Video Foundation, in 2010 the Department of Trade and Industry contributed 46,2 million rand to fund film projects, the Industrial Development Corporation invested R45,7 million but the bulk of the investment still came from private investors who contributed R265,9 million.

    Growth in the production end of the spectrum has been encouraged with the opening of Cape Town Film Studios, a movie studio that began operation in September last year. The investment in film infrastructure and the state-of-the-art studio is able to service the needs of any big-budget filming in the area of Cape Town. The studio recently wrapped up the filming of the first 3D action flick on African soil in May called Judge Dredd, due for release in 2012. According to the studio, at the height of the production, 450 people were employed, 50 being international and 400 being South Africans.

    But once you have received funding, filmed your project, edited it and it is now ready for viewing, will you have a sufficient audience to not only recoup your costs, but make a profit?

    A report released by Price Waterhouse Coopers about the outlook of SA entertainment and media projected that the SA box office will total an estimated R992 million in 2014, up by 6.4% compounded annually from R729 million in 2009. The trend noticed by the report is box office spending increased in 2009, while there was a decline in home video.

    According to the Box Office Report released by the NVFV tracking the performance of the box office from December 31 2010 until April 28, Nu Metro distributed 41% of the films in this period, followed by Ster-Kinekor at 34%. Rounding off the top three was United International Pictures (UIP) with 20%. Smaller companies Indigenous Films and Crystal Brook Distribution were responsible for 3% and 2%, respectively.

    The report noted that there were no South African titles released in January and February, but there was a concentration of local films in March and that the number of local films released by the end of April was five; whereas last year the same period yielded six local films.

    Box office revenues for this period amounted to 222 million rand, but South African titles only commanded a relatively small R4.2 million of the overall revenue. This means that South African films controlled a market share of only 2%. The highest grossing film at the time of the report was comedy Paradise Stop, starring Rapulana Seiphemo and Kenneth Nkosi, which had made R1.8 million, while the lowest-grossing movie was the horror flick Night Drive, which only managed R600,000. This is based just on ticket sales and excludes the revenue from popcorn and beverage sales.

    The most lucrative genre during the period was animation, largely dominated by 3D features, which made a reported R58.6 million. This shows that South Africans are more inclined towards animated films because, although there were 3D features in other genres, animation was the most popular.

    With the recent release of the country's first ever 3-D animated film, Jock of the Bushveld, perhaps SA finally has a chance to cash in big.

  • - Zuku, the three-in-one service package from Wananchi Group, today announced that it will carry STAR channels across Wananchi's cable and DTH platforms immediately, as part of a drive to increase the all inclusive TV offering from Zuku. Its  one year carriage agreement with Indian entertainment giant STAR, which broadcasts to over 300 million people every week across India and over 65 countries across the globe, will see four channels – STAR Plus, Gold, News and One, being broadcast.

investment

  • A total of N97.549 billion was invested on outdoor advertising (above the line advertising activities) in Nigeria in 2010.

    This was contained in the latest edition of Mediafacts, an annual publication of MediaReach OMD, Nigeria's most influential media independent agency.

    This figure includes funds invested on television, radio, outdoor, and press advertisements in the course of the past year.

    According to the compendium, the figure represents a growth of 7.3 per cent over the amount spent in the previous year, 2009. In 2010, Lagos region accounted for 52.7 per cent or N51.415 billion, while the North accounted for 19 per cent or N18.578 billion. The Eastern part accounted for N16.218 billion or 16.6 per cent while the western part of the country accounted for the remaining 11.6 per cent or N11.338 billion.

    As in 2009, the telecommunication product category spent the highest on ATL advertising having recorded N16.866 billion of ad spend, followed far behind by personal paid announcements which spent N7.854 billion. Lager beer was third in the product category with N4.513 billion.

    In the telecommunication category, MTN was top in ad spend last year with N7.145 billion, followed by Globacom, which spent N4.485 billion for advertisements in 2010. Etisalat and Airtel spent N2.489 billion and N2.126 billion respectively. All the four brands topped the list of the top 20 brands in terms of ad spend last year.

    Another highlight of Mediafacts 2010 is that television advertising amounted to N39.656 billion of the total N97.549 billion, accounting for 40.7 percent of the cumulative Nigerian ad spend in 2010. Outdoor expenditure was next to television with N28.562 billion.

    Mediafacts 2010, published in one volume in English and French contains media trend information on nine West African countries and three central African countries. This covers some of the countries where mediaReach OMD operates in. The company, mediaReach OMD is a specialist media company that provides media planning, buying, control and inventory management services with offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. MediaReach OMD is well known for transparency and accountability

    Over the years, the company has provided professional media services with professionalism, client responsiveness, innovation and integrity as its values in action. Having started operation in 1999, mediaReach OMD is part of OMD global network and has grown to be a reputable media independent firm in West Africa with considerable operation capability in Central Africa. OMD is one of the largest and most influential media communications specialists in the world.

regulation & policy

  • The eagerly awaited laws to regulate media operations in Tanzania may not be ready for enactment by Parliament this year as most stakeholders had anticipated, it has emerged.

    The minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi told Parliament yesterday that the government was still drawing the policy for the law to regulate media services and was also still in the process of drafting the right to information bill.

    "The ministry is currently in the process of drawing a new information policy as well as finalising the draft bill for the enactment of the law to supervise the media," said Dr Nchimbi in Dodoma during the tabling of his ministry's revenue and expenditure plan for the 2011/2012 financial year. He asked the House to approve Sh18.5 billion for the year in recurrent and development expenditure. Only Sh3.881bn would be for development.

    With the current 10th Parliament meeting ending later this month, and the last session for the year expected in October or November, it is likely that there would be not enough time for stakeholders to discuss the final draft of the media services and right to information bills in time for the minister to bring them to Parliament this year.

    It means therefore that the eagerly awaited laws, especially the right to information one would still not be operational by 2012, over five years since discussions towards repealing the restrictive media law started.

    President Jakaya Kikwete promised the legislation in 2006 at one of his meetings with news editors, but a scheduled tabling in 2007 was put off pending consultations with all stakeholders.

    The delay in enacting this law could also result in exertion of more pressure from the donor community and members of the civil society, who have openly stated their desire to see the laws operationalised. The quick passage of the Right to Information Bill is, in fact, one of the key conditionality given by donors for their continued budgetary support to government during the next financial year.

    The other is the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Bill and the Whistleblowers Bills the donors see as crucial in accountability, good governance and fighting corruption.

    Dr Nchimbi, who did not give timelines on the anticipated new laws, however, said the government remained committed to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the media in the country operated freely, effectively and efficiently.

    He hailed the media for a good work and credited their efforts to a more informed and enlightened public today. Giving their views, the Parliamentary Committee for Social Services spokesperson Juma Nkamia (Kondoa South-CCM) and the shadow minister for the ministry Joseph Mbilinyi (Mbeya Urban-Chadema), expressed the need to have the matter concluded without delay.

    "My committee believes that it is important for the State to pass the media regulation and the right to information laws to enable journalists, media owners and other media organs to operate and regulate themselves while safeguarding ethics and national interests," said Nkamia.

    Mbilinyi said the opposition was concerned at the delay and questioned why the government was taking too long to act. "The law on media freedom and the right for Tanzanians to get information is important and should be respected as provided for in the constitution," he said, cautioning that it will not be desirable for any kind of arm-twisting of the views that have been proposed by various parties.

    Part of the delay has been blamed on arriving at levels of media freedom, with parties haggling around a totally free media but others, including MPs and those in government rooting for stiff sanctions against journalists and media owners who unreasonably misuse their power by attacking public figures.

    The Citizen
  • He had been filming prison guards beating his colleagues, NTV reporters Jared Nyataya and Barnabas Bii, who were covering attempts to recapture the escaped inmates who had hidden in a nearby church, he said.

    The prison guards attacked the NTV crew despite receiving orders from a senior prison officer to allow the journalists to carry out their work, local reports said. Prison Commissioner Isaiah Osugo told NTV on Monday that the incident was being investigated.

    "James Ng'ang'a could have lost his life over the violent and totally unjustifiable actions of the prison officials," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "This should be investigated and prison officials should be prosecuted if found guilty of any illegal conduct."

    Ng'ang'a went to Eldoret Hospital to get medical treatment for his hand and filed a police report at Eldoret Police Station. He said, "I just noticed my camera wasn't working and then looked down to see my fingers were bleeding after the bullet shattered my camera."

    In June, four state employees working for Wajir District Hospital in eastern Kenya attacked Wajir Community Radio journalist Abdi Hassan Hussein for interviewing patients who complained of poor treatment at the facility.

technology & convergence

  • At a recent conference in Johannesburg dubbed Joburg Radio Days hosted by the University of Witwatersrand's Wits Radio Academy, scholars, analysts and radio industry practitioners mulled over what the future holds for radio, and how the industry can make the best out of it.

    Prof Franz Kruger, who heads the academy, told the forum that pondering if radio is headed for extinction is a legitimate question at the moment.

    "Our biggest challenge is technological disruption. We need to compete with the disruption that technology brings to our business," says Clive Dickens, chief operating officer of Absolute Radio, London, adding that the current landscape is a very "digital economy".

    Dickens said the rise of this "digital economy" caused a dip in revenue for radio even before recession set in and affected businesses. This is having far reaching consequences. Already, there has been a change in audience behaviour in recent years as a result of technological changes, says Terry Volkwyn, chief executive of Primedia Broadcasting, a South African media group.

    Since they have more access to information, Ms Volkwyn argues, the audiences have become "more demanding and discerning", which is turning radio into a more fast-paced medium.

    In addition to pressure from the audience, Tim Davie, who heads audio and radio at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), says radio is facing the challenge of a significant reduction in the hours people now spend listening to it.

    This development, brought about by the many choices at the disposal of audiences, has heightened competition.

    A report commissioned by the Centre for International Media Assistance (Cima) on the deployment of community radio in the developing world says with ongoing development of technology and the on-demand content, there is concern that conventional broadcasting on the FM wave-band will soon look outdated.

    It is not all gloom, though. Apart from these looming threats and concerns over the future, developments in technology also bear good tidings for the future of radio.

    Apart from opening up avenues for interaction with audiences by increasing the range of platforms available, industry players say, technology has revolutionised reporting and tremendously increased the value that the medium delivers to advertisers.

    The report by the US-based Cima says that new technology presents great opportunities to radio broadcasters and their listeners.

    "Arguably, mobile telephony represents the biggest revolution in radio since the invention of the transistor, while computers and the internet have transformed, or have the potential to transform, programming," it says.

    Ms Volkwyn, whose firm runs four radio stations in South Africa, says that audiences can now contribute to conversations on talk shows through text messages, download programmes online and have news delivered to their cellphones.

    On average, her firm handles 6,000 text messages from the stations' listeners in an hour.

    According to her, current developments are not a threat to radio, since humans have the capacity to adapt to different technologies.

    She considers censorship and absence of media freedom much more of a threat to the viability of radio today.

    Mr Dickens agrees that consumers will adapt to whatever is there, adding that viewed the other way, technology is an enabler to the industry.

    Despite the optimism though, there is consensus on the need for the industry to adapt to the rise of new media.

    "Radio will continue to enjoy popularity if it keeps in touch with the needs of audiences," says Dr Mary Myers, a media consultant at the Radio, Convergence and Development in Africa (RCDA) research project.

    She says that one of the ways this could do this is by embracing new technology and getting online to tap into the new alternative platforms. Dickens says so far, radio has stayed resilient to the ongoing changes in the digital space because it has co-opted new platforms.

    Studies across the continent by the RCDA project indicate that most radio stations have embraced computers and digital editing, including small rural stations. "However, the convergence is slow and is still subject to the digital divide," it adds.

    The report says urban and commercial radio stations are embracing the internet and other technologies much more than the poorer ones.

    Though convergence between traditional radio broadcasting and new technologies is a reality, the report notes, "its benefits, in terms of development gains, are yet to be clearly and conclusively demonstrated".

    Nonetheless, experts say radio has to conform if it is to survive.

    The report by Cima, suggests that radio stations "look to the future" and embrace new technology creatively.

    Among the strategies that have been suggested for adaptation by radio include doing much more than transmitting sound as it has traditionally done, which is already being put into use across the world.

    Radio organisations like Absolute Radio in the UK and Jacaranda Afrikaner (Ja.fm) in South Africa are embracing novel strategies online.

  • Continuing to grow in strength and influence within the digital media arena, Avusa Media LIVE (AML) which attributes the majority of its popularity to news portals Times Live, Sowetan Live as well as Business Live, has recently welcomed key promotions and appointments within the ranks of its senior management.

    Elan Lohmann, formerly General Manager (GM) of AML, has been promoted to Managing Director of Avusa Group Digital, a move that will both strengthen the group's digital strategy as well as position it firmly as a market leader in the South African digital arena.

    Although his new role sees him focusing more on the overall success of the group's digital division, which includes businesses such as CareerJunction, I-Net Bridge, MapIT and Exclusives Online, Lohmann will continue to drive both publishing trade and consumer strategies together with the AML team.

    Specialising in business communication and digital implementation, Derek Abdinor now heads up AML as its GM. With over a decade's experience in digital media, Abdinor has extensive management experience and was integral in the development of Avusa Media's group-buying website Zappon.

    The new appointment of Marc Hershowitz to lead the commercial operations of AML is a further indication of the group's strategic drive to ensure its leading standing in the digital landscape.

    Hershowitz, formerly Business Development Manager of MediaMind Africa (previously Eyeblaster) and most recently Key Accounts Manager at The SpaceStation, brings with him a wealth of managerial experience in the digital as well as online media spaces.

    Rohenie Naidu joins the AML sales team as its Sales Account Manager. Naidu, brings to the table over 10 years' of sales and digital media strategy experience most recently at Habari Media.

    Shana Kay has been appointed Senior Business Analyst at AML. Her experience in co-founding two IT businesses, namely Maxxor and Infointeg, makes her well-suited in her new role.

    Kay will be responsible for evaluating and creating business processes across all functional areas, facilitating and leading workshops for new products and projects as well as liaising with all business units to gather requirements for new interventions.

    With an eye to growing the division's trade relationships and communications strategies, newly-appointed Laetitia van Rensburg joins AML as its Trade Marketing Manager.

    Working in synergy with the commercial and marketing team, Van Rensburg who has a strong background in digital marketing, project management, campaign and sales operations will focus on marketing strategies that help raise the profile of the division's assets to the trade media.

    Due to its considerable growth since inception in March this year, Brent de Beer, an online marketing and sales specialist has been appointed as Sales Manager for group-buying website Zappon.

    He'll also be responsible for creating online sales opportunities to the SME market across all of AML's online platforms. De Beer brings with him over 15 years' experience in both the digital publishing and online marketing spheres at senior level.

    "We're excited about the positive energy and impetus these new appointments will bring to the AML team and to the Avusa Group Digital structure as a whole," concludes Lohmann.

    "They are all key players in the vision AML has to further drive and increase the market leading position its websites currently hold within the black market. The future is looking bright."

    Issued by: Avusa Media LIVE

  • - Apple has decided to allow an additional 33 countries to access their hugely-successful App Store, including five African countries. The App Store allows users of any Apple device such as an iPad or iPhone, to download and buy applications. The addition of 33 countries brings to 123, the total number of countries where the App Store is available

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