Issue no. 122 - 2 February 2012

top story

  • Africa has begun to join in the fun on crowdsourcing some of the funding for feature films. Crowdsourcing is getting lots of small contributions from individuals that taken together can make up a good chunk of change. Furthermore it connects the film to the audience at pre-production stage. Russell Southwood and Sylvain Beletre look at how it might improve film finance and speculate on whether it could do the same for local TV programmes.

    Despite Nollywood being in the top 3 of the largest film industries in the world, Africa's total contribution to the international film economy is almost negligible compared to Hollywood and Bollywood. In the 50 years since independence, film production has not been seen as a priority for most African nations: at least at a rhetorical level, things like improving health, security and infrastructure building have seemed more important than support for making films.

    Apart from Nollywood, the larger film producing African countries tend to be those where there is an element of Government support: countries in this category include Kenya, Morocco, Burkina Faso to a certain extent and prominently South Africa (and Egypt in the old days). However, the financial turnover of Africa’s film industries tends to be relatively modest in international terms.

    The Nigeria and the South African governments have seriously begun to think about how their film industry might start to become a significant export force. But one major challenge faced by African film-makers and producers can best be illustrated by comparing Hollywood revenue sources and expenditure to those made by Nollywood producers.

    The Hollywood studios spend heavily on both production and marketing-distribution so that they can maximize a film’s performance in a relatively short period of time. In this short period covering cinema and home video release, the film will make the majority of its revenues. It is a different story with African films where cinema box office revenues are almost non-existent and where VCD/DVD releases struggle to provide the majority of revenues in Africa’s pirate infested waters. (see also story in Distribution section below)

    What has changed over the last 10 years is the arrival of the Internet to help film makers. This could offer a lifeline for the African film industry, as it can positively help three of the steps needed to make a film financially successful: funding, production, and distribution. With more fibre delivery, new satellite DTH solutions and some lower priced internet broadband services becoming available across the African continent, film makers have started to use the internet to make their films a success.

    Crowdsourcing allows a film-maker to pitch his or her idea and in exchange for some modest benefits to raise funding for it. This is not going to float Hollywood blockbuster budgets but for more modestly budgeted film projects, it can form one leg of a three-legged funding stool that might include donations, sponsorship and public funding. Also if you have a film idea that can raise either significant numbers of donors (however small) or significant sums of money, this might help persuade other sources of funding to come in.

    One example of successful crowdsourcing is The Good Man, a low budget feature film set between Northern Ireland and South Africa. Manifesto Films is set to commence principal photography. The project has also received funding from Northern Ireland Screen, a public funding agency for film.
    Filmed on location in Belfast and South Africa, the plot weaves together the two interconnecting stories of Michael, an up-and-coming Belfast banker wracked with guilt after causing a stranger’s death in an accident, and Sifiso, a young South African man growing up in the townships.

    The film is produced by Susan Picken, Director of the Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) in Belfast and is written and directed by Phil Harrison whose recent short, Even Gods, won the Best Irish Short Film and the Audience Award for Best Irish Short Film at the Cork Film Festival in November 2011.

    South African directors Jordan Harland and Tyron Janse van Vuuren have both used the IndieGoGo website site to raise money for their film projects. Visitors to the site are given a brief plot summary of the movie and are able to make contributions anywhere from as small as $1.

    In the African context, there is clearly a trust issue: sending off money to someone you’ve never heard of to finance a film sounds like the perfect Nigerian 419 scam. But provided individuals can demonstrate that they are what they say they are, this opens a new route for film funding. There are also film funding bodies who can help weed out the unscrupulous.

    But why stop with films? Africa really needs good locally made TV programmes. These need both good creative ideas and money. Africa’s TV broadcasters are in the main risk-averse and would prefer to buy cheaper telenovelas or Nollywood than invest in their own programming. Indeed, some actually run their broadcast stations like a taxi firm: you pay for airtime to show your programme. A good crowdsourcing site outside of South Africa might raise both the level of the creative pool of ideas and finance. Any takers?

    More on crowdsourcing here and here:

    To order the new market report – ‘African Broadcast and Film Markets’ (2nd edition – February 2012) click here

    To follow the exchanges about this news, you need to be on Twitter. Follow us on @BalancingActAfr

    This week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    George Twumasi, CEO, ABN on the future of African broadcasting

    A low-end challenger to Facebook? Nigerian digital entrepreneur Ayo Alli on the rise of social network Eskimi in Nigeria

    Watch extracts from the 2012 Trace convention here (in French):

    Trace Sport: présentation lors de la convention Trace...

     La chanteuse Methi - Convention Trace 2012

     La fondation Trace - Convention Trace 2012

    Trace Sport: présentation lors de la convention Trace...

    Eklips, "amazing beat box man" à la convention Trace...


  • Last weekend, Nigeria’s biggest music reality show Nigerian Idol gave audiences and fans the times of their lives as they presented the wild card show that determines the last set of three finalists to make it into the finals of the show. Joining the judges table last weekend was none other than Nigeria’s first lady of rap Sasha P. The show presented nine contestants handpicked by the judges from the top 30 contestants to take another chance at the Nigerian Idol finals.

    “I have never had this much fun in Nigerian Idol, international choreographer and judge Jeffrey Daniel exclaimed excitedly. “The talent is so good; it appears as if I am watching the top nine stages of the show and not the wildcard. Really, Nigeria has an incredible amount of talent and Nigerian Idol appears to have collected the cream of them all!”

    The electrifying show kicked off with a performance by Tega who reprised her role as a woman afraid to lose her man as she sang Mary J Blige’s ‘Be without you’. Ebbi Paul Otti who once again showed his vocal dexterity with a brilliant rendition of KC &Jojo’s ‘All my life’ followed her. The charming Byno upped his last performance with an irresistible mix of vocals and drama as he sang Bruno Mars hit ‘The way you are’. After him, G Circuit gave the performance of his life with an outstanding performance of Usher’s ‘There goes my baby’. The booming Joe Blue was next and he outdid his last try with a superbly mastered presentation of Michael Bolton’s ‘How am I supposed to live without you’.  For Phunky Sings with Vanessa Williams ‘Save the best for last’, Jeffrey Daniel renamed her ‘Phunky Smooth’ for the flawless performance she gave.

    Soon it was impromptu duet time again as a Yinka Davies favourite, Stephen Onochie performed Peabo Bryson’s duet ‘Celebrate my love’ with the star judge. Sophyn also got a duet with Yinka as she sang Diana Ross’s ‘Endless Love’. The audience’s applause was deafening as they acknowledged the spectacular music coming from the Idol stage and the judge’s table. Sly 1 ended the performances with an R&B tinged version of Jimmy Cliff’s ‘I can see clearly’.

    The wild card allows three winners into the Nigerian Idol finals. The contestant with the highest number of votes will be the first to get into the final stages of the competition while the judges will select two other contestants for the final stage.
    “This season, there will be a top 12 final on the show,” Project Manager Tiwa Medubi pointed out. The voting public gets to choose one, while the judges will be picking two more. The real contest begins on February 12, in the Nigerian Idol finals, then a whole team comprising of a music director, voice coach, stylist and others work together to craft the Nigerian Idol who can stand on his or her own amongst other Idol alumni worldwide.”

    The winner of the show goes home with a brand new SUV and total prize money valued at $100, 000. Other top ten finalists also win mouth-watering prizes. The winner of season two will be announced at a grand gala in April.
    Nigerian Idol is proudly brought to you by Etisalat in association with Pepsi and Sony. It is also supported by Air Nigeria, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Megalectrics (owners of Beat FM, Classic FM and Naija FM

    Press release
  • Samsung Electronics is rallying fans across the continent to show their passion for the game, and has launched a series of interactive live and online events for fans to gather and share the excitement of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Gabon-Equatorial Guinea 2012.
    Samsung, an official sponsor of the competition, has launched its official fan page for the 2012 tournament, click here to view, and is setting up ‘Samsung Pop-up Stadium’ at shopping malls in Angola, Ghana and Senegal. Each of the events is aimed at providing a space for football fans to enjoy the matches – inside and outside the stadiums - and to share their experiences and enthusiasm with other football supporters.

    “Football is a passion we share with our customers in Africa, and so we’re pursuing ways to leverage our innovative technology to ensure fans get the best possible enjoyment of the tournament. We hope this will be a chance for African fans to show and share their passion towards football together,” said Mr. Sunny Hwang, Vice President and Head of Global Sports Marketing at Samsung.
    Fans that visit the site, will be able to view the latest game schedule and results, upload photos of their tournament experience, download  the official  Wallpapers and Ringtones, and engage with other fans across the continent.

    Fans will also have the opportunity to enter to win weekly prizes, including some of Samsung’s most popular products – such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, the Samsung Galaxy SII, the Samsung SmartTV and many other prizes.
    Samsung will also be giving away a grand prize at the end of the competition, on the 29th of February, called the Samsung SmartLife! One lucky fan will win a Samsung all-in-one SmartLife package, which include a suite of products from Samsung’s Built for Africa line of great products designed for African consumers.. The prize includes the Samsung duracool refrigerator for example, which keeps food cool when the power goes out; the Samsung Triple Protector Air Conditioner, the only air conditioner built for Africa to endure African conditions; and the Samsung SurgeSafe TV, which includes built-in surge protection to ensure smooth viewing during power surges. Other prizes in this all-in-one package include a Samsung DeepFoam Washing Machine, Samsung Solar Panel Netbook, Samsung Home Theatre System, Samsung Blu-ray disc player, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a Samsung Galaxy Note mobile phone.
    The ‘Samsung Pop-up Stadium’ – viewing areas with large screens and tiered seating – will be established at malls in Angola, Ghana and Senegal and run from January 20 - February 27. They will offer fans entertainment and involvement throughout the day. Each match will be shown live, and in between there will be dance contests – a freestyle “dance battle” with fans competing for the most acrobatic movements – recordings of football techniques, and football board games.
    Fans will also have the opportunity to experience Samsung’s latest products and engage with innovative technology to enhance the excitement of African football.
    The ‘Pop-Up Stadium’ come in addition to fan activation programs that Samsung will run in the tournament’s host nation, Gabon, where the ‘Samsung Football Fest’ will be held. The ‘Samsung Football Fest’ will include public viewing of matches with large screens, entertainment, mini-football and a Samsung product exhibition with giveaways for the fans.
    “It’s the excitement and passion of the fans that will make the ‘Pop-up Stadium’ the best party at the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2012 tournament. We’ll be bringing our cutting-edge technology to the table to deliver a great experience for those fans,” said Sunny Hwang. “Samsung is thrilled to be a part of the energy and celebration of African football.”

    Press release
  • Punk in Africa, which opened at local cinemas amid much fanfare last week, will make its first appearance in Europe at the end of the month. Such has been the success of the film that documents the social and political challenges in Zimbabwe that it will be shown in The Netherlands.

    In March, it will show in one of Europe’s top human rights festivals scheduled for the Czech Republic .“The film has been invited to be officially unveiled at the world-renowned International Film Festival Rotterdam on 29-31 January, following successful local and international premieres at the Durban International Film Festival in July 2011 and the Festival Do Rio in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil in October 2011.

    The film has also been selected as an official entry at the One World Film Festival in March 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic, Europe’s most prestigious festival of human rights and political documentaries,” Deon Maas, spokesperson for Meerkat Media, the co-producers of the documentary told The Zimbabwean in Johannesburg.

    Punk in Africa is the untold story of the multi-racial punk movement within recent political and social upheavals in Zimbabwe as well as Mozambique . The story unfolds from the Johannesburg underground rock scene of the 1970s, the multi-racial punk bands formed in the wake of the Soweto Uprising and the anti-apartheid sounds of the 1980s to the rise of African-inspired ska-punk from Cape Town to Maputo in the democratic 1990s to an emerging generation of new music that confronts contemporary political challenges in Zimbabwe .

    The film is a co-production between Johannesburg production company Meerkat Media and Prague-based independent producers Peligroso Productions and Bohemian Lion and is represented for international sales and festivals by Rise and Shine Films in Berlin , Germany . Production was sponsored in part by the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa, Red Bull Media Group ( Austria ) and the noted European post-production studio UPP ( Czech Republic ).

  • This year “Africa in Motion 2012” festival theme is ‘Modern Africa’. Organisers will focus on films and events that represent Africa as part and parcel of the modern, globalised world – the urban, the new, the provocative, the innovative and experimental.

    According to Festival organisers:“We regard “modern” not as belonging solely to the “West”, and through the festival we want to emphasise Africa’s important role in the modern world. As such, the festival will primarily deal with manifestations of African cultures in the contemporary era, moving away from the stereotypical view of a continent locked in ancient traditions and superstition”.

    The Festival will celebrate African creativity and the rich diversity of African cultures in their contemporary manifestations through showcasing films covering themes such as the role of African Diaspora in Western/Eastern societies; Africa's current political and economical position(s); how the digital revolution is affecting the continent; modern arts expressions in African cultures - i.e. dance, modern street fashion, conceptual art, etc - or how modern life has affected African tradition and ritualistic societies. The Festival is continuing with its much anticipated annual Short Film Competition and is also launching a Call for Entries for films linked with the theme of Modern Africa. An Academic Symposium on African Popular Culture will further enhance our festival theme.
    It is interested in discovering and exploring through this year’s festival how modernity manifests in African cultures. It will try to get answers to questions such as:
    ·        How has Africa become part of the global world through processes such as migration, exile and the increasing role of the African diaspora?
    ·        What is Africa’s relationship with the international community in political and economic spheres?
    ·        How has the digital revolution affected Africa through the prevalence of technology such as the increasing use of mobile phones, satellite dishes and digital filmmaking?
    ·        How can modern art forms be observed in African cultures such as contemporary dance, architecture, modern street fashion, conceptual art, new fusion musical styles, street art, graffiti, graphic novels and cartoons?
    ·        How have African countries found modern, innovative and grassroots solutions to contemporary challenges such as resource control, environmental protection, poverty, conflict resolution, education and economic emancipation?
    ·        How has modern life affected African societies and individuals in terms of traditional customs and rituals, religion, rural community life, family dynamics and the role of women?
    As usual, its film screenings will be accompanied by a wide range of complementary events such as directors’ Q&As and masterclasses, workshops, discussions, music performances, African dishes served in the cafe, African jewellery and crafts for sale, and filmmakers in attendance.

  • - Emmy award-winning director Steven Silver's “The Bang Bang Club” was nominated in January 2012 for seven Genie Awards, Canada's version of the Oscars.

    - The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is proud to announce that one of South Africa’s bright lights Ettiene Kallos received the Global Filmmaking Award from the Sundance Institute and Mahindra for his visionary project (25 Jan. 2012).


  • The Marcom Communications Groupo set up on 1 June 2010 by Magnus Biagi, a graduate of Esstic, journalist and writer.  In his capacity of CEO of the group, he established the ‘Emergence’ newspaper which appears regularly and without interruption since 1 June 2010. He also set up a printing press equipped with advanced hi-tech imported from Europe. He has created a communication consulting firm which will aim to assist governments, public organisations, private enterprises, political parties and international stars who want to communicate effectively in Cameroon and the Central African sub-region.

    This consultancy also plans to specialise in polls and media audience surveys with strong partnerships with leading global organizations (IPSOS, TNS-Sofres ...).

    The founder of Marcom is currently considering launching a radio station which would transmit to Cameroon’s main cities and which will also be present on the Internet. Its radio transmitters would be similar to RFI’s for the signal to be the most successful.

    The launch of an international television station based in Yaounde and aiming to be on the largest satellite packages in the world is also envisaged. This television channel would complete the strength of the communications group which intends to establish itself as the largest in Central Africa.

    The Marcom Group has decided to launch an offensive to get closer to the public and football lovers. Therefore, the group decided to contribute to the spread of the African Cup of Nations (CAN 2012). It has partnered with the world's largest multinationals (Orange, Samsung ...) to sponsor the distribution of the 32 CAN 2012 matches on Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV). CRTV has decided to grant a broadcasting space of a minute the group’s activities before each of the 32 matches broadcast on CRTV television. The group has produced for this purpose a one-minute video to promote its activities.

    Today, the Marcom Group consists of:

    - A weekly newspaper of general information appearing on Monday, offering the best analysis on current events in Cameroon. It is the newspaper most distributed with a circulation of approximately 45 000 people who receive the electronic version (in the Diaspora) and the paper version in Cameroon.
    - A printing equipment with futuristic technology that offers several services starting from design to printing.
    - A communications consulting firm that advises companies, governments, political parties, stars ... who want to communicate effectively in Cameroon and, more broadly, in Central Africa.
    - The upcoming launch of a radio station with seasoned professionals and graduates.
  • Founded in 2003, TRACE is an international brand and media group specialised in music and sport. The four TRACE TV channels are watched by over a potential audience of 60 million subscribers in more than 160 countries. TRACE also develops digital and mobile services, licences radio stations and organises events for its viewers.

    On January 23, 2012, before an audience of about 300 people at the Elysées-Biarritz in Paris (France), the Trace media group took stock of its first 8 years, presented upcoming developments in 2012, the conclusion of its study on French youths, and the Trace Foundation, which plans on paving the way to success for young people. Trace’s management team, famous athletes, friends and journalists were at the party.

    Sylvain Béletre’s Balancing Act attended the event – the Trace Convention 2012 - and looked into the relations and impact with the African market. Despite limited audience data available, Trace already claims to be ahead of other major paid music channels across the African continent, and its strong link with Black culture probably explains why.

    Almost ten years back, Olivier Laouchez created Trace because he realized that if the urban culture is very present in France and recognized in many countries, it was poorly represented in the French media. The group became profitable in three years.

    Trace now has four TV channels, all potentially very attractive to the African market:
    Trace Urban - focused on urban culture, music such as hip-hop and R&b - is Trace’s star and the leading pay television music channel among 15-34 year-olds in France and 60 countries throughout Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. In Africa, it is available on all main Pay TV bouquets but its expansion is limited due to current exclusive distribution rights. Content-wise, it includes a large share of black music. Its audience is larger among female than male.

    Trace is planning to replicate its Trace Urban success with its new sports entertainment channel, Trace Sports (see our previous story here ), which is entirely dedicated to sports celebrities. As we know according to several surveys carried out across Africa, the African audience is very keen on sport channels, especially male.

    Trace  Tropical is the leading Latin and Caribbean music channel, also appealing to Africans.

    Finally, Trace Africa is the number one Pay TV channel for African hits, recently launched everywhere including across several African countries. With those four channels, Trace still holds a large potential to roll out in the USA targeting the youth segment, music and sport lovers, the African diaspora and black-Americans.

    The Convention was the occasion for Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and CEO of Trace to announce several innovations and to unveil parts of its 2012 strategic plans. TRACE will be launching a series of services to reinforce its ties with its audience:

    The launch of Trace FM radio stations in the Indian Ocean and Africa will add another competitor to the already crowded radio scene. There will be a “Special Trace Sports” programming focussing on champions set to shine at the upcoming London Games and at the Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine (football).

    A series of Guest Star programmes will be dedicated to the 2012 French presidential elections, with a focus on the candidates’ proposed schemes for young French people, in particular to young people in cities’ suburbs. Main elections candidates have accepted to be interviewed by the media group.

    Trace has launched a new web portal - that includes all four identities of the Trace brand.

    The group has also deployed Trace channels on OTT, Smart TV services and mobile service in France and in several countries in Africa. Trace went into banking with the launch of a Trace prepaid card with PCS Mastercard.

    Trace has created the ‘Trace Marketing Solutions integrated division’, related to social networks to allow brands and agencies to take advantage of TRACE’s infrastructure and expertise with regards to the youth market.

    Joëlle Kayembé – a South African Super Model present at the convention - has become the new ambassador of the Trace brand and foundation. Her tasks will be two-folds: promotional modelling and branding, and the humanitarian job where she will work with charities on behalf of Trace. Kayembé could also have her own talk show on air (probably on Trace Sport).

    The study carried out by Trace, called “State of Emergency”, on the tough condition of young people in France – including a large share from the African diaspora - shows that their situation is particularly distressing, between record unemployment figures, marginalisation in the education system, and social exclusion.

    Aware of the important role it plays in the life of its young viewers, Trace created the Trace Foundation (‘la foundation Trace’ in French) to help overcome this state of affairs and give them the tools to succeed and to voice their needs.

    The Foundation first aims to act on the following fronts:
    1. Allow young people to get better vocational guidance and information about the job market
    2. Support initiatives, championed by artists and athletes that aim to help underprivileged youths

    The only thing that Trace lovers could regret is that Trace channels are only available on pay TV platforms. Olivier Laouchez highlighted that he did not get much help from those in power, and declined to submit an application to obtain a French free-to-air DTT frequency in April. This is mainly due to the cost of DTT distribution, more than Euros 10 million per year, which only large TV companies can hope to achieve a return, said Laouchez.

    See videos of the event: Links below Top Story above.

    2012, Trace
  • Business news from Gabon scored the opening goal on CNBC Africa with the official opening of the channel’s live satellite bureau in Libreville, West Africa, the same week which sees Africa’s best footballers kicking off in the country in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Aliko Dangote and Standard Bank mark their leadership at AABLA
     The Gabon bureau is CNBC Africa’s sixth bureau outside of Johannesburg, and forms part of the 24/7 business news channel’s strategy to have a presence in more than 20 African countries by 2014. CNBC Africa is already at advanced discussions to also establish bureaus in Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and Ghana in the next few months.

    CNBC Africa managing director for Africa, Gary Alfonso says, “The primary purpose of CNBC Africa’s new bureaus in these new territories in the next two years will be to extract crucial business and investment news from some of Africa’s most vibrant economies. The new bureaus will help us diversify content as we push towards our goal of the total coverage of the African continent’s business.”

    The Gabon bureau will facilitate editorial content and commercial opportunities for the ever-expanding business and corporate community for Africa. The channel’s head of West Africa, Frederic van de Vyver says ''We are really excited about opening up a bureau in a francophone country. Gabon is presently changing its game and repositioning itself as a major economic player in the continent, there is no doubt we will get very exciting business content from Libreville and the rest of the country."

    Gabon attracted more than $4-billion foreign direct investment last year. ''For the first time the country has an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to the English speaking global business community about the exciting business momentum being generated in the country," says van de Vyver.

    One of the largest investors in Gabon, Olam, has expressed strong support for the launch of CNBC Africa's bureau in Gabon. Gagan Gupta, CEO of Olam Gabon, says, “The fact that CNBC Africa, Africa's first and only pan-African real-time financial and business channel, chose Gabon to launch their first office in a French-speaking African country is a strong signal regarding the emergence of Gabon and reaffirms that the country is definitely an attractive place for businesses to locate, invest, grow, and create jobs."

    The first live crossing via satellite from Gabon took place on Monday, 23 January between 12:00 and 13:00 Central Africa Time (CAT).

  • French international news channel France 24 has extended its distribution worldwide to 235 million TV homes, gaining 33 million households over 2011 including in Africa.

    Over five years, France 24 has now increased its distribution three-fold. The breakdown shows that 70 million TV homes receive it by satellite free-to-air and 50 million as part of a satellite offer.

    Cable, IPTV/ADSL and Free DTT (in French Overseas Territories, Italy, Denmark, US) respectively account for 27 million, 19 million and 17 million TV homes.

    52 million households receive France 24 as part of other channels schedules, available either on 24-hour basis or via part-time distribution in one, two or three of its language versions (English, French and Arabic).  Reportedly 183 million homes have a 24/7 access contrary to 52 million who can watch it several hours a day.

    In Europe, France 24 increased its distribution by 10% last year and currently has a penetration rate of 75% across the continent.  In Asia-Pacific, North and South America, the channel expanded its distribution by 10 million television households in each zone. 

    In the North Africa-Middle East zone, the channel displayed an 8% growth in 2011 to reach a penetration rate of 98.5% throughout the region. In Sub-Saharan Africa, France 24 has a coverage rate of close to 95%.

    “France 24 has achieved optimum distribution in Europe, the Middle East and in Africa. Now we have to expand massively into new zones, in new ways and adapt to the demands of local operators, particularly in Asia and North America,” Frank Melloul, Head of Strategy and Development for Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France, commented.

    Rapid TV News
  • - Egyptian TV has launched a new channel called Voice of People. The channel specializes in broadcasting parliamentary sessions live. The Middle East News Agency (MENA) said that the channel is going to replace Nile Drama 2 channel which will stop its transmission as of Saturday January 21.

    - In 2012, Algeria is in the spotlight for TV5Monde. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Algeria, TV5Monde offers special programming on all its signals: documentary, fiction, film, music and special operations. Several of the channel’s magazines have relocated in Algeria and many projects are being developed in partnership with the Algerian television.  In Algeria, TV5Monde is one of three channels in French followed the most (9.5% of weekly cumulative audience). TNS noted that 45% of Algerian leaders and managers watch the channel every week.


  • Film makers in the region who converged in Kampala for the 8th Annual Congress on East African Cinema explored the possibility of exploiting the Internet, film training initiatives, alternative means of fundraising and distribution including the networks of the film pirates as some of the means to propel the industry forward.

    The congress, held during the Amakula Kampala Cinema Caravan Festival from December 14-17 2011, focused on how to leverage the East African Common Market for cinema.

    This is against the background of a 130 million strong population in East Africa that not only offers a potential market for film consumption but also reveals the multitude of stories that can be told cinematically across the varied cultural tapestry of the five member nations: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Summarising the current state of the industry, Prof Martin R. Mhando, a Tanzanian filmmaker, said: "Cinema is dead in Africa because no one goes to the theatre anymore. Maybe a few members of the elite class watch films in theatres, but the cinema market does not make much money like it did in the 1960s-80s. We can't sell in Africa and yet our market is here at home."

    "We need to identify our target audience. We may not get them in the cinema hall, but we should make the products that they actually want and these could be DVDs, television, makeshift video halls or via YouTube," noted Charles Asiba, Chief Executive and Festival Director of the Kenya International Film Festival.
    Asiba, who is also the director of the Kenya Film Commission, added that: "Cinema should be the high end product of a filmmaker.

    If you can have a theatre release that should be the ultimate - but it is only a select few who turn up. The Nigerians have been producing home videos for the past 15 years and it is only now that they are turning to theatre productions because they have created audiences for their films."

    "We have witnessed a revival of pop music in East Africa thanks to the new generation. With the middle class now listening and appreciating local music in place of the once dominant Congolese music, the film industry could borrow a leaf from the music sector and target the video market and not the cinema market.

    We could also copy the Bibanda [video halls] in Uganda and develop our film structure around that kind of distribution pattern," said Mhando, a film professor at Murdoch University in Australia.

    "We have observed that more people are watching DVDs in the comforts of their homes. So for us to claim to be doing film business, we have to take our films to homes or even the makeshift video halls, as long as we can generate income. We can't claim to have a film industry if we are not making money," Asiba added.

    "My advice to the young filmmakers is that they should look at cinema as a business and not an art. As much as it is a creative industry let's look at the business end of our productions. Why are we making these films? Can we live on them? Can they sustain our livelihoods?" Asiba asks.

    According to Richard Geria, sales and marketing manager of Fast Track Productions, the emerging market for African film is online. "The online market is presenting an alternative channel for the distribution of film content.

    The regulation for this new outlet maybe non-existent but it offers film producers an opportunity to make money."

    Fast Track Productions has developed a platform called that is still being tested and should provide its customers with a variety of African content. It is a Video on Demand (VoD) service where members will sign up to download television episodes and films. Payments will be made using debit cards, credit cards or mobile money.

    "We have noticed that there is a huge demand for African films. We have uploaded all the 90 episodes of the first season of our television series 'The Hostel' on our platform and we have been overwhelmed by the demand for DVDs of the series. Our targets are the Ugandans in the diaspora and the high enders in Uganda who can afford the latest gadgets," Geria revealed.

    According to Geria, the film producers will be entitled to 25 per cent of the revenue generated after sales. "We shall share the numbers with the producers as partners. In order to protect copyright infringement we have invested in a security system in which our customers will only be able to stream and not download content," he said.

    According to Elijah Kitaka, business development associate at Google Uganda, the recent launch of the Ugandan YouTube channel gives the country's filmmakers an opportunity to broadcast themselves to the world on the largest online video community. Mhando highlights a completely different approach to the issue of piracy without necessarily condoning it, in his paper titled, Leveraging Film for the East African Common Market: The Swahili Film Market.

    "While we have no figures to quantify the extent to which the Swahili film business functions and aids the Tanzania economy, we can indeed see the number of people involved in the production and distribution of videos, therefore acknowledging the job creation capacity of the industry.

    The distribution network that reaches millions of customers, is a genuine job creation enterprise. “The hundreds of machinga (street vendors) that survive on this business attest to the importance of culture to their lives and therefore the country," Mhando argues.

    Mhando believes that piracy is not necessarily a negative aspect. "It can help us to improve the way we communicate.

    It provides employment and cuts down the crime rate. We can take advantage of the pirate's distribution networks to make our sector profitable. Let's think outside the box to leverage film for the East African Common Market," he argues.

    At the Swahili film level in the past decade, the means by which independent films, documentaries, and screenplays are financed, advertised, marketed and sold has undergone tremendous change. More than 100 Swahili films are being produced annually, all competing for distribution deals. "Indeed the distribution of Swahili films in Tanzania and the region in general has eclipsed that of Nigerian films," Mhando writes.

    “Independent filmmakers' opportunities to have their scripts produced or films released into the marketplace have become increasingly difficult, Mhando observes.

    Kenya continues to churn out many films in English and Swahili recognizing both the language factor in the marketing of films as well as its cultural efficacy and beneficence, Mhando adds in the paper that projects commercial and cultural conditions necessary for a viable and utilitarian film industry in the region.

    However if we are to look at the market in general we find a much enlarged distribution circuit in the region. Steps Entertainment of Dar es- Salaam has captured and controls the market of Swahili (Bongo) films around the region and have now opened offices in Rwanda, DR Congo and are looking at opening offices in Kenya and Burundi, Mhando adds.

    "Indeed it is a well-known fact that the distribution of Swahili films in Tanzania and the region in general has eclipsed that of Nigerian films," Mhando writes.

    Steps Entertainment began its operations in 2005 with the mission of reaching the people through small outlets and agents spread countrywide offering affordable entertainment and education through films.

    They produce 6,000 DVD copies of a film and sell 4,000 copies on the day of release. The average cost of production is $10,000.

    According to Mhando, "Notwithstanding the piracy factor, the company has indeed expanded to producing films cheaply in order to allow themselves a wide profit margin to undercut the film pirate. It has now achieved a modicum of respect despite it also being seen to undermine the growth of local filmmakers through their crass management system.

    It is well-known fact that producers for Steps are forced to pay minuscule rates to artist (except the stars) to just break even while affording Steps the margins necessary for profit making.

    With its vast distribution network in and outside Tanzania, it purchases movies and distributes them across the region."

    "What Steps has revealed however is that there is need for a link between producers and distributors. Steps works in both and in that way undercut the producer. If there was a link, an "advertising and marketing" link who would handle multiple projects," Mhando observes.

  • Cinema Vietnam, which takes place in the township of Franschhoek North, at Mooiwater, presents a free varied programme of quality movies and documentaries, local and international productions, including classics and undiscovered recent treasures for three nights only from tonight, Thursday 12 January 2012.

    The former informal settlement 'Vietnam', where a majority of the inhabitants of Mooiwater used to live, inspired the name Cinema Vietnam. The event is the brainchild of Mzansi (a collective name for new cultural developments in South Africa) and PublicWorx (a local public artworks network). Cinema Vietnam is based on the belief that positive change can be brought about through cultural events, creating spaces for people to meet, to exchange and debate, reflection and inspiration through film and the arts.

    The programme seeks to surprise and inspire the local and visiting audience with an original selection of movies beyond the bounds of genres. This means the screening of quality productions ranging from historical dramas to musicals and documentaries to fantasy, with the intention to entertain, share new and forgotten views, tease at times or challenge fixed perceptions and at best amaze and broaden the audience's horizons.

    Among the titles selected are a number of award-winning films such as La Noire de..., Skeem, Fire in Babylon, Pumzi, Bob Marley & the Wailers - Caribbean Nights (also known as The Life and Times of Bob Marley) and Shaka Zulu.

    An interval at the half time of the screening gives the audience the chance to mingle, chat or sample local snacks at the stalls on the festive grounds. As a trial for the concept of community cinema, the evenings will be complemented by performances of local artists and DJs before and after the shows; local food and produce will be for sale as well as original local crafts.

  • - Benin - Medias: private channels are looking for finance. There are four competitors: the public broadcaster, ORTB. LC2, Golfe TV and Canal 3 have entered into tough games to keep their audience and advertising revenues.


  • One of pay-TV operator On Digital Media’s (ODM’s) largest shareholders says it will pull its 20% stake if it launches its 24-hour pornography on TopTV

    Kopano ke Matla Investment Company, the investment arm of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), made the decision after Cosatu voiced its vehement opposition to TopTV’s plan last week.

    The move could signal the death knell to TopTV’s plans to be the first to broadcast pornography in SA.
    Kopano’s announcement is the latest blow to hit ODM’s planned three-channel bouquet of adult content, which has met with scorn from various sectors.

    Cosatu warned TopTV on Thursday that if it went ahead with its plan to broadcast pornography then it would force Kopano to "disinvest".

    Correspondence from Collin Matjila, executive director of Kopano, to Cosatu stated that the TopTV board of directors had met on the matter. "The majority view (including Kopano) was the same as expressed in your (Cosatu’s) letter," the letter said.
    However, Mr Matjila said that due to the potential contractual consequences with the content suppliers — Playboy TV UK/ Benelux — it was agreed to let the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) complete the adjudication process and make a final decision.The contract includes three 24-hour channels — Playboy Europe, Private Spice and Adult XXX. Icasa is expected to rule on the application by January 31 (2012).

    However, Matjila said the board had also resolved not to appeal the decision if Icasa turned down the application. "From a Kopano perspective, we have noted the directive in your letter and will abide accordingly should this become necessary," read the statement.

    Cosatu said it believed TopTV’s plans to broadcast pornography would "exploit and demean women and girls, reinforce sexist attitudes and encourage the abuse of women, which is already a massive problem".

    "Such programmes will contribute to a lowering of moral standards in the country and further erode the revolutionary morality of our struggle movement," it said.

    Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven told Business Day the federation was happy with Kopano’s response and that it now awaited Icasa’s decision.

    TopTV vice-president for sales and marketing Marius Liebenberg did not respond to specific questions. "We are waiting for Icasa to come back to us before we can consider any further plans regarding Playboy," he said.
    A high court interdict last Monday stopped TopTV from launching the pornography service on Friday. TopTV had decided to go ahead with the launch without waiting for permission from Icasa.

    TopTV argued that it could do so because Icasa had not finalised its application within 60 days, as stipulated in its regulations. However, Icasa won an urgent court interdict barring TopTV from going ahead with the launch.

  • The public launch of digital terrestrial television in South Africa will no longer be in April 2012

    The South African Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, revealed at a press briefing today (24 January 2012) that the public launch date of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa will by pushed back.

    Previously the Department of Communications (DoC) under former minister Roy Padayachie set the DTT switch-on date for April 2012.

    Pule said today that indications are the public launch could only happen from Q3 2012. Pule said that this is only an indication, and may be revised as the digital migration progresses. The delay in switch-on will affect the cut-off date, Pule said.

    She added that they are going to work with the information and communication technology industry and try their best to ensure that “it doesn’t go way beyond the expected time.”

    The International Telecommunication Union has set the worldwide cut-off of analogue broadcasting for 17 June 2015.

    This does not mean that all analogue transmission must cease by that time, but the guideline is meant to guard against negative effects such as signal interference.

  • - The potential merger between France 24 and RFI has been blocked. Trade unions have put RFI employees on a new strike since January 16.

    - Tunisia: Funds coming indirectly to Tunisian media from the U.S. State Department programme MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative) have raised concerns locally over lack of transparency.

    - A vote promises to be a watershed moment for shareholders in Portuguese pay-TV provider Zon Multimedia (ZON.LS). The past few years have not provided an easy ride for Zon investors and the value of their investment has shriveled from more than 9 euros in late 2007 to just 2.53 by Thursday's close. On Monday they get the chance to a approve a rule change which could significantly jazz up the stock's investment appeal. The vote is likely to open the way for one of its shareholders to snap up a larger chunk of the company and, subsequently, for a merger with another key player in Portugal.

regulation & policy

  • The trial of Nabil Karoui, the owner of Tunisian channel Nessma TV, is scheduled to resume tomorrow, January 23rd. The trial will take place at the Justice Palace in the Kasbah of Tunis at 9:00 AM and will be broadcast live on Nessma TV.

    Nearly 140 lawyers filed lawsuits against Karoui for “violating sacred values” and “disturbing public order” after his station broadcast a version of the French-Iranian film Persepolis dubbed in Tunisian dialect. A scene in Persepolis features a cartoon depiction of God, considered heretical to many Muslims that make up the overwhelming majority of Tunisian society.

    The movie, aired on October 7th provoked members of Tunisia’s Salafist movement. In spite of Nabil Karoui’s apology, an angry mob torched his house on October 14th.

    Amnesty International has called the trial a violation of freedom of expression. The human rights organization released a statement on January 21st asserting the Tunisian government must drop charges against the TV boss over the Persepolis broadcast. “Putting Nabil Karoui on trial simply for screening a film which shows fantasy scenes of God is a very troubling development,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s interim Director for Middle East and North Africa.

    If convicted, Nabil Karoui may face up to three years in prison.

  • Ugandan police have shuttered 13 broadcasters since December, accusing them of misusing power supplies and equipment belonging to the state-run Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). The widespread allegations of corrupt deals between the state broadcaster and ostensibly private stations reveal more than illicit transactions - they expose a lack of independence within Uganda's broadcast sector.

    More station closures are expected. "So far they have investigated central and western Uganda," Emmanuel Gyezaho, investigative reporter for the independent Daily Monitor, told me, "but more are to come as police investigators head east."

    Police spokesperson Asuman Mugenyi said the state has lost vast amounts - estimated at millions of shillings -- in revenue from clients cutting corners and colluding with UBC staff.

    The scandal began last month after former Minister for Presidency Kabakumba Masiko bowed to parliamentary pressure and resigned after her private radio station, Kings FM, was found to have been illegally using state broadcaster equipment. Although Masiko was accused of abuse of office, the station has since been restored to the airwaves, according to local reports. It's not clear why the allegations against Masiko suddenly came to light, but local journalists have speculated that political wrangling within the ruling party played a role.

    The Kings FM scandal evolved into a wider case as the Anti-Corruption Court charged former UBC top brass with abuse of office and investigations were launched into misuse of state property. The abject misuse of office is revealing. For instance, former UBC Board Chairman Chris Katuramu is accused of stealing a UBC mast last year and moving it to another location in Kilembe, where he was constructing a mast for Voice of Toro radio, according to local reports. Police recovered the mast but Katuramu picked it up again and moved it back to Kilembe. The government suspended the former UBC board last year.

    Parliament is also questioning current UBC Managing Director Paul Kihiika over how 10 stations disconnected this month failed to pay electricity bills and how they were illegally connected to the UBC mast in the capital's suburb, Kololo.

    Some of the 10 include local broadcasters Radio Bilali, Radio Rutu, Radio Buddu, Voice of Africa, Greater African Radio, Top Radio, BFM, Better FM and WBS TV. But major international broadcasters such as the BBC, Radio France-Internationale (RFI) and Kenya's Citizen TV were also shuttered. The BBC allegedly owes around 2.4 billion Ugandan Shillings (US$1 million) in unpaid dues, according to local reports.

    BBC Corporate Communications Manager Pete Connors told me the BBC has adhered to the terms of its contract with UBC and is looking into the causes of the closure. Similarly, RFI sent a team from France last week to Uganda to investigate the claims by the UBC, RFI correspondent Tonny Singoro told me. The outcome of the investigations is pending. Citizen TV declined to comment on the matter.

    "The UBC issue is complex," said Stephen Ouma, secretary-general of the Uganda Journalist Union. "It's a mixture of UBC officials entering dubious arrangements with certain radio stations to hire the state's transmitters and masts but the proceeds are pocketed. Then there are official agreements signed with leading companies like the BBC where money has always been paid directly from London to UBC but payments cannot be traced because top officials embezzle the money."

    Pinpointing blame may be difficult, but it's clear many stations have managed to evade basic costs for years, local journalists told me. And this collusion managed to thrive due to close links many broadcasters have with the ruling party. Many leading ruling-party politicians and supporters of the party own radio stations all over the country, according to a 2010 study by the Kampala-based Africa Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), a media think-tank and training center.

    Investigations have reportedly implicated 35 ministers in suspected abuse of UBC resources, the Daily Monitor reported. "We need to start questioning the high number of private stations we have in this country," Gyezaho told me. "How do these stations get registered? How do they fund themselves? Many of these stations are owned by ruling party members -especially upcountry." (The ruling party often relies on rural, upcountry votes during elections.) The situation has gotten so tense that some politicians are actively distancing themselves from any links to the UBC. Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa publicly announced that his station, Mbabule FM, does not owe UBC anything and uses its own mast and equipment, the Monitor reported.

    "Many take advantage of the UBC by having connections with the government," ACME General Secretary and media consultant Bernard Tabaire told me. "In the past, there was this idea that if you are part of government you could use the UBC."

  • - The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) on Monday 16 January 2012 summoned a privately owned radio station for disciplinary hearing for allegedly broadcasting a programme critical of president Bingu wa Mutharika's administration.

    - 27/1/2012: It had been the talk of town for weeks but finally last weekend the Wananchi Group added Zuku to the list of pay TV providers in Tanzania.

    - South Africa on 19 January 2012: The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has responded to the Communications Workers Union’s planned strike action, which is expected to start on Friday, by warning that although it respects the right of its employees to strike those that do so will not be paid while they’re not at work. Icasa employees set to embark on indefinite strike action after negotiations over pay and benefits reached a deadlock earlier this month.

    - Tunisia: Haythem El Mekki, a famous Tunisian journalist and active blogger, is likely to be officially suspended from the 1st Tunisian National channel, El Watanya I. El Mekki runs a TV show that features humorous commentary on current political highlights. According to Business News, Sadok Bouabène, the director of the National Channel, said "It was a personal decision I made in regard to El Mekki. He [El Mekki] had promised the former director that he would abide by the rules of neutrality, but he did not stop making explicit allusions to his political ideologies."

    - Sudan: The Minister of Information, Engineer Abdalla Ali Massar, has affirmed the commitment of his ministry to enhance the laws organizing the media and press work and to unite the policies for building a strong Sudanese media system.

  • Somalia: Attacks against and intimidation of journalists in Somalia are reaching a troubling level, says a new report by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a Solidarity Center partner. The report, "Lives and Rights of Journalists under Threat," chronicles physical threats to journalists, extrajudicial killings, legal pressure, and attacks on media workers' rights… Somalia's breakaway territory Somaliland has shut down a private television station it accuses of airing anti-government propaganda, and arrested 21 journalists who protested the move.


technology & convergence

  • Since 19 January 2012, watching TV programs on a portable terminal is now possible in Senegal. The operator Sonatel-Orange has recently introduced this service to journalists. Twelve TV channels are currently available, including a bouquet of ten channels offered by Canal + Africa. The service also includes video on demand (VOD) which allows you to select content to watch later.
    To get the service, customers must be in an area covered by the 3G network, be equipped with a compatible phone with a 3G chip.In prepaid mode, users must also have at least 400 FCFA credit. Mobile TV is also available in postpaid mode under 'Orange Teranga' brand.

    The operator currently offers, at a promotional price of 49,000 CFA francs, a pack consisting of a compatible mobile TV and a prepaid SIM card.

  • NETIA announced that public national broadcaster Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) is upgrading to the Radio-Assist™ 8 range of digital audio automation software, delivered by Belgian systems integrator Studiotech. The added functionality and scalability of Radio-Assist 8 will enable CRTV to support both national and regional broadcast channels, to improve production and delivery of quality audio content, and ultimately help the broadcaster to increase its listening audience.

    "In early 2000, we made the decision to transition from analog to digital operations, and we required a radio automation system that would support that shift," said Timothée Metomo Eduma, post-production exploitation chief of service at CRTV. "Working with Studiotech, we requested an open system that would be easy for all technical and nontechnical users to adopt, and NETIA's Radio-Assist proved to be the best solution. Since its installation, the NETIA system has served us very well, and the upgrade to version 8 will provide valuable capabilities, as well as excellent ergonomics and a pleasant, intuitive GUI that distinguishes the NETIA software from its competitors."

    "NETIA's Radio-Assist 8 is a complete end-to-end solution that covers the entire production process," said Jean Marc Rosenberg, technical manager at Studiotech. "In addition to being the most intuitive, easy-to-use radio automation solution, it offers strong database management tools and optimizes security through both server redundancy and automatic synchronization of content. Finally, Radio-Assist 8 provides solid rights management tools that will be useful in CRTV's operations."

    The Radio-Assist family of digital audio software covers each part of the production and broadcast workflow, making it easy for users to record, edit, or prepare a playlist. The solution is also equipped with a broad range of tools for end-to-end multimedia workflow. The installation at CRTV will enable as many as 150 users to work with the system, thus contributing to a faster and more collaborative workflow, as well as a better end product for listeners.

    "CRTV is a very influential broadcaster within Cameroon, and we're pleased to be continuing our longstanding relationship with the company and its integrator," said Pascal Cima, export sales manager at NETIA. "The original Radio-Assist installation a decade ago and the current upgrade at CRTV demonstrate not only the flexibility and long-term value of NETIA solutions, but also the forward-looking design and development of our software offerings."     

    NETIA, a GlobeCast company, is a leading provider of software solutions that enable efficient management and delivery of content to today's full array of media platforms. Relied on by more than 10,000 users in 200 installations in more than 40 countries, NETIA solutions allow content producers and owners to manage content from ingest to delivery, targeting multiplatform outlets including the Internet, VOD, IPTV services, and mobile devices.

    NETIA provides content management solutions to major radio and television brands and multimedia groups around the world, and recent wins have made the company a significant new player in the Telco market, as well. Clients include BSkyB, RAI Italy, RTL, Radio Globo, Radio Riyadh, France Telecom/Orange, RTM Malaysia, Mediacorp Singapore, Radio France, the Associated Press, France Televisions, and L'Équipe 24/24. NETIA has its headquarters in France, with offices in the United States, Paris, Rome, and Singapore, in addition to a global network of professional distribution partners.

  • - Nigeria: Mid-Jan. 2012, DStv Mobile introduced the Walka into the Nigerian market, a DVB-H handheld TV device which enables DSTV subscribers to watch television on the move. With the new Walka device, subscribers within DSTV Mobile network coverage areas in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Ibadan, Enugu, Benin, Onitsha, Aba and Asaba will now have access to the channels on the DSTV Mobile DVB-H network.

    - As we have seen over the Middle East and African social protests, technology turns anyone with a modern mobile phone into a cameraman—and international broadcaster... Guardian Project and Witness, two non-profit groups, are developing some software called Obscuracam (available iPhone, etc). It lets mobile-phone users upload video with the metadata stripped out and people’s faces pixelated to protect their identities. Another work in progress is Informacam, which will add location information and a digital seal that shows if a file has been tampered with. That would allow someone to upload both a sanitised version for public viewing and a verified version to a secure server to provide legally solid evidence if necessary. Full story here:


  • Ramsamy Samantha has become one of the key presenters on Africa 24. Graduated from ESJ Paris, she was born in Nogent-le-Rotrou, (Perche region, Eure-et-Loir, France). Her parents Vijay and Santee (born Obeegadoo) originate from Goodlands in Mauritius. She has become central if not the joker of the ‘Interview’ show devoted to politics interview. Programme replays are available at here:

    South Africa, 17 Jan 2012: The SABC has suspended its acting chief technology officer, Gelfand Kausiyo, due to what it calls “allegations of misconduct”. Kausiyo has been acting in the position since November, having been appointed to the post following the resignation of Richard Waghorn.

    South Africa: Reg de Beer, a veteran of broadcasting and one of the cornerstones of the LM Radio team, passed away on Saturday afternoon, 21 January 2012, following a short illness.
    Nigeria: Reporters Without Borders condemns TV reporter Enenche Godwin Akogwu's targeted murder while covering a series of deadly bombings by the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram on 20 January in the northern city of Kano, and urges the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to justice.

  • Call for programmes: 31st International URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary
    Arman Trophy

    URTI organizes, with the support of UNESCO and the entirety of the international audiovisual organizations, the first audiovisual International Grand Prix. 81 countries were thus represented for the 2011 edition.

    In television, the International URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary enjoys a great renown thanks to an important participation and to selected programmes of quality (223 documentaries selected in competition by 140 channels in 2011).

    Each television channel can register for free one or two documentaries.

    Grand Prix URTI: USD 5,000 to the awarded director.
    URTI will support the international broadcast of the ten programmes with the statute of finalist by distributing in more than a hundred countries a brochure aiming to ensure their promotion and to support the sale of their rights.

    You can fill the registration form directly online on the Web site:
     and following >  Grand Prix  >  Grand Prix TV  >
    Feel free to contact the URTI team for further information

    The 8th SAARF Symposium
    - Provisional programme –
    Media Research Challenges – Dawn of a New Age:
    Measurement in a Multi-Platform Future

    Date: Wednesday 22 February 2012
    Venue: The Fairway Hotel & Golf Resort, Setperk Street, Randpark, Randburg
    Gauteng Province, South Africa

    This is the eighth SAARF Symposium to be held by SAARF to provide all our stakeholders from the advertising, marketing, media and research industries the opportunity to be informed by leading international experts in the field of Media Audience and Product/Brand Research. Attendees will be able to share in the latest thinking about our digital future and life in a multi-platform world.

    Topics such as the future of readership measurement and the status of internet audience measurement will be addressed and there will be opportunities to discuss how audience measurement is evolving to face new needs in the media landscape.

    Speakers that have been invited are from the UK, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA and are all well-known international experts and leaders in the field of media audience research.

    Leendert van Meerem, Managing Director Intomart GfK Group, The Netherlands
    Megan Clarken, Managing Director- Media; Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa -  Nielsen, Australia
    Andrew Green, Chief Marketing Officer, Ipsos MediaCT, UK
    Pete Doe, Senior Vice President, Data Integration, The Nielsen Company, USA
    Kate Bramich, Director, MediaCT, Ipsos MORI, UK

    The Symposium will take place on the Wednesday 22 February 2012 and Registration will start at 08:30.

    The Symposium will end with Cocktails and there will be sufficient time for questions and one-on-one discussions with the International speakers during breaks and during the cocktail party

    Sponsors: Companies who are interested in sponsoring towards the conference are invited to contact Fiona (  Sponsors will be acknowledged in the run-up correspondence and at the event.

    Provisional Programme
    08:30        Registration
    Chair: Dr Paul Haupt, SAARF CEO
    09:00        Opening and Welcome, Paul Haupt, SAARF CEO
    09:20        Leendert van Meerem, Managing Director Intomart GfK Group, The Netherlands
    The Digital Consumer
    The last two years has shown a dramatic growth in the development of the Digital Consumer. Smart phones and Tablets bring new functionalities that very rapidly transformed the consumer into a 24/7 mobile internet user. “Apps” is the buzzword.
    Intomart GfK monitors this development every 6 months and the changes are shown.
    Is print dead, television under threat or are these developments creating new readers, viewers and listeners? And finally, how do we measure all this in future?
    10:05        Andrew Green, Chief Marketing Officer, Ipsos MediaCT, UK
    The Future of Readership Measurement
    In this presentation, Andrew looks at some of the key measurement challenges facing newspapers and magazines, as audiences increasingly embrace digital platforms and publishers have to fight even harder for scarce advertising revenues.
    10:50        Tea/coffee/refreshments
    Chair: Dr Tiffany Tracey, Senior Technical Support Executive, SAARF
    11:20        Megan Clarken, Managing Director–Media; Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa-Nielsen, Australia
    Accountability in Digital Media
    The global trends in digital media across Online, Mobile and Social and the movement towards convergence of Media Platforms will be covered. The accountability that exists in the traditional media space and the need for this to extend across Digital Media in order to grow AdSpend, will be addressed. Examples of markets that have successfully implemented a measurement currency for Online and why this has been necessary, with specific reference to the recent Australian tender process, will be discussed. In closing, it will be shown how this fits into a converged media world and some take aways for the future will be given.
    12:05        Leendert van Meerem, Managing Director Intomart GfK Group, The Netherlands
    Internet measurement in the Netherlands
    If we look at the Web as a new separate medium it needs an audience measurement currency. In many countries the audience measurement of the Internet is under discussion. Concepts such as user centric, site centric, small panels, big panels, cookies, tags, toolbar applications, reliable measurement of private usage in the office, at work all are part of this debate.
    This discussion in the Netherlands has led to a new total approach to the Internet currency from 2012.
    12:50        Lunch
    Chair: Mpho Mathebula, Technical Support Executive
    14:00        Kate Bramich, Director, MediaCT- Ipsos MORI, UK
    Radio Measurement in a Digital UK
    This presentation will focus on the short term and long term objectives of RAJAR, the UK’s radio audience measurement survey, within the context of the UK marketplace and digital trends.
    14:45        Pete Doe, Senior Vice President, Data Integration, The Nielsen Company, USA
    Making better bets: improving targeting reliability and precision
    Using brand target data can improve the precision of advertising planning compared with standard demographic planning. However, the cost of this improved precision is predictability: more precise targets have smaller sample sizes and research findings are therefore less stable. This paper shows how we can systematically identify reliable target index data, whatever the media and the targets being considered.
    15:30        Tea/coffee/refreshments
    Chair: Dr Michelle Boehme, Technical Manager, SAARF
    16:00        To be Confirmed
    16:45        Summary and close, Michelle Boehme, Technical Manager, SAARF
    NOTE:  SAARF reserves the right to make changes to the programme as dictated by the availability of speakers or due to any other circumstances.

    Nieman-Berkman fellowship in innovative journalism open [Worldwide]

    Deadline: 15/2/2012
    Journalists worldwide working for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity can apply for a US$60,000 fellowship at Harvard.

    The Nieman Foundation for Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society will host one fellow for an academic year to carry out a research project on journalism innovation.

    Candidates must propose a project relating to journalism’s digital transformation. Examples might include ideas for new revenue streams to fund journalism, the construction of new tools for reporting or research into news consumption patterns.

    Fellows receive additional allowances for housing, childcare and health insurance.

    Applicants must submit a personal statement, project proposal, work samples, four recommendation letters and a leave of absence letter by February 15.

    The Nieman-Berkman Fellowship is open to both United States citizens and citizens of other countries.

    Candidates should either be working journalists or work for a news organization in a business, technology, or leadership capacity. Independent journalists are also welcome to apply.

    The Nieman Foundation and the Berkman Center share a commitment to diversity and encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups.

    Learn more about the requirements and stipulations for eligibility.

    For more information, click here.

    According to the African Development Bank
    today, "the middle class in Africa is about the size of the middle class in India or China." The African middle class accounted for only a quarter of the population in 1980, they now represent 34.3%. The increase is even more impressive in terms of number: they were 111 million in 1980, they were 313 million in 2010. This increase will certainly have an impact on media investment and audience research.

    The African Media Initiative (AMI)
    and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) have launched a strategic partnership to provide professional training and other forms of technical support to develop media businesses across the African continent.

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