Broadcast News

In Africa, the success of one venture is always the spur to many others launching in the same space. The high profile investment in Nigeria’s iROKO Partners seems to have driven interest in the VOD space and more launches have followed. But not all African VOD platforms are the same. Last week saw the launch of a South African platform Wabona.com. Russell Southwood spoke Wabona’s Simbarashe Mabasha and tries to understand what makes the VOD platforms different.

DISCOP Africa 2012 came back with a bang after something of a dip last year in its new venue in Johannesburg, attracting 1,248 delegates from 85 different countries. It is the one place where you can get to meet more or less anyone who’s anyone in the African TV industry. But the excitement is generated by watching new African content being born and struggling to find its place in the sun. Russell Southwood rounds up what he saw and heard last week while in attendance.

They are several international news agencies with global reporting networks but few with a strong presence in Africa with the exception of AFP, Reuters and Xinhua. Balancing Act met with AFP's Marketing Manager Sylvain Risse and International Commercial coordinator François Bohn, at AFP's HQ in Paris to highlight what AFP has been doing on the continent so far and what it can offer to African media and corporate players in the future.

Last week, Paris-based Thema officially launched a unique new TV channel for francophone markets based on Nollywood movies. Nollywood TV is part of Thema's Bouquet Africain Premium. The other novelty is that the channel offers Nollywood films entirely in French via full dubbing and not simply sub-titling or synths. The initial launch was scheduled for the start of October 2012 in France via 'Free', a popular French multiplay operator.

When it comes to getting its film and television programmes seen outside Africa, the continent needs all the help it can get. Several events and initiatives have been launched in Europe to help people get a better understanding of African cultures and their global impact. For a short list click on the link here: This year, "Out of Europe XII" / 'Filme aus Afrika' is one of them; it is the largest African film festival organized in Germany.

Piracy has been a curse on African artists, producer and broadcasters who desperately need secondary income from the sale of physical CDs. About 48 hours after a copy of a legitimate CD is in the market, it will be picked up and sold as a pirated version. Until now, Nigeria had no professional distribution system but has relied on the “marketeers”. Russell Southwood talks to Lanre Dabiri, Iman Entertainment about the CD film and music distribution system he has launched.

As TV and radio broadcast markets intensify across several liberalized African countries, broadcasters need to find solutions to create more interactive communication with their audiences and build loyalty among them. SMS is one of those. There are a few SMS management software available out there but FrontlineSMS, a rather discreet solution provider has already been in the front line to support several African broadcasters.

This week, Sylvain Beletre, Senior Analyst at 'Balancing Act' interviewed Christopher Mason from 'NHU Africa', a commissioning body and production house that has shown that making quality African programs in this genre can pay off.

Q: What is NHU Africa all about?

A: Located in South Africa, the Natural History Unit of Africa (NHU Africa) commissions and produces wildlife and natural history documentaries in Africa for national and international distribution. 

With about 650 delegates this year, Broadcast Film and Music Africa conference took place last week at the Oshwal Centre, located in the Nairobi Central Business District, Kenya on 10-11 July 2012. Dr Ann Overbergh reports on who said what and future trends.