Issue no 127 12 April 2012

top story

  • Nollywood may be the planet’s third biggest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood but it is feeling the squeeze. Despite the brio with which it churns out new films, times are hard and the returns are not good. A sign of this pressure is that this week the Film, Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) declared that it would try and stop DStv’s Africa Magic channel from showing Nollywood films before they were released elsewhere. Russell Southwood look at Nollywood’s success has been its own downfall in some ways.

    Many Nollywood productions are actually shot as 13 episodes for a TV series. Production budgets are extremely flexible and productions are completed with within 4-6 weeks. Because the production cost is for a series, the overall production cost is lower than it might be for a one-off production (US$10,000-15,000). Marketing spend is left largely in the hands of the “marketer” (distributor) and not much is spent.

    The majority of revenues come from selling VCDs or DVDs through a distributor who takes between 50-66% of the revenues from sales. The level of sales required is high and is particularly vulnerable to being undermined by the selling of pirated copies. Sales range from as low as 10,000 to around 2 million, although increasingly the big run sales have not happened.

    Although there are a small number of cinemas in Nigeria, these have until recently played little or no role in generating revenues for producers. There are two large multiplexes in Lagos, mostly attended by the young middle-class. The majority of the films projected are Hollywood movies. There are only a dozen formal cinemas in the major Nigerian cities and 99 percent of screenings are therefore in informal settings therefore box office receipts remain marginal.

    Most film viewings take place in informal video parlors throughout the country. Video parlors are usually small huts, barracks or community halls where local entrepreneurs buy a TV set and VCR or VCD player, and play the film for a small fee to each viewer. According to the NFVCB, there are 68,412 registered video parlors with a further 200,000 unofficial parlors. So it is not that there is not a market for publicly viewed cinema, it is just that it is not available at a price the population can afford.

     This week the Nigerian movie marketers under the aegis of Film, Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) announced unilaterally that from May 1, no movie that is capable of being released through their “conventional distribution channel” would be assigned to any broadcast station in the country.

    FVPMAN said they will formally write to DSTV and other pay TV stations operating in the country about their decision, stressing that the activities of these broadcast stations have not only reduced the purchase of Nollywood movies but also, have affected the entire business of movie making. Since the number of Pay TV subscribers (even including those who pirate a signal) is relatively modest, this is tantamount to blaming the wrong person. The tail that should be put on the donkey is on the chaotic “conventional distribution channel” which outlined above. Also since a good number of Nollywood productions are made for Free To Air broadcast, it is hard to see how this release window proposal can really be enforced.

    FVPMAN should really look to put their own house in order and craft a strategy that expanded the amount of revenues Nollywood producers got from cinemas (by encouraging their expansion) and found ways of recovering income from the informal video booths. Depressingly, neither is likely to happen any time soon.


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

    A bumper crop of video clips this week on Balancing Act’s You Tube channel:

    Helen Kuun, Indigenous Film Distribution on the African films she wants to distribute

    Jeremy Nathan, CEO, DV8 on its new crime series for MNet, Mshika-Shika and its feature film, Layla Fourie, directed by Pia Marias with Pandora Films

    Deon Maas, Meerkat Productions on its latest film, Punk in Africa

    Bertil van Vugt, Manager, Africa Interactive
    on its series, Spark Africa

    Cajetan Boy, film-maker and script-writer on the importance of script-writing in Kenya

    Kennedy Odhiambo on the online Africa Slum Journal

    Chiaka Orjiako, Editor, FilmBizAfrica on giving a face to African film

    Kenyan film-maker Atieno Odenyo on her new documentary project Nusu Nusu

    Roukaya Kasenally, Director of Communications, African Media Initiative on its new mobile news apps incubator


  • 24th to 28th April 2012
    The Douala Audiovisual Meetings (3rd RADO) - 2012 EDITION

    Venue: Douala
    Summary: Producers, broadcasters, professionals, journalists and audiovisual partners are informed that the 3rd Douala Audiovisual Meetings (Rado) will be held under the theme "People, Images and Development". Feature (up to 120 min) and short films (up to 40 min) produced and released between December 2010 and December 2011 are eligible to apply for the 2012 celebration of African Cinema. All films must indicate year of copyright.
    Contact: For more info and to submit your work, please check here  or email Deadline: March 1, 2012

    21 - 24 May 2012
    The TV Show Africa 2012
    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.
    For more information click here:

    21 - 24 May 2012
    SatCom Africa 2012
    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.
    Africa’s main satellite communication conference and exhibition.
    For more information click here:

    23 - 25 May 2012
    eLearning Africa 2012 (eLA)
    Venue: Palais des Congres, Cotonou, Benin
    Meeting the networking needs of the pan-African eLearning and distance education sector (including the broadcast-TV/Radio segment), the annual eLearning Africa conference is the key networking venue for practitioners and professionals from Africa and all over the world.
    For more information click here:

    7 - 15 July, 2012
    Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)
    Venue: Zanzibar
    15th Festival of the Dhow Countries - East Africa’s largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African and International creative works on the theme When Global Images Meet in Zanzibar. For more information click here:

    19 - 29 JULY
    33rd DIFF 2012
    venue: Durban, South AfricaS.A.'s longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival runs across 12 days.
    For more information click here:

    1 - 11 August 2012
    Open Doors 2012: Francophone Sub-saharan Africa

    Venue: the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno
    The next edition of Open Doors, the Festival del film Locarno’s co-production lab, will be devoted to francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. Application forms for Open Doors 2012 are available on
    The finalist projects will be presented at the co-production lab Open Doors (August 4 – 7), whose mission is to bring professionals from the chosen region into contact with potential, mainly European, partners, in order to bring their projects to fruition.
    For more information on call for entries, click here: 

    1 – 11, August 2012.
    The 65th edition of the Festival del film Locarno

    Venue: the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno
    For more information click here:

    26-29 Aug. 2012
    14th PAMRO meeting - 2012

    Venue: Uganda   
    Contact: PAMRO Secretariat, or visit the website here:

    8-11 October 2012
    The world's entertainment content market

    Venue: Cannes, France
    For more information click here:

    13th to 21st October 2012
    9th edition of FCAT Córdoba African Film Festival
    Venue: Córdoba, Spain
    Summary: The Spanish city of Córdoba and Al Tarab (the NGO behind FCAT) announce changes in both the host city and dates for the 2012 edition. The Festival, which has been held since 2004 in Tarifa, Spain, will now take place every Fall in Córdoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, craded of civilizations and cultures for over 2000 years. Call for entries now available on their website. Deadline: May 15, 2012.
    Contact: For more information, contact Marion Berger at Fcat.

    30th & 31st October 2012
    IP&TV ME and North Africa 2012

    The IP&TV Forum MENA 2012 is the main IPTV event in the region.
    Venue: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
    For more information click here:

    27 - 28 November, 2012

    Venue: Dubai Int’l Convention and Exhibition Centre
    The event will be held Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and is the leading international entertainment content show in the Middle East & North Africa region.
    For more information click here:


  • Filmmakers Jessica Vale and Nika Offenbac are at the tail end of a widely popular Kickstarter campaign to raise finishing funds for their feature documentary 'Small small Thing'.

    'Small small Thing' follows Olivia, a young girl in Liberia who was raped at the tender age of 7. Adding to the emotional scars of such brutality, she developed a severe fistula. Believing witchcraft to be the cause of her injuries, Olivia's mother, Bendu, hides her in a jungle hut for 2 years as the fistula turns life threatening.

    When Olivia is finally found, a group of US doctors determine her injuries to be caused by rape and route her colon to a colostomy bag. This revelation starts Olivia and her mother on a very difficult path to seek justice. With the misguided involvement of both the UN and President Sirleaf, Olivia's story exposes the holes in President Sirleaf's women's rights record. A record which got her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, despite rape still being the number #1 reported crime in her country, with the majority of victims being under age 12.

    A letter sent to the filmmakers states:

    "People from our country have had tons of experiences with rape. I personally have never talked about mine because I thought it was my fault. My little niece was also raped, and thought it was her fault too. Thanks again to you all for focusing on this topic that almost every woman in Liberia has experience and is afraid to talk about, because we feel like it is a taboo.

    God led you to Liberia, and had you caught up in that hospital for a good reason. His intention was to use little Olivia to be the voice for all of us who are now adults, who have been afraid to speak up for so many years."

    Vale and Offenbac, both veterans of the film industry, have self produced this documentary over the course of 3 years. With the help of Barnie Jones, a native Liberian, they are near completion.

    'Small small Thing' has been featured on ABC World News Now, and continues to gain momentum. The filmmakers also have plans to take a short educational version of the film back to Liberia, to teach young women about the options available to victims of sexual abuse


  • In the world's youngest country, South Sudan, a film industry is slowly taking shape with the appearance of the first locally-produced film, Jamila. Welcome to Jollywood.

    "I am pregnant," states a teary-eyed Jamila. "I'm not the one who's pregnant," replies Juma coldly. "But you refused to use a condom," screams the woman. Jamila and Juma are characters in a movie about how older men use money and connections to get young women in bed.

    This story of so-called sugar daddies could have been filmed anywhere in Africa. However the film Jamilia is a pure South Sudanese production, the first of its kind in the newest country of the world that will be celebrating its first year of Independence in July.

    Jamila is produced by Woyee Film & Theatre Industry, a collective of 70 young South Sudanese. It started with the core of this group in 2000 when they were teenagers in Kakuma, a refugee camp in the north of Kenya. They had all fled the war between North and South Sudan. Some with their parents, others were orphans or simply had lost their parents on the way to safety. To kill time in the refugee camp they formed a theatre group. When the NGO, FilmAid International, came to Kakuma these teens then got a chance to learn how to make movies.

    After peace was established in 2005, the members of Woyee returned to South Sudan but kept working together on theatre and film projects. Some have jobs and others are still students. "It's not easy, because in a new country like ours there is really no money for arts and culture," explains Daniel Danis in the small office of Woyee on the premises of Nyakuron, the cultural centre in the capital Juba. The 300 dollars the collective pays for the office comes out of their own pockets.

    "We made no money with Jamila, nor do we get any subsidies from the government. We just try to survive and hope one day to find a sponsor who can help us produce more," says Daniel Danis, a radio journalist. Woyee does rent out its camera equipment to make some money, but for now they focus on theatre, because it's cheaper than making films or short movies. "We can do a lot with educating the population. There are so many issues we face in South Sudan like violence and HIV. And theatre is a very good tool for this," says Danis.

    Watching a movie is a luxury in a country where electricity is scarce. The only cinema in Juba was destroyed during the war. Last year the French cultural centre organised screenings of several European films with a generator-powered projector and an open air screen. Against the backdrop of a huge acacia tree on the premises of the dilapidated University of Juba, the showings were packed every night.

  • The eruption of the Arab Spring sent shockwaves around the world as digital images of protest and violence provided an instant depiction of unfolding events. It continues to do so as distressing web videos expose the savagery of the Syrian army's continuing crackdown, and cameras in Tahrir Square capture clashes between ordinary Egyptians and the police.

    A number of film-makers have tried to chronicle the changes sweeping the region. In recent months, documentaries from Egypt, Yemen, Morocco and Algeria have been shown at film festivals in Rotterdam and Berlin. Many reveal the aftershock of revolution and the numbing reality of people slowly enacting historic change against immovable state machinery. A number were filmed in the mayhem of the front line and have a YouTube quality to them. Hand-held cameras run through Tahrir Square; in Sana'a, the lens tracks protesting Yemenis fleeing gunfire from government troops across Change Square. Disciplined narrative is sometimes the first victim of this onscreen commotion. The films are impressions, rather than conclusive essays.

    Directed by Petr Lom, Back to the Square visits Cairo one year after the departure of Hosni Mubarak. Lom, who has previously examined human rights issues in China and Kyrgyzstan, looks at the lives of Egyptians who have fallen victim to the tightening noose of army control. He begins the film by trying to track down a baby called Facebook, hastily named by her father Gamal Ibrahim to honour the role of the social networking site in fomenting protest, a quest that fails as the child proves elusive.

    The film then shifts focus to examine the traumas of five Cairenes caught up in the chaos: an illiterate young boy who survives by selling decorative pyramids to tourists; a minibus driver arrested by the police who has acid scars from his interrogation; a young woman forced to endure a virginity test; an ex-convict tortured after being held in the police crackdown; and Maikel Nabil, a blogger sentenced to three years in jail for criticising the regime. As Mohammed, the former offender says: 'You removed the head, but the rest of the corruption remains. It's like a disease. You get rid of a part of it, but it keeps spreading all over your body.'

    Since the documentary was completed, Egypt has moved on, seeing renewed protests in Tahrir Square, attacks on Christians and an electoral victory by the Muslim Brotherhood. 'There is always a risk when covering a current affairs subject,' says Lom. 'I ended up choosing stories that are timeless. In the case of Egypt, these are also ongoing stories. These are unresolved issues that are shifting targets. In some cases, they have not been covered at all by the mainstream media. I was surprised not to have seen any in-depth reporting on the army, or the police, or the Ministry of Interior.'

     The Arab Spring has provided unique challenges to documentary-makers. A dearth of available finance, exacerbated by the global recession, has had a detrimental effect. At the same time, the evolution of digital tools - lighter, more powerful cameras and affordable editing software - has seen documentary crews shrink in size. Directors who once travelled with teams now fulfil the role of camera person, sound technician, cinematographer and editor themselves. But the sheer scale of the protests, and the bloody reprisals, has meant documentary-makers, with little or no official affiliation to news organisations, face real dangers. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 21 media professionals were killed in the Arab uprisings in the past year.

    In the past decade, those once narrow streets of analogue film-making have been replaced by never-ending digital highways. News organisations now find themselves scrambling daily to respond to clips uploaded from Homs, Benghazi and Cairo; and why bother with trying to sell a new documentary to a finance-starved TV station, when its conception, creation and delivery can be shared across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube? Online channels such as Festival Scope function as TV stations, hosting hundreds of films from across the world.

    The speed of events poses time challenges as well. The Reluctant Revolutionary, directed by British film-maker Sean McAllister, examines the story of Kais, a 35-year-old tour guide who is initially wary of the protests against Ali Abdullah Saleh, the President of Yemen. McAllister filmed the documentary on his own. 'The problem with the commissioning process is that you have to wait for other people ... then health and safety,' he says. 'When I went to Yemen, the revolution wasn't really kicking in. I went over as a tourist. And that is how Kais helped me stay there on a tourist visa.'

    The Reluctant Revolutionary follows the transformation of Kais from a non-committal bystander to a critic of Saleh. The film's climax lies in footage shot on the 'Friday of Dignity massacre', during which government troops killed 52 protesters. 'It was more or less just me,' says McAllister, who witnessed the event.

    So what will be the fate of his film? 'On one level it is getting harder to make documentaries pay. I have to be very creative when it comes to finding money.' The Reluctant Revolutionary will be screened at film festivals throughout the year and may also be shown to members of the Yemeni community in the UK - but McAllister is unsure if it will find an audience. 'These days, most people are looking immediately at instantaneously uploaded videos from an hour ago. There is a glut of it now from many of the Arab Spring countries - but it has no crafted style or narrative to it.'

    McAllister may have hit on a point. The importance of a narrative thread was well understood by those at Thames Television who commissioned The World at War. The 26-part series took four years and an army of researchers to produce. It was first broadcast in 1973, nearly 30 years after the fighting in the trenches of Europe had stopped. Mobile phones have their limitations; history is not instantly uploaded.

  • The film industry in South Africa is one of our country’s most dynamic industries, mostly because of the passion and commitment of our filmmakers.

    DStv’s contribution towards the film industry comprises of:

     • The DStv Film Skills Development Programme- which provides training for up and coming filmmakers

    • DStv Film Talent Celebration Competition- which recognises and highlights the amazing talent of new and seasoned filmmakers

    It is very proud of the winners of the DStv Film Talent Celebration Competition- as well as the 26 up and coming filmmakers who graduated from the company’s filmmaking training programme this year.

    There were six categories in the competition and the winners were:

    1. Sakhumzi Mati, Best Director for Ibhayibhile – The Bible ;

    2. Kabelo Molefe, Best Editor for Thandeka Faku;

    3. Tim Apter, Best Sound for Astray;

    4. Michael Matthews, Best Cinematography for Fortabt – Loss of Love ,and

    5. Christopher Bisset, Best Newcomer for A procura de Pancho (Looking for Pancho).

    6. Vukile Ngcingwana, Sakhumzi Mati and Siyabonga Jim, Best Overall Production for their film Ibhayibhile – The Bible.


  • - 3 April 2012 in São Tomé: Angola's Media vice minister, Manuel Miguel de Carvalho "Wadijimbi", inaugurated on Monday in Sao Tome and Principe the television programme dubbed "Hora Angola" dealing with daily life, reconstruction and Development of Angola, ANGOP has learnt. The daily programme will be broadcast by the local television and will debate themes linked to Angola's regions and economy. The director of the local television (TVS), Oscar Medeiros, said it is a manner of boosting the co-operation between the public televisions of Angola and Sao Tome and Principe, as well as the two African countries.

    - Al Jazeera is taking aim at using sport to build a global media brand. The broadcaster is already no novice at sports coverage. In the past decade, it has built the most popular sports network in the Middle East and Africa, with two free and 15 pay channels, plus an English version with a dozen commentators and producers.

    - The 21st Cairo International Film Festival for Children (CIFFC) concluded activities on Friday 30/03/2012 in the Grand Theatre at the Opera House. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Nadia el-Kholi, the president of the festival on behalf of Minister of Culture Shaker Abdul Hameed who is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates. This year's edition hosted 351 short, feature and animated films. Held under the slogan of "The children's world is changing", the festival saw the participation of 68 Arab and foreign countries. (Egypt State Information Service in Cairo, 31 March 2012).


  • Africa’s broadcast, film and music industries are increasingly developing synergies and merging through the power of electronic media.

    Broadcast, Film and Music in Africa 2012 - BFMA is the continent’s only business and technology event to serve this industry through an integrated educational and marketing platform. Due to the success of previous editions, “Broadcast, Film and Music Africa” conference will take place on 10-11 July 2012 in Oshwal Centre Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.

    Broadcast & Film Africa 2012 will be the fifth year AITEC have organised this 4th conference and exhibition in Nairobi. Over 50 broadcast and film experts will share knowledge and trade at the business and technology event for creative content and electronic media in Africa. The organiser started some initial planning activities with key players, the press and local production and media companies.

    There are plenty of companies in film and production in Kenya who can benefit from networking over this conference. To name a few, Cinematic Solutions, HARTO, Immortal Media, Airpress Communications, Digital Dialect Designs, Sigi Tolo Media Inc, Anto Dezigns, Senzafine, Arc Rotate Studios, Digitall Definitions, Rift 3D, RiverWood Ensemble, Balozi Productions, Mojo Productions, Immortal Media, Chomoka Studio, Homeboyz Animation, Immortal Jellyfish, and Sleek Dimension.

    To attend, sponsor, propose a presentation or participate in a panel discussion, contact



    Tel: +44 (0) 1480 880774

  • Sky News Arabia, the latest 24-hour rolling news channel for the Arabic speaking market, is to be unveiled across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on 6 May 2012.

    The TV channel will be available free to air on transponder 14 on Arabsat Badr 4, transponder 15 on Nilesat 201, and in high definition (HD) as part of the OSN pay-TV bouquet. In addition, viewers in the UAE will be able to receive Sky News Arabia via the internet protocol television (IPTV) services offered by Du and Etisalat.

    "The Sky News Arabia idea was born more than two years ago. Our aim has been to create an impartial and independent breaking news channel for the Arab world across multiple platforms. It has been a huge collaborative team effort resulting in the most technically advanced news operation in the region. We have nearly 400 of the best journalists, reporters, presenters, producers and broadcast technicians working together to create an unparalleled news channel," said Nart Bouran, head of Sky News Arabia.

    "Sky News Arabia will offer the MENA region a fresh approach to television news with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do."

    The channel will be supported by an Editorial Advisory Committee, comprising Dr Sulaiman Al Hattlan, chief executive, Arab Strategy Forum; Roger Alton, executive editor, The Times; Chris Birkett, executive editor, Sky News; Ahmed Al Blooshi, director general, Emirates Media Inc; Nart Bouran, head, Sky News Arabia; Martin Edelman, counsel, Paul Hastings LLP; and James Zogby, author of Arab Voices and founder and president of the Arab American Institute.

    "We are looking forward to working with Sky News Arabia to support the channel's aim to present an independent evaluation of the news agenda, free of external influence," said the committee's chairman, James Zogby.

    "It will have clear, unambiguous standards, upheld by an editorial charter that sets the framework for world-class news delivery as well as creating a new culture for Arab journalism."

    Now in 24-hour rehearsal mode, the Abu Dhabi-based broadcaster is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Company (ADMIC) and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is the largest shareholder.

    The channel will compete against popular pan-Arab satellite networks such as Qatar-based Al Jazeera and MBC's Al Arabiya, as well as a host of Arab language news channels from international broadcasters such as the BBC, France 24, and Russia Today.

    Saudi billionaire and significant News Corp shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is also in the process of setting up another Arabic news channel in conjunction with Bloomberg. Based in Bahrain, Al Arab TV is expected to launch in December 2012.

    Meanwhile, the Sky News Arabia website launched in Beta format in February, and the channel has already attracted over 100,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter.

  • South Africa: The live TV ratings from EFC AFRICA’s most recent event on March 2 blew other sports ratings away, clocking a peak audience of over 1.6 million and pulling 25.9% of the total available South African TV audience (SABC, and DSTV combined).

    Comparing EFC AFRICA to other locally aired sport, these are some of the highest recorded figures so far this year.

    And, when comparing the live broadcast to sport events in the last 12 months, EFC AFRICA:

    • Pulls a peak audience of over 70 times more viewers than live boxing on SuperSport

    • Commands 10 times more viewers than the Nedbank Golf Challenge

    • Draws a larger TV audience than Tri-Nations rugby on SuperSport

    • Almost doubles the ratings from Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup rugby

    • Pulls a larger average audience share than all cricket games including international ODIs, Pro20s and Test matches

    The live broadcast of EFC AFRICA increased’s usual viewership for that timeslot by a massive 31.5%, proving just how popular the sport is. The viewer demographic crosses all race and income groups, reflecting broad market appeal across South Africa’s population.

    “Traditionally popular sports such as rugby and cricket don’t even get anywhere near the ratings that we achieved on our first live broadcast,” says EFC AFRICA president Cairo Howarth. “You don’t get much more mainstream than this!”

    Plus, the staggering ratings from the live broadcast of EFC AFRICA only took into account the South African audience, so with broadcasting into 49 countries across Africa, the true number of fans who tuned in to watch Africa’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion was vastly higher.

    Even comparing EFC AFRICA to’s flagship show, WWE, the African MMA promotion again comes out tops, drawing higher viewership when pitted against WWE broadcasts in similar timeslots (after 21:00).

    “It is very exciting to see that viewers have taken to this sport and our brand so quickly,” says Howarth. “There is a huge following for WWE across the continent and we are rapidly converting those fans into EFC AFRICA fans.”

    With vast sporting knowledge and experience, EFC AFRICA commentator and sports personality Sias du Plessis emphasizes the massive impact that EFC AFRICA has already had on African sport. “I am delighted to be involved with the continent’s fastest growing sport as EFC AFRICA captures the imaginations of millions of people who are tired of the conventional full contact sports like boxing and wrestling. EFC AFRICA is what the new generations of fight fan want to see. The fact that the promotion involves athletes from the entire continent is massive for the sport, and these are exciting times for MMA in Africa!"

    In just over two years, EFC AFRICA has grown its brand and fan base at such a rapid pace that it is now one of the most watched sports in Africa. Never before has the continent witnessed a sport become so popular in such a short time.

    According to SAIL commercial manager for EFC AFRICA, Kieren Jacobsen, Africa’s most exciting combat sport has incredibly promising prospects. “These latest television ratings re-enforce what we already knew, that EFC AFRICA has broken into the mass audience on the continent. Given the popularity and commercial success of other sports like football, rugby and cricket, we are very excited about EFC AFRICA’s future.”

    The next live event, EFC AFRICA 13, is on April 13 at GrandWest Arena in Cape Town. Tickets are on sale now at Computicket and Nu Metro cinemas, and the main card bouts will be broadcast live on from 22:30, including the welterweight title fight between champion Dallas Jakobi and challenger Jadyson Costa.

  • The chairman of the parliamentary committee on media, information and communication technology claimed that ZANU PF is 'too scared' to open up the country's airwaves.

     Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC-T MP for Mbizvo in KweKwe, said while the press has opened up in a number of ways in the wake of the GPA, reform of the electronic media is still very much an uphill battle. The MP pointed out that Zimbabwe, which gained independence in 1980, lags behind countries like South Africa and Namibia, that attained independence well after Zimbabwe but are forging ahead with multiple, independent TV and radio stations.

    The legislator said his committee will summon Webster Shamu, the Information Minister to interrogate him on why he has failed to implement the reforms, as directed by the principals to the GPA. 'The ZANU PF side of government developed cold feet to open up the airwaves, while there is defiance by Shamu to licence independent radio and television stations,' Chikwinya said.

    The MP, one of the rising stars in the MDC-T, said that the free flow of information can help empower individuals to take full control of their aspirations and enable them to shape their political and social concerns.

    'The moment you issue out licences to broadcasters with independent editorial policies, the people of Zimbabwe will become more informed and make better choices which are most likely not going to be in favour of ZANU PF.

    'The media environment is such that journalists still face government repression and state media still largely acts as a government mouthpiece,' the MP added.

    Chikwinya said an increased media space provides alternative and multiple sources of information that can help electorates make informed choices before any poll, such as Zimbabwe's next general election.

    Chikwenya went on to say: 'But what you a get is a shameful disclosure by a ZANU PF MP that he has banned people in his constituency from reading independent newspapers or listening to radio stations like SW Radio Africa and Studio 7.

    'I was present when the MP said that during a media debate in Kariba but I'm also happy to note that MPs from his party strongly disapproved and rebuked him for saying that.'

    Zachariah Ziyambi is the ZANU PF MP for Chakari in the Midlands who shocked fellow MPs during a media workshop organized by MISA-Zimbabwe, when he disclosed that members in his constituency are banned from tuning in to foreign based radio stations.

    SW Radio Africa
  • - South Africa : Saarf has released the AMPS December 2011, covering the media, product and brand consumption habits of South Africa's adults over the past year. Results show that in 2011 audiences were maintained. This AMPS release uses the new 2011 population updates from IHS Global Insight estimates. These updates, which see the adult 15+ population growing by 2.7%, have had a significant impact on the AMPS Dec 11 results. The industry should carefully examine these population changes, bearing them in mind when dealing with changed audience results.

    - The 14th PAMRO meeting and All Africa Media Research Conference will be held in Uganda on 26 – 29 August 2012.

    - As part of a concerted effort to improve the marketing of its content offering, South African satellite pay-TV operator TopTV unveiled its upcoming programming to the media on 3 April 2012 at the Clico Guest House in Rosebank, Johannesburg and later on at MIPTV. As a SAARF member, the network is in the process of implementing its own audience measurement channel. It had just added two new channels to its bouquet – African Movie Channel (AMC) and NHK World TV. PVR is not yet on the map. Top TV may be shedding channels and in need of a cash injection from its shareholders, but it continues to gain subscribers.

    - Sun TV Network Limited broadcasts a bouquet of 32 top-rated channels in four Indian languages. Reaching more than 95 million households in India, SUN TV Network’s channels can also be viewed across the world, including in South Africa.

    - Ghana Women Awards, aimed at celebrating the success of women of excellence in various facets of the Ghanaian society, is set to be staged on the 1st of July, 2012, Ghana's Republic Day. This was disclosed by the event's organizers, Brein Consult. According to the organizers, this year's edition of the annual event promises to get even bigger and better as it partners with African tradition oriented television station, TV Africa (28 March 2012). The Ghana Women Awards is powered by Brein Consult in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and TV Africa with support from BUZZGH Communications.


  • AFL online has been on beta test for about a year. Mnet finally and officially announced its launch just on time for MIPTV.

    On 26 March 2012, M-Net – the multi-channel Pan-African content provider – has brought the best of African cinema to the world with the launch of the African Film Library , a video-on-demand service, offering the world’s largest ever collection of award-winning African film content. The launch is the culmination of a project which began more than three years ago and has seen the digitisation and restoration of the continent’s finest cinematic titles.

    Managed by DStv Online – Africa’s multi-channel digital satellite online TV service, part of M-Net’s parent company MultiChoice – the AFL features films and documentaries from across the continent. The aggregation of this content makes it accessible to viewers worldwide in a move which aims to drive the growth and development of African and African Diaspora film markets across all media platforms. The AFL also delivers an important new digital source of revenue for catalogue content and filmmakers, where in the past there had been limited exposure opportunities for African films that had completed their commercial cycle.

    The catalogue currently has 110 titles available, which users are able to download or rent by registering and purchasing credits. They are then able to watch the film multiple times within the 24-hours. Following the initial launch the catalogue will expand to include around 700 titles and will focus on various themes and profile renowned African personalities and directors. The AFL has been given endorsements from top African cineastes and film talent who have entrusted their films, and the selection of influential directors includes:

    Legend of African film, Ousmane Sembene - Borom Sarret, La Noire De…

    Egypt’s Youssef Chahine - Le Destin and Alexandrie encore et toujours

    Senegal’s Djibril Diop - Badou Boy, Hyenes, Le Franc and Touki Bouki

    Mike Dearham, Head of Sales & Library, M-Net says: “We have been working on building and developing the AFL for three years, and to now see our labour of love launch to the world feels incredible.

    The AFL is a testament to the work M-Net has put in to making these films available and also to the strength of the African production industry. Without a doubt, the advent of digitisation has catalysed the pace and quality of our documentary production and the AFL is an important step in supporting our industry’s continued growth on the world stage. In making this content digitally accessible we are able to reach audiences right across the African Diaspora as well as to individuals with an interest in the continent’s wealth of culture, history and film – showcasing the quality of African film to the global audience and challenging preconceptions.”

    In October 1986 the face of South African television changed forever when Electronic Media Network (M-Net) launched the country’s first terrestrial pay-television channel. As broadcasting technology has developed over the years, M-Net has evolved from its analogue broadcast beginnings into a multi-channel Pan-African content-provider, delivering top programming on a variety of platforms. M-Net has become renowned for its diverse programming and groundbreaking television content, featuring a mix of international series and movies with high-quality local programming.

    In recent years, M-Net has embraced new technology and has continued to be a pioneer in content development for new platforms. With the 2006 launch of DStv mobile – a digital video broadcast of live TV channels to enabled mobile phones – and M-Mobile, which provides 3G content on-demand to mobile phones, M-Net and its channels started to venture down new broadcast avenues. Since December 2007, M-Net viewers on DStv have also been able to enjoy the benefits of Catch-up TV with the launch of DStv on Demand, a free video-on-demand service to PVR and PC. From 2008, M-Net has produced a number of local shows for DStv’s High Definition channels.

  • A24 Media has formed a partnership with NBS News in India. With this, news coverage from the Indian sub-continent will be made available to emerging Africa. It will also create an opportunity for Indian broadcasters to access A24 Media’s coverage of the African continent.

    Speaking on the partnership, Sidheswar Misra, COO, NBS News said, “We see great potential in the African content of A24 Media and this will be the first time Indian news television audience will get to view Africa’s rich history, culture, wildlife and development. We look forward to working closely with the A24 Media production team to create interesting customised content for Indian viewers.”

    With a huge Indian diaspora across Africa, TV stations here will be able to finally serve that wealthy demographic with news of bollywood celebrities, cricket stars and political heavyweights. NBS’ digital content will be in greater demand as African broadcasters make the change from analogue and new channels look for unique programming.

    Asif Sheikh, CEO, A24 Media, shared that NBS News had been a pioneer in multi-platform efforts which made it an ideal partner for A24 Media.

    In a separate communiqué, it was announced that Indian TV channel NDTV Good Times has reached a content deal with A24 Media Africa for the latter to distribute shows such as Guilt Free, Nirvana Travels and Highway on My Plate in Africa.

    It follows an earlier partnership between South Africa's Saffron TV and the NDTV 24x7 news channel.

    "Our partnership with A24 Media is another endeavour by the channel to reach out to audiences across the globe. We are sure that the audiences in Africa would enjoy our programs, showcasing the best in food, lifestyle and luxury," says Smeeta Chakrabarti, chief executive, NDTV Lifestyle.

    Atul Seth, vice president of development, NDTV Lifestyle added: "At NDTV Good Times we always seek to formulate lifestyle shows which are fresh and compelling to our global audience. Our partnership with the A24 Media is a part of our commitment to take the channel to audiences across geographies. We are confident that our viewers in Africa would enjoy our award winning shows."

    A24 Media
  • BBC Worldwide unveiled major wildlife series Planet Earth Live today at MIPTV.

    The corporation described it as the biggest live wildlife broadcast they had ever undertaken. The series is being made by the BBC’s Natural History Unit and is billed as “an epic live story following the critical life stages in some of the Earth’s most charismatic animals”.

    Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond will host the series from Africa while Countryfile’s Julia Bradbury will co-host from North America. They will be joined by animal experts and a wildlife camera crew, which will use real-time filming techniques and up-close footage, shot in high definition.

    It will follow the lives of a range of animals, including baby elephants in Kenya, black bears in Minnesota, macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka and grey whales in the Pacific. Airing on BBC1, it will air simultaneously to a global audience.


  • - ESPN has made the announced of a new deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) to bring viewers live television coverage of the AFL Premiership in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada and sub-saharan Africa. Additionally, it has secured co-exclusive live television rights in the Caribbean and Israel.

    - Just 3 day’s before AFL’s official launch (see story 1 in this section),

    - MIPTV: South African broadcaster M-Net plans for diversification; it is expanding into formats. The company brought Piano Piano, a competition format where a house pianist competes against challengers in a musical duel, to market this time and wants to do more in the future – an unusual step for a company from this part of the world more accustomed to importing such ideas. Mike Dearham, Head of Sales and Library at M-Net, said: “The idea of us getting involved in formats is multi-layered. It’s a first event for us. When you look at Minute to Win It, it took 854 days from concept to first sale, so it’s a fast-growing market but you have to be patient and diligent. African creators coming into the space have to understand it’s no quick win – it’s a journey.”


  • The African Football Exec. Summit will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 18-19  April 2012.

    The purpose is to?“Driving new investment, good business practises & technical issues to enhance sustainable development in African football”.

    Following the success of the 2011 edition, the “African Football Exec. Summit  2012” will discuss the issues players face in implementing efficient, cost-effective, and innovative solutions to ensure the football business is performing professionally, efficiently and profitably.

    The summit will explore the business side of African football which is geared towards enhancing the revenue potential of football clubs, federations, brands and other stakeholders through strategic planning, investment strategies, incisive marketing and branding practises. The Summit also presents a player and technical focus and examines grassroots developments of the game in Africa

    African Football Executive Summit also attracts football personalities, past and present and includes a range of networking options such as the drink evenings, networking lunches, workshops, one to one meetings and an exhibition area to showcase the latest football related equipment, technologies and services.

    The inaugural, successful African Football Executive Summit  was held in Accra, Ghana (26-27 May 2011). It attracted 150 high level football and business executives from Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Switzerland.?

    Attend African Football Executive Summit 2012 to discuss: ??

    · Ways to attract investment in and improve the business side of football in Africa?

    · The role of TV in making African football into a viable and marketable product?

    · Key presentations from FIFA, CAF, Qatar2022 Bid, Russia 2018 Bid, The English FA and other African Football Federations?

    · How to enhance professionalism in our local leagues and make these profitable and enjoyable to watch?

    · How to make clubs and African football attractive to sponsors?

    · How African football can learn from other sports which have succeeded in getting their marketing right and boost profitability?

    · Key strategies to improve the coaching side of the game on the continent?

    · How African football can learn from the marketing side from a top European football club and success stories on the continent?

    · Improving player welfare in African Football

    Summit attendees will benefit from enhanced networking opportunities, player panel discussion and a serious fun and learning experience in Jo’burg in April 2012. Exhibition stand bookings are available upon request.

     For more detail, visit here:

    View pictures of AFES2011

    and email

  • Cineflex is now permanently stationed in Cape Town. Cinesky, offers aerial filming in Cape Town, as well as ground tracking services for the entertainment and sports industries.

    “Our affiliation with top helicopter service suppliers enables us to service and support high end video and aerial filming production, in Cape Town and throughout Africa. “

    The directors Falk Eggert and Chris Hughes have considerable experience in Television and aerial film production and have positioned Cinesky as the go to company in the niche market of stabilized cameras. “We want producers to know that there is a value for money company, offering the best equipment, top operators and reliability for a turnkey service.”

    Cinesky has started on a high note, employing the benchmark, Cineflex system to capture superb images for several feature films and commercials. “We are building our credibility every day, shooting for high end BBC productions, Red Bull Media House and adding the History Channel to our list of clients.” Looking ahead, Cinesky is focused on providing their services to the best of local and international TV. “We loved working on Shoreline and are looking forward to working with award winning producers, on both local and international television productions, with some very exciting projects on the board already.”

    More information about this company is available online


  • Last February Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), concluded an agreement under which 30 million Swedish Kronor (around US$4.5 million) will be donated to UNESCO to support its activities in the field of community media, aiming at empowering poor populations, especially women and girls, to exercise freedom of expression and opinion, and be heard in the public debate.

    For this purpose, the project will foster journalism in the local public interest, by building the capacities of local radios to make programmes in priority areas and acquire the editorial know-how to handle local news. By strengthening local radios, the project will contribute to foster media pluralism.

    The project will be implemented in the following African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. It will address people’s lack of access to information, particularly to news relevant to development and covered in a comprehensible language, such as information on health and agriculture, on the basic services available to them and, in general, on relevant social issues.

    The project will make local and often humble radios aware of ICT as a tool for broadcasting and of the need to adapt to a fast evolving media environment, with new radio applications, devices and formats insight. The project will also help radios build platforms that include FM-broadcasting, mobile telephony and (when possible) Internet. Networks of local radio correspondents will be set up to strengthen information and communication to and from the local radios. This will result in more qualified programming and tailored local news for poor people. As transparent and accountable financial systems are a necessary condition for local radios’ sustainability, the project will focus as well on building radios’ competence for financial management.

    Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is one of UNESCO’s lead partners and donors providing support under a programme cooperation agreement covering four years (PCA 2010-2013) by means of critical multi-donor programmes such as CapEFA and the EFA Global Monitoring Report, as well as some trusts funds with UNESCO and institutional support. This contribution comes in addition to annual contributions under the above-mentioned PCA.

  • - At MIPTV 2012, there was much discussion about crowd-funding as a potential source of that money, but Danae Ringelmann, co-founder and chief operating officer at IndieGogo, said success would not come simply by having projects on well-known crowd-funding websites like hers or Kickstarter. Ringelmann said: “A lot of people think they can just put up a campaign, walk away and money will arrive from nowhere. We call that the field of dreams, and it just doesn’t work in the real world. You have to be proactive.”

    - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) has so far invested US$45.5 million as intervention fund in various projects in private and public sectors of the Nigerian economy, the President of the bank, Mr. Bashir M Ifo, has disclosed. In his keynote address, the Minister of Foreign Affairs 11, Dr Nurudeen Muhammed, explained that the sensitisation programmes was aimed at bringing the attention of the stakeholders to the opportunities within the ECOWAS countries to invest in the areas of securing loan from the bank. The Minister further explained that the concessionary rate available for industries, manufactures and infrastructural development, the special cultural guarantee fund for a artists and film producers among others.

    - Thema TV in France has just launched, a website enabling viewers to receive Francophone African channels legally. The paid service offers 5 African channels so far for 8.90 Euros per month. Channels include Africable, CRTV, RTI1, ORTM and 2STV. Rights have been negotiated for users located in 30 countries including Europe, North America (access for USD 14.90), and three regions in Africa: Algeria, Tunisia and Reunion island. A special offer is available for the launch at 4.90 Euros/month until 30/4/2012. The website was designed by Adosis digital and marketing agency.

    - SAARF has updated the website to make it more user-friendly. Please take a look at


regulation & policy

  • Mutinous soldiers who seized power last week from Mali's President Amadou Toumani Touré also occupied the headquarters of the state radio and TV broadcaster and interrupted other TV and radio shows, say Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Human Rights Watch.Some citizens turned to Twitter to get their news updates, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

    According to RSF, soldiers stormed into state broadcaster ORTM on 21 March, firing into the air and forcing all personnel to leave. Broadcasting by all privately-owned radio stations in the capital, Bamako, was suspended for at least a day, says RSF. In its place, soldiers repeatedly aired a communiqué announcing a nationwide curfew and the suspension of the constitution and state institutions.

    "Whether this is a real coup or just a mutiny, we are appalled that soldiers have occupied the state broadcaster and taken control of its broadcasts," RSF said. "As is often the case in such circumstances, control of news and information is primordial and the media are among the mutineers' first targets."

    But the unexpected unrest prompted demands for reliable and contextual information. CPJ documented how news unfolded on Twitter. For instance, Phil Paoletta, an expat based in Bamako, offered some advice for those just tuning in on 21March. "Anyone paying attention to #Mali for the first time-pls know that there is a lot more to this country than what you will read+see+hear today," he tweeted.

    CPJ explained, "While the future of Mali's hitherto free press is unclear, the Twitter narrative demonstrated the ways in which traditional media are increasingly less relevant."

    Even the President used his Twitter account to dismiss reports of trouble. According to RSF, one presidential tweet read, "There has been no coup d'état in Mali. It is just a mutiny."The state newspaper, "L'Essor", made no mention of the coup on the following day, reports CPJ.

    A Malian print media journalist told RSF, "The situation is very confused... It is a problem within the military. Some soldiers are driving around the city firing in the air. No one knows what to believe."According to CPJ, until the coup, Mali had been one of the most stable and successful democracies in Africa, complete with free and abundant (though not always professional) media. The last time IFEX members documented an attack on the Malian media was 2008.

    The mutinous soldiers seized power on 22 March from Touré, saying they wanted to launch a more effective response to an ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the north. Since the outbreak of the armed conflict in northern Mali in mid-January, some 200,000 Malians, many of them Tuaregs, have fled their homes, most to neighbouring Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger, reports Human Rights Watch.

    The African Union has already suspended Mali, and the United Nations, the United States and other countries have called for a return to constitutional order.

    Touré was due to step down in coming weeks after serving two terms. A presidential election had been scheduled for 29 April.

  • The National Council of Social Communication (CNCS) calls the attention of social communication organs to work with objectivity, exemption and strictness enshrined in the press law and the structuring principle of a democratic society.

    This call of attention is part of a decision unveiled on Thursday in Luanda, in which CNCS expresses its concern mainly due to the improper language used in various youth programmes.

    The deliberation focuses its concern mainly on the channel 2 of the Angolan Public Television (TPA) that has not been accomplishing the role of educating the future generation.

    According to the document, TPA and Zimbo TVs are not obeying the contradictory principle, by not providing air time to any of the participants of the March 10, 2012 protests, thereby hindering the spectators from getting in touch with the news broadcasted.

  • - UNESCO and the Government of Tunisia will be co-organizing the main celebration of the World Press Freedom Day 2012 under the theme “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Society” in Tunis, Tunisia, from 3 to 5 May 2012.

    - Uganda: A journalist working with NBS TV, Ivan Kabaale, was knocked down by a police vehicle as he covered the transfer of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change leader Dr. Kizza Besigye from Kampala to Kasangati on Saturday 31 March 2012.

    - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today made an urgent appeal to the Somaliland Authorities to release TV journalist held by the police in Las Anod District of Sool Region in northern Somalia. According to information from Las Anod, Ahmed Ali Farah,a reporter with Somali 24 TV, was arrested on Saturday, 31 March 2012 at around 12:00 pm local time.

technology & convergence

  • The Kenyan State is about to ban analog TV imports into the country in the next four months as a way of speeding up uptake of digital TVs locally, it has emerged.
    Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo yesterday said that the move will help reduce use of analog TVs and help the country meet the June deadline for migration from analog to digital broadcasting. "The more we import these analog TVs the more we complicate uptake of the new technology," Ndemo said.

    The planned ban comes as the government also prepares to launch a new Digital Video Broadcasting second generation terrestrial platform compatible with digital broadcasting next week in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

    According to Ndemo the current digital platform being used in the country has been DVB-T but next week the digital broadcasts will move to DVB-T2. "We also need more and different content on the digital platform because what is there now is the same as what is on the analog platform and it makes it impossible for migration because people do not see the difference," Ndemo said
    Those who have analog TVs can access programs on digital broadcasting through using set top boxes for conversion of the digital transmissions into an compatible mode. Ndemo said the boxes which currently retail at about Sh5,500 may cost less in future if his ministry is successful in lobbying for scrapping of duty on these gadgets by Treasury.

    New content would entice more people to migrate to digital broadcasts, he added. He was speaking during the launch of LG Kenya's new Sh35 million service centre along Ngong Road in Nairobi. LG a consumer electronics manufacturer said its factories abroad have already started producing TVs compatible to digital broadcasting and that the firm plans to start importing these sets into Kenya before June.

    Meanwhile LG, a big player in the market said it has no immediate plans yet to set up a manufacturing unit in the country yet but said that it would evaluate the possibilities. Korean ambassador to Kenya Chan-Woo Kim said LG's quest to grow in the local market through its latest strategy of opening up customer service centres "could be a starting point of transforming Kenya into a manufacturing country."


    The Star
  • South African broadcasters and SABC have requested the regulator conducts a regulatory impact assessment before issuing new terrestrial television licenses in the advent of digital migration.

    The free to air broadcaster has also asked the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to limit the number of channels the Napster-owned M-Net will be allowed to operate, according to Business Day.

    It said that the M-Net channel comprised content from its sister broadcaster, the pay-TV platform DStv, which hampered diversity and original content.

    SABC and also asked if new broadcasting licenses could only be issued after 2015, when analogue television transmissions were switched off.

    Icasa is holding a public hearing into digital television draft regulations this week. During the hearing on Monday (12 March), Philly Moilwa, general manager for policy and general affairs at the nation's public broadcast corporation, said SABC is not against new players but requested that this only happened after a market and regulatory impact assessment to ascertain the need.

    He asked Icasa to ensure it "protects the integrity and viability of the public broadcaster in the migration" to a digital platform.

    Bronwyn Keene-Young, chief operating officer,, added that existing free to air players must be able to maximise the advantages of digital video broadcasting via the DVB-T2 standard adopted by South Africa in November 2010.

    "Market research is required before any new entrants can be licensed. It would be wasteful to allocate capacity when there is no basis for understanding whether the market can even support new players," she is quoted as saying in Business Day.

    South Africa's Minister of Communications Dina Pule recently said that digital television transmission is now expected to be launched in the country in the last quarter of 2012, or at the latest by the end of the 2012-13 financial year.


    Rapid News
  • - Digital Depot, believed to be the first online electronics store catering to the film and media industry, has opened its first retail outlet in Cape Town – at the Northgate Estate business park near Paarden Island.

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