Broadcast News

At a press conference held in Paris in early September 2015, Olivier Laouchez, CEO and co-founder of the TRACE group, unveiled the group's strategy and announced the launch of new products, content and services.

TRACE is an entertainment brand that’s now present in 160 countries and specializes in what it calls “urban entertainment”. It’s taken its traditional media channels in pay TV and FM radio and added mobile services and VoD, making it a multi-platform operator.

Those with long memories will remember that South Africa’s digital transition was supposed to have started by the World Cup in 2010. A combination of Government “speed” and industry bickering managed to set the process back by five. This week the signs are that the transition is finally beginning to gather pace.

Signal carrier Sentech has already carried out extensive past testing and so was really waiting for the political go-ahead to start rolling out network coverage. When it switched on, it had 178 DTT transmitters ready for operation


Diasporas are a key audiences for African broadcasters for they create a bridgehead in the international market for their content. However, there are few companies that are focused on several diasporas including those from the Caribbean. This is what the North American company Soundview Africa is doing under the brand name Afrotainment with a global take on Black culture.

Cape Town’s Triggerfish Animation Studios has been ploughing a lonely furrow. It has produced two commercially successful, feature length animation films. It now wants to scale up and work with others who want to create African stories for the global market. Russell Southwood spoke to Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish about what Story Lab aims to do and who it’s partnered with to make it happen.


Ghana’s road to the digital broadcasting transition has been a bumpy one. Initially it appointed Chinese Pay TV operator StarTimes to carry out the process but fell out with it and StarTimes is now suing the Government. To replace it, the Government gave the contract to local company K-Net. Russell Southwood talked to its founder Richard Hlomador about what the company is going to do.

Free to Air African TV broadcasters have built longstanding partnerships with live events to the benefit of both.  Now more specialist pay TV channels are forging these kinds of relationships. It’s the second year DStv channel [ED] has partnered with DIFF and Afridocs to provide both a news programme and documentaries from the festival. Russell Southwood spoke to Roberto Carletti, [ED] about how the partnership works.

A recently announced deal between Lebara Play and various African producers for OTT rights in Europe illustrates how VoD will allow content owners new channels to diaspora markets. But this is not the first of these kinds of deals as Russell Southwood outlines.

Lebara Play is the VoD channel run by discount international minutes provider Lebara. Since the people who buy discount minutes to ring home are diaspora communities, it has an existing connection to them.

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) agreement signed on 16 June 2006, 54 African states pledged to turn off the analog TV signal before June 17, 2015, with some exceptions. Sylvain Béletre, analyst Balancing Act, co-author of a study on DTT in Africa, reports on the segment's latest developments.


This week DISCOP was in Abidjan for a francophone Africa TV market event. There was a feeling that francophones were missing out at the annual Johannesburg DISCOP event in November. So DISCOP’s founder Patrick Zuchowicki decided to do an event in Abidjan and put the whole thing together in an eye wateringly short amount of time. Russell Southwood and Sylvain Béletre went to see what was happening.

The Inaugural Mohamed Amin Africa Media Awards (MAAMAs) have been a mixture of topical lectures and nitty-gritty professional development workshops aimed at news providers from across the continent. Russell Southwood was one of the judges for the awards and was at the three-day event this week in Nairobi.

The MAAMAs were put on by Africa24 Media and stand as a tribute to the lasting influence of founder Salim Amin’s father, the famous news cameraman Mohamed Amin. The MAAMAs are the awards part of the event and the winners are listed by category at the end of this story.