Issue no 52 16 April 2009

top story

  • M-Net Electronic Media Network has quietly invested in buying all rights for 450 plus African films which it sees as bringing the rights back to Africa. It will be the distributor for this unique library on its own channels, through other TV stations, in film festivals and on a new VOD streaming service it will launch. Even more radically, it is exploring the feasibility of launching a film channel in francophone Africa. Russell Southwood spoke last week to M-Net’s Head of Sales and African Film Library Acquisition, Mike Dearham.

    DStv pioneered local content with the (largely Nollywood) Africa Magic Channel and more recently added the non-Nigerian content channel Africa Magic Plus. But the African Film Library takes this ambition up yet another notch. For M-Net has spent US$30-40,000 a film to buy all rights for 25 years and is still adding to the library.

    Most recently, it was at this year’s FESPACO where it bought 8 more films, including the winning entry and was the sponsor for the film market:”We’re buying rights back from Europe.” Dearham reckons that the library covers 80% of the top African films ever made:”There are two to three (key) fim-makers missing. Some don’t own their own rights and they are scattered across 8 co-production companies and others don’t believe in going for 25 years. People told us it would be impossible but it has turned out not to be.”

    The African Film Library turns M-Net into a film distributor as the strategy is to sell beyond its Pay-TV channels. Following DISCOP in February this year, Mike Dearham reckons that he now has relationships with 80-90% of the continent’s Free-To-Air channels: films sell at US$1,000 each and it has not only all the global rights but has them in all languages so it will do different language sub-titling including initially French and Arabic. FTA TV channels in Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and Seychelles now all have a late night African cinema screening slot.

    For DVD, it has a strong relationship with South African distributor Nu-Metro and distributes a South African Cinema brand which in due course will be followed by an African Cinema brand to be distributed globally by Nu-Metro. Across all product (including programmes, documentaries, comedies and “bloopers”), it is selling 12,000 units a month and Dearham reckons that this will have doubled by next year:”You need a depth of product to get momentum going.”

    Not content with traditional channels, it will soon also launch a VOD streaming service with its own web site. The fee has yet to be finally fixed but will be somewhere between US$10-20 a month. Initially all films will be in English or with English sub-titles but francophone and lusophone versions will follow shortly. Through the process of launching this channel it has digitalized the whole of the film library, thus protecting this unique collection of films from the kind of decay acetate will suffer over 25 years.

    “The challenge is to make it affordable and accessible and we’re going to link the VOD site to anything with Africa attached to it. We’ve also got strategic players like IMDB, California Newsreel, the French film agencies, Canadian distributors and TV stations involved. If anyone’s written an academic paper about a film, we’ll have a link to it. Then we’ll have lighter articles about films and a social network so that we can establish what works for the site. It might evolve into a sort of African You Tube. There’s a point where it will allow consumers to use it in a regulated manner to make their own content. I see no problem with that. Independent content like this can’t guarded. Maybe through all this, a brilliant concept might emerge.”

    “M-Net’s strategy is to bring the channel into the homes of new audiences. These used to be elite audiences but once you reach a ceiling with these audiences, you need to think about how to drive things to new audiences. And this is where the thinking is.”

    “The challenge for us is to rapidly evolve content and strategy to allow the ordinary viewer to have access to a Black Diamond Channel and to create cross-cultural channels where language comes to the fore. We’re exploring the feasibility of launching a channel in francophone Africa. It would be different from the premier channels and would include educational programmes.”

content

  • CNN International has launched two weekly programs showcasing Africa's news. A half-hour weekly programme called "African Voices" focuses on engaging African personalities such as Political, art and sport destinies. "Africa Inc" highlights vibrant business stories in a 5-minute insert of CNN's new flagship business programme, "Quest Means Business".

    These programmes target an international audience and will add to the existing CNN voice in the region. Back in 2008, the news giant had already expanded its newsgathering presence in Johannesburg, Kenya and Lagos, and the Johannesburg bureau is due to expand in the coming months. On top, CNN has also concluded local partnerships with major events such as IMF Tanzania, and Indaba South Africa. It also continues its Inside Africa - which takes a weekly journey across the continent to explore African culture - and its longstanding commitment to African journalism in the form of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year awards*, one of Africa's most prestigious media event. CNN's strong team of experts on Africa includes Nkepile Mabuse, Isha Sesay, Robyn Curnow, David McKenzie and Christian Purefoy. These activities are a signal of CNN's strong interest to the African continent. *The winners of these prestigious annual Awards will be announced at a gala ceremony to be held in Durban, South Africa.

  • Now in its 30 year, Children channel Nickelodeon has launched a new website to complement the launch of its Nickelodeon Africa channel back in July 2008 on DStv channel 305. Targeted to African kids aged from 4 to 14 both on and off-air, the English language website at nickelodeonafrica.com features interactive games and downloads as well as programming news and community areas. Nickelodeon has also launched a mobile TV channel via the Vodacom network in Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania. 24-hour Nickelodeon channel goes to more than 1.5 million subscribers across Southern Africa. MTV Networks International is now planning to expand the brand across multiple media platforms. The MTV brand is represented in Africa by Southern African licensing agency Character Licensing & Marketing.Gabon: RTG1 will show a special homage to Georges Rawiri

    This Thursday state television channel RTG1 will show a tribute to George Rawiri who died in Paris on 9 April. He was a famous media personality, having made his reputation in radio before becoming the first President of the Senate.

    Tribute was also paid to him when the Gabonese President Omar Bongo Ondimba opened a new building for RTG called« Maison Georges Rawiri ». He was elected President of the Senate in March 1997 and re-elected in February 2003.

    Gabonews

  • The Station Manager of AIT Sports on Daarsat, Aisha Falode, has said that the company was ready to bring more live football actions to the homes of its viewers.

    Falode said that the company had all the rights to the qualifiers on the continent and was ready to ensure Nigerians enjoy the competition. "It is a commitment we intend to keep. Sports is best when it is covered live and we want too do more of that on Daarsat. Those who have Daarsat decoders must have enjoyed themselves last weekend," she said.

    Daar Communications at the weekend showed six of the 10 African qualifiers for the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The outfit showed five of the six games on Daarsat and one on African Independent Television. The games involving Togo/Cameroon, Kenya/Tunisia, Ghana/Benin, Morocco/Gabon, Cote D'Ivoire Malawi were all shown live on Daarsat while the encounter between Mozambique and Nigeria was on terrestrial television, AIT. "That is just the beginning, we are going to do more as the competition gets into crucial stages," Falode added.

    This Day

  • http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/?p=14773

    - Baraem, Al Jazeera’s kids channel is now available in North Africa via Bis TV.

    http://www.videoreporter.nl/

  • The Independent Television and Radio Programm Producers Association of Nigeria (INTARPPAN) has received the blessings of the Senate, which last week insisted on further liberalization of operating licenses of private television operators.

    The Association which plans to spend about N8billion on the fiesta dubbed TV in Africa at 50 said it would raise the money through anticipated support from the Corporate Nigeria to celebrate the first transmission of television signal in Africa, which started in Ibadan in the then western Nigeria in 1959.

    The Senate last week endorsed the programme, even as the Upper House resolved to put machinery in motion for the success of the projects as well as ensuring increased funding for the broadcast industry.

    Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Ayogu Ezeh at a meeting yesterday with officials of INTARPPAN yesterday said the Senate is fully in support of the TV at 50 fiesta and will partner with the organizers to ensure the success of the project.

    According to Ezeh, "We are not only endorsing the project as a Committee. We are endorsing it on behalf of the Senate as an institution. We are happy as an institution to be part of this celebration and therefore we are very willing to partner with you in whatever capacity." Lamenting that the broadcast industry is poorly funded, Eze said Senate will make efforts to ensure increased funding for the sector to ensure efficiency and enhanced service condition of workers.

    In his words, "The funding of the government-owned institutions is not encouraging. The funding is very paltry and I think that, if we are serious about deepening democracy, about information dissemination and transparency in government, we must demonstrate seriousness by the type of funding we give to our media. We want to use the opportunity to call on government to step up the funding of television and radio broadcasting in Nigeria .

    Continuing he said, "I believe that the government should increase the premium they place on the institutions by increasing remuneration of the people, who work in these institutions. I think that the time has now come for those who work in the media industry to receive a pay that is commensurate with what they put in". The lawmaker also advocated for the liberalization of the process of licensing of television and radio stations in the country just as he called for increased regulations to ensure adequate monitoring of their activities.

    Earlier in the meeting, Chairman of INTARPPAN board of patrons Ambassador Olusegun Olusola solicited the support of the Senate and urged it to endorse the fiesta to enable the association get support and funding from corporate organizations. He said the Association has a budget of N8 billion for the weeklong programme slated for September this year, adding that it has already received the endorsement of the executive. Olusola said the programme is aimed at celebrating the emergence of Television in Africa and to create more public awareness on the activities of the sector, saying Nigeria has a lot of untapped resources in the sector.

    Daily Champion

  • As the SABC's financial woes continue to mount, the public broadcaster's latest cost-cutting exercise is to close down three of its 12 international bureaus. The SABC on Friday night confirmed that its offices in Jamaica, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Washington DC would be affected.

    The move would be completed by September. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that the staff would be absorbed into other bureaus or brought back to South Africa. Bureaus in New York, Dakar, Lagos, Nairobi, Harare, Sao Paolo, London, Brussels and Beijing will remain operational.

    In a statement, the SABC said the news and current affairs management had decided that it would be too expensive to continue the Jamaica and Washington operations. The closure comes roughly a month after the national broadcaster announced it was freezing all vacant posts owing to a R784-million budget deficit. This included scrapping tea, coffee, sugar and milk supplies to its low-level staffers.

    This week the SABC was forced to assure the television industry that it would meet its contractual obligations for the year after concerns were expressed about the broadcaster's finances. The launch of SABC International in New York drew much criticism from local unions.

    Earlier this year the Communications Worker's Union said the channel was only available to a few individuals, did not generate any revenue, and that some individuals had received abnormal salaries.The example cited was that a presenter/producer earned R3 800 a shift. But Kganyago on Friday night denied that some salaries were inflated, saying the payments were allowances for working at the bureaus. He said staff who were redeployed to other bureaus would continue receiving allowances.

    Cape Argus

  • Islamist hardliners in Somalia have shut down an independent radio station, with the station's owners saying they were not told why the radio was targeted, Radio Garowe reports. The station, Maandeeq FM, is based in the town of Beled Hawo in Gedo region near the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Hassan Mohamud Halane, the director of Mandeeq radio station, told reporters that the radio officials held a meeting with Al Shabaab officers in Beled Hawo town. "Our meeting with Al Shabaab ended without success, because they refused to tell us why they shut down the [radio] station," Halane said.

    He noted that Al Shabaab fighters called the radio station before shutting it down and demanded that the radio station "surrender" its programs. After refusing the order, Maandeeq radio station's owners were instructed to go off the air. Halane indicated that the independent radio station has listeners in different parts of Gedo region, as well as in the Kenyan district of Mandhera and the Ethiopian town of Dolow.

    Al Shabaab is a powerful Islamist faction that controls many regions in southern Somalia. The group has previously shut down independent HornAfrik Radio in the port city of Kismayo and Markabley radio station in Bardhere, Gedo region. The U.S. government has placed Al Shabaab on the terror list and accuses the group of ties to Al Qaeda.

    Garowe Online

  • Three new commercial radio stations are likely to be licensed early next year, in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban, while new TV services are inching closer. The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) yesterday said it had issued a formal invitation to apply for these licences. Public hearings are likely towards the end of the year, as applications close at the end of September.

    Analyst Rajay Ambekar of Cadiz African Harvest said the invitation to apply had been expected. Due to licence regulations, which restrict the number of radio stations a company can own in geographic markets, the licences were likely to bring in new players and foster competition.

    Primedia and Kagiso are the two largest commercial radio station owners in SA. Primedia, which owns 702 Talk Radio and Highveld Stereo in Gauteng, as well as Kfm and Cape Talk in the Western Cape, may apply for the Durban licence as it is not active in that market.

    Kagiso owns a number of radio stations, including East Coast Radio and iGagasi in KwaZulu-Natal, Jacaranda in Gauteng and other provinces, and Heart 104.9 in Cape Town. The company is known to be keen to snap up any new licences .

    Another possible player is African Media Entertainment, which has stakes in AlgoaFM in the Eastern Cape, Ofm in Bloemfontein and Mpower in Mpumalanga. Ambekar also suggested that media company Avusa, which has no radio interests at the moment, could also apply for a licence.

    Icasa has published draft digital terrestrial TV regulations, which will allow additional TV channels on the digital signal. SA has already begun the process of digital migration, where TV signals are broadcast in both the existing analogue format and in the new digital form. Existing broadcasters will receive incentive channels to compensate for the costs of sending out a TV signal twice during this period. On November 1 2011, the analogue signal will be switched off and only digital TV will be available.

    Icasa has set aside three multiplexes -- where digital signals are combined into a single data stream -- for digital TV. The first will be used for public broadcasting, including the SABC and Eastern Cape community station Trinity Broadcasting Network.

    A public value test will be applied to any channels wishing to broadcast on this multiplex. The SABC will have to include two regional channels as part of this multiplex. In the second multiplex, commercial free-to-air services will be included. E.tv will be able to use 60% of the multiplex, with one other channel to be allocated to another broadcaster. Of the third multiplex, 50% will be reserved for M-Net, conditional on its ability to switch all its subscribers from analogue decoders to digital decoders within a year. One channel within this multiplex, which only pay-TV services can use, remains to be allocated.

    Business Day

  • - Three prison officers suspected of smuggling in investigative reporters from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)'s special assignment programme into Beitbridge Prison in Zimbabwe were arrested.

    - In line with the growing relations between the Eritrean Information Ministry and the Aljazeera Network stationed in Doha, Qatar, the two sides concluded media agreement on Friday aimed at strengthening the ties and exchange of experience. In accordance with the agreement concluded in the Eritrean Ministry of Information, both parties would exchange programs and news information, besides sharing experience in various media spheres and organizing training courses. The agreement was signed by Mr. Asmelash Abraha, director general of ERI-TV, and Khanfar, Director General of the Aljazeera Network.

distribution

  • Broadcast, Film and Convergence interviewed Guy Knafo, General Manager at 10francs, one of the largest independent documentary and art film distributors with a library of more than 1700 films.

    Q: Are you distributing films made by African directors:

    A: Yes we are. We are also looking for new talents and doors are open for African film directors. For example, we have been supporting a new documentary made by a Franco-Malian director Kal Touré. “Victims of our Wealth - Heavily Indebted Plundered Countries” (2008) is a 60' documentary. It tells the story of young deported African men and women who bear witness of their unfortunate attempts to cross over to Spain. The trailer is on our site, and our site search engine will point you to other African-related features.

    Q: How was Discop?

    A: I have been truly impressed by this first media/audiovisual trade show in Africa. About 400 participants from all over the World were present. The event was well set up, and I was delighted by the positive energy of the people I met there. I have found them precise, efficient and enthusiastic about doing business. I am truly confident that these meetings will be fruitful very soon. The next Discop Africa event will be held in Nairobi in September 2009, which I find too early. As I am engaged with about 15 other events per year, I won't be attending. I feel that a second yearly event on the continent could kill the business. There is no more than one NATPE per year for all the Americas. Nevertheless, Discop Africa is another sign of the growth and maturity of the African TV market.

    Q : Are you talking to France Telecom which is now present in 15 African countries with its Livebox product?

    A: We have met but I am not yet convinced by the revenue-sharing model that was suggested to me, but I have no doubt that we will come to an agreement.

    Q: Are you also producing films?

    A: We have indeed but distribution is our core business.

    Q: Which film festivals do you go to?

    A: We primarily focus on documentaries and Art programs, so we do not tend to go to Movie festivals. Instead we attend about 15 International audiovisual-Content trade shows such as MIPTV and MIPCOM.

    Q: Which TV broadcasters are you doing business with in Africa?

    A: We mainly work with Morocco and South Africa. In Morocco, Medi 1 Sat - the country's first private satellite television channel - and 2M are clients whereas in South Africa, we work with SABC - the state broadcaster, which operates three national TV networks and two pay-TV channels - and M-Net, the pay-TV with a pan-African audience. I would like to reach out to more African countries and TV channels. Africa TV is a booming and interesting market.

    www.10francs.fr

  • Pay TV CANAL OVERSEAS AFRICA (part of CANAL OVERSEAS, Groupe CANAL+) has announced the launch of Africa 24 and African channel Africable. Africa 24 is an international news channel on Africa. Africable touches on a wide variety of topics. These programmes will be accessible to Canal+'s “ACCESS” subscribers of CanalSat Horizons. AFRICA 24 will be available on canal 36 and AFRICABLE on canal 17. CANALSAT HORIZONS' bouquet is broadcasted in more than 20 African countries.

  • http://portal.unesco.org/ci/fr/ev.php-URL_ID=18780&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&U...

    - French media regulator the CSA (Conseil Superieur de l'Audivisiel) has approved pan-African information channel Africa 24’s request for distribution on non-terrestrial networks. According to the convention, Africa 24 can be broadcasted via electronic communication networks, not using the frequencies assigned by the Council.

investment

  • Two satellite operators, Eutelsat and Nilesat has just concluded an agreement to develop the 7° West orbital position, which is used by both companies to broadcast to North Africa, the Middle East, the Gulf region.

    Speaking at Satcom, Satellite operator Arabsat's CEO Khalid Balkheyour has announced that it will enter Africa. Arabsat’s coverage of the continent would be enhanced by the launch of Arabsat-5A to the 30.5° East position at the end of this year.

  • A Pan-African satellite project managed by Intelsat - received a US$25 millions loan from AFDB, the African Development Bank. Another US$250 million has been invested to start operations in 2011 New Dawn will support improved communication including wireless in remote areas, fast internet, satellite TV and broadcasting.

    The project sponsors are Intelsat, a world leader in fixed satellite operations, and South African investors, including Convergence Partners. The project was able to successfully raise the necessary funds, US$ 250 million, despite difficult market conditions thanks to close collaboration between Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation and the AfDB.

    The project responds to strong demand for satellite supply capacity, driven by efforts by mobile operators to expand their networks to underserved areas, support businesses and remote communities, and boost socioeconomic development.

    The project is in line with the AfDB’s Information and Communication Technology Strategy (ICT) which sets out regional and national infrastructure as its first priority. This includes international connectivity to the rest of the world, regional backhaul links that interconnect countries, national backbones that extend access beyond major cities, and last-mile connectivity to rural and underserved communities. Regional infrastructure is also the focus of NEPAD’s Medium-to-Long-term Strategic Framework, where the AfDB has been designated a lead agency.

  • - Executive President of the African Business Roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, has accused Nigerian media of giving preference to political stories more than business and sports related stories in the country. Alhaji Tukur, who made the remarks while receiving the Chairman, Abuja council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ),Timothy Elerewe, in Abuja, noted that hardly business or sports related stories make the front pages of the Nigerian newspapers. He argued that on a daily bases, stories that dominate the media are politics inclined, adding, "any day you pick up the Nigerian newspapers, all you see are political stories. The front pages are always dominated by stories about politicians and their political actions and inactions. They don't give such priority to either business or sports - related stories", he said. “The media should strive to give more coverage to business stories."

regulation & policy

  • The UK's Independent media reported that the nation's highest court threw out a section of Zimbabwe's stringent media laws, saying it violated journalists' constitutional right to freedom of expression. Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku overturned the clause outlawing the publication of "falsehoods", which the law said abused journalistic privilege. The clause held journalists responsible for incorrect information that was published. State attorneys did not oppose the appeal by the independent Daily News of charges against its former editor, Geoff Nyarota, and reporter Lloyd Mudiwa that they falsely published a story alleging an opposition supporter was beheaded during political violence.

    The journalists faced up to two years in jail under Zimbabwe's media laws, known as the Access to Information Act. The Act has been criticised by independent lawyers and human rights groups as a tool to stifle criticism of President Robert Mugabe's government. Gugulethu Moyo, the newspaper's lawyer, said yesterday's ruling was "a small victory". She said: "The entire legislation should be condemned." An adjacent clause, making falsification or fabrication of information an offence by journalists, remained. This ruling was the first on a constitutional challenge to the media laws as part of a 100-day action plan. At least 16 journalists have been arrested and charged with violating the media laws since they were passed before presidential elections last year. No state media journalists have been charged. Three journalists have been expelled from the country over the past two years and only a handful of foreign reporters has been granted visas to enter Zimbabwe.

    The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) applauded the news. There would likely be a new media commission which would consider licensing new television and radio stations. Zimbabwe is desperate for foreign aid and wants to see an end to sanctions imposed by Europe and the USA. An estimated two-thirds of Zimbabweans are in need of food aid. The cholera epidemic has sickened more than 80,000 people and killed more than 4,000 since August 2008.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/zimbabwe-court-waters-dow...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090406/ap_on_re_af/af_zimbabwe

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on authorities in the south-eastern Congolese city of Likasi to allow two private stations to return to the air. On 11, March 2009, the mayor of Likasi, Denis Kalondji Ngoy, ordered the closure of Radio Communautaire du Katanga (RCK) and Radiotélévision Likasi 4 (RTL4) in connection with their coverage of a local strike, according to local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED). Polydor Muboyayi, president of the Congolese Observatory of Congolese Media, told CPJ that closing the stations was illegal since the High Authority on Media, the official media regulator, has the exclusive authority to shut down media outlets. Nawesi said he is still waiting for the mayor to make a statement that would allow him to return to the air.

    In a separate note, JED asked Authorities in Republic of Congo to immediately lift their ban on private TV station Canal Bénédiction Plus (CB Plus). The ban was enacted in February in response to political coverage in the lead-up to presidential elections in July.Recently, CPJ named 14 nations in the World where journalists are slain and killers go free.

    http://cpj.org/africa/

  • Mrs Sabah Zita Okaikoi, Ghana's Minister of Information held discussions with the Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy on the digital migration of broadcasting equipment in Ghana from analogue to digital. Mrs Okaikoi said the first phase of the digital migration programme is expected to be completed in June in Accra and Kumasi. Mr Hans Christian Winkler, Deputy Head of Mission, said he was happy that a German Organization was helping Ghana with the processes involved in the digital migration. Meanwhile the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority has announced that it has started the policy process for the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting in line with ITU's deadline of 17 June, 2015.

technology & convergence

  • MapNTL.com was born in New York City about four years ago when Ireti Ajala and a friend wanted to visit a certain Brazilian restaurant in Queens. Not knowing the exact location, Ajala's friend used MapQuest to search for the street and to generate driving directions to the restaurant.

    Ajala thought it would be a good idea to establish a similar portal in Nigeria where Nigerians can search for any street and business or get turn-by-turn driving directions between two points in Nigeria. This led to the development of MapNTL.com of which Ajala is currently the Chief Executive Officer.

    MapNTL.com enables users to search for street locations in Lagos online. Although the concept is nothing new, and the website is not nearly as slick as MapQuest, it is still a great achievement for Nigeria which has been somewhat lagging behind in the internet space. And the website certainly works.

    When one, for example, types in Kofo Abayomi Street and press 'go', a map showing the location of the street pops up. In addition to the street map, the logos and locations of a number of businesses also appear on the map.

    But how does MapNTL.com differ from other sites such as Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps which also offer a similar service? "Yes there are other companies who offer mapping services but what makes us unique is that we know Nigeria like the back of our hand," says Ajala. "Lagos has over 400,000 streets but some other websites show Lagos with only five roads. Those companies are world giants; they have millions of users in North America, Europe and possibly in other African countries like South Africa, but when it comes to Nigeria we are the local champion."

    A quick check on some renowned mapping sites confirms Ajala's point - I couldn't find any services that have a detailed street map of Lagos.

    The company plans to raise revenue in two ways. The first is "mapvertising" - an advertising platform that allows companies to show users the location of their offices or outlets on the map. Companies pay N4 500 (US$30) for every location that is advertised. Secondly, revenue will be raised through traditional banner advertising.

    "Companies like MTN and Zain, who took the risk to come and invest in Nigeria, are smiling all the way to the bank because high risk does yield high rewards. Foreign investors should remember "no pain, no gain".

    Work on expanding the service to other Nigerian cities has already started. "Right now, work has reached an advanced stage to integrate Abuja. This means that very soon MapNTL.com users should be able to search for any street, office or business location in Abuja," says Ajala.

    According to Ajala, MapNTL.com's services appeal to people between 20-40 years. The company estimates that most users have internet access at work or home and fall within a high income bracket. "We find it difficult to accept that someone will go to an internet café with a single purpose of accessing our services."

    MapNTL.com is a subsidiary of Spatial Technologies Ltd, a Nigerian mapping and GIS company located both in Lagos and UK. It recently launched a satellite navigation unit loaded with a 120 city maps down to street level. It also developed a geocoding solution for UBA bank where the locations of one million clients are shown on a map. This helped the bank to make several strategic decisions in its 2008/2009 expansion project.

    TradeInvest Africa

  • A partnership agreement called ‘Zain Create’ will allows Zain’s customers to download entertainment from Rotana Media Group, the pan-Arab audio-video giant. Initially launched in Kuwait, Zain, the leading mobile telecom operator in Kuwait, with operations in a further 22 countries across the Middle East and Africa could be extended to other countries. Zain in Kuwait CEO Khaled Al Hajeri said: "Mobile phones are no longer devices for merely making and receiving calls, they are increasingly becoming a platform for expressing an entire modern lifestyle, be it for business or pleasure.“ Mobile phone clients in Kuwait will be able to download music as full tracks - through their mobile phones or their personal computers - either via the Zain Create website (http://create.zain.com) or directly through the Zain Create Mobile application on handsets. Customers can also watch Rotana TV channels live on their mobile phones and laptops.

    As an introductory offer, any Zain Kuwait customer who registers for ‘Zain Create’ before April 1, 2009 will receive a 5 KWD ($17) credit that can be used to download 16 audio song files anytime. The price of downloading an audio song file in Kuwait is 300 fils ($1). The service currently offers only audio songs files; however, it will be extended to include video clip downloads and other mobile content in the future.

more

  • - A battle is brewing over what is being considered the largest chunk of spectrum to be made available since the 1960s in South Africa.Around 400MHz of spectrum is expected to become available to the world after the broadcasters migrate to digital platforms. Mobile businesses globally are pitching for the ultra-high frequency (UHF), which has been traditionally used for analogue TV broadcasting. According to MTN senior manager for data, roaming and reseller solutions Brian Seligmann, having access to only 25% of that band could revolutionise Internet access in Africa. However, there is a feeling that broadcasters have claimed entitlement to that spectrum, since it has always been theirs. Seligmann says MTN's research shows access to the frequencies available in UHF will make the roll-out of local mobile networks far cheaper, and give Africa real benefits in terms of Internet penetration growth.

    - Movie media and bloggs report that South African Actress, Ex-model and Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) is interested in playing a lead role in “Atlas Shrugged”. The film is an adaptation of the best selling novel - listed as top seller on Amazon - from the novelist Ayn Rand. While Angelina Jolie was the most recent name attached to play protagonist Dagny Taggart, a few blogs say that other stars now interested include Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway.

    Two South Africans will be jurists this year at the 56th International Advertising Festival taking place in Cannes, France on 21-27 June 2009. Firstly Executive Creative Director at The Jupiter Drawing Room's Ross Chowles (Cape Town) elected for Film Lions’ jury. For Press Lions, Deputy Executive Creative Director at Network BBDO's Graeme Jenner (Johannesburg) has been invited to join. Ross has previously judged Press at Cannes Lions, and also at The One Show, Art Directors Club of NY and Clio Awards, as well as having been on local awards panels for over 20 years. Graeme has won some awards too, including a couple of Loerie Grands Prix, a few Loerie Golds, an Ad Of The Year, a Gold Eagle, a few nods from Cannes Lions, The One Show, Clio Awards and more from overseas.

    The International Advertising Festival - Cannes Lions - is the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals and advertisers as well as the most prestigious annual advertising awards. More than 10,000 registered delegates from 94 countries and around 12,000 total visitors from the advertising and allied industries attend this event to celebrate the best of creativity across all media mix, discuss industry issues and network with one another. Over 28,000 ads from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. Winning companies receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, honouring the most creative TV/cinema, print, outdoor, interactive, radio, design, sales promotion, integrated advertising, as well as the best media and direct marketing solutions. A unique programme of high-profile seminars, workshops and keynote speakers are also presented by some of the biggest names in the industry. The Media Lions winners will be revealed on Tuesday 23 June.

    The Festival , which has a global network of representatives in over 75 countries around the world is present in 3 African countries: South Africa (Cinemark), Nigeria (Chini Productions) and Ghana (Advertising Association of Ghana).

    http://blogger.xs4all.nl/videorep/

    http://blogger.xs4all.nl/videorep/

    The next Discop Africa event will be held in Nairobi at the Hilton Hotel from 16-18 September 2009. Discop Africa’s first full-blown media market held in February 2009 (see Issue no 49, 50 and 51) was quite a success and brought with it a lot of enthusiasm for the African media market! The second edition is exceptional due to the current growth in the industry and the FIFA world cup next year. This event will include a number of conference sessions and professional workshops. One session will be held on alternative distribution platforms. Discop organisers plan on having one market a year thereafter. Further details on www.discop.com - contact: cherisebarsell@basiclead.com

    Apr 16 - 26 - AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL IN CANADA - Montreal Canada - www.vuesdafrique.org

    Apr 19 - 23 - DURBAN WILD TALK AFRICA FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE

    www.wildtalkafrica.com

    22 - 3 May - DTC TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL - New York USA - www.tribecafilmfestival.org

    Africa Future TV Conference 2009 http://africa.bizcommunity.com/Article/410/66/34053.html

    ITNewsAfrica.com has announced the launch of a conference focusing on digital and mobile TV in Africa in August 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Africa Future TV Conference 2009 aims to gather industry experts, business leaders, regulators, government officials and service providers from African countries for the broadcast industry conference. 20 Mar 2009 09:26

    Ivory Coast hosts AMARC pan-African Conference 2009 http://africa.bizcommunity.com/Article/410/59/34125.html

    The fourth pan-African conference held by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters' (AMARC) will be held in Ivory Coast from 27 - 30 April, 2009. The host member organisation is the Union des Radios de Proximité de la Côte d'Ivoire (URCPI). 23 Mar 2009 10:42

    Mediatech Africa readies industry for 2010 http://africa.bizcommunity.com/Article/410/66/33897.html

    Mediatech Africa 2009 - South Africa's broadcast, media, entertainment and AV trade fair - comes as the industry prepares to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 17 Mar 2009 07:57

Syndicate content