Broadcast News

The switchover to digital terrestrial television (DTT, get the latest report update here) in Africa should be completed within just over two years, by 17 June 2015 at the latest, but so far only 8 African countries have made the move. A majority of African TV organisations still run on analogue equipment and have a strong need for digital upgrades and technical skills. Market analyst Sylvain Beletre looks at the broadcasters readiness to make the transition.

Wananchi Group, the owner of East African pay TV operator Zuku TV plans to launch a fresh funding round for US$50 million (€38 million) to US$100 million before the end of the year, according to CEO Richard Bell. Bell provided insights on the move: the extra funds will be used to be present in 15 markets and to boost its content  and service features.

The regulation of TV sports rights has happened in Europe and now looks set to happen in South Africa. Yunus Carrim, the new Minister for Communications has promised action by March 2014. This could be the beginning of a new era that will shake up broadcasting across the continent. Because if there is regulation in South Africa, it will only be a matter of time before it spreads to places like Kenya and Nigeria. Russell Southwood looks at the implications of this shift in regulation.

Balancing Act recently reviewed the increase in the number of internet (broadband internet included) users between 2010 and 2012 by country and realised that traffic has on average tripled up. Recent local surveys reveal that African youth is hungry for internet broadband connectivity. As in the rest of the World, one of the most popular websites in each African country is YouTube.

According to UNESCO, 80% of audio-visual archives are endangered after 5 to 10 years, if they are not backed up. Most radio stations started in the 1960 and most TV stations in the 1970s. However, a great deal of what they have produced has been lost, either through lack of care or lack of appropriate equipment, humidity or limited storage space.

The arrival of digital terrestrial television (DTT) will revolutionise the African audiovisual landscape – When it finally happens…

Consultancy and research house has focused on tracking the digital transition in broadcasting since 2007 and is about to release its 2nd. DTT report's update (August 2013 and updated later). After 8 months of intensive research, Senior Analyst Sylvain Beletre highlights some of the issues raised in the report.

Nigeria’s movie industry has attracted interest not only in Africa but also throughout the world. It employs about 250.000 people and represents about 7 % of the country’s GDP. Nollywood generates close to 500 millions Euros per year. Today, Nigeria’s cinema industry is slowly entering the world's film markets and the festivals. 

Tanzania has become the first mainland African country to declare that it has completed the digital transition. New channels are now available to free-to-air viewers on their set-top boxes (see Distribution News below). This provides an interesting opportunity for the delgates to the Broadcast, Film and Music Africa Conference taking place at the end of the month to look at these new opportunities.

French organisations have played a key role in supporting both culture and media in Africa in a way that has little parallel amongst other former colonial powers. One of the key organisations is l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF for short in French). This week Balancing Act’s Broadcast Analyst Sylvain Beletre spoke to journalist and writer Tidiane Dioh, who heads up its media programme which supports radio and television in francophone Africa.

Q. What were the founding objectives of the OIF?

SatLink Communications is a pioneer in global satellite communications services and one of the 5 key contenders in the African satellite broadcast market. It is known as a leading provider of transmission solutions for Global Content Distribution over Satellite Platforms, Fibre and IP. Today, it is also focused on providing OTT solutions. Balancing Act interviewed its CEO, David Hochner to find out more on his strategy across Africa.