Broadcast News

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.

Picture above: Christoph Limmer, Vice President, Global Sales and Commercial Development, for broadcast services at Eutelsat.

 

Eutelsat has been pretty active in providing satellite capacity to African countries, both on the telecoms and broadcast segments. As Africa rather belatedly accelerates the transition to digital TV, Eutelsat has made quite a few announcements showing that the operator is consolidating its position as the key player in that field.

Balancing Act has recorded over Africa-related 100 VoD platforms to date. New, more niche services will soon be added to this competitive segment. One of these newcomers is Hopster TV and application platform - set up on iOS, and soon on Android - which will launch across the African continent, particularly in Anglophone Africa. Balancing Act's analyst Sylvain Béletre talked to Hopster's founder and director, Nick Walters who was at MIPTV 2015.

 

With the exception of Senegal (and more recently Côte d'Ivoire), not much change has happened in the francophone broadcast sector for so long. But the long delayed transition to digital broadcasting is accelerating the move to more competitive markets. Sylvain Béletre looks at the example of Mali and picks over what the results of an audience survey in Bamako tell us about the new competition fault lines.

In June 2015 the broadcast market will be opened to new players. Abidjan is making a comeback as the business hub for Francophone Africa and looks set to become a very active TV production hub. Russell Southwood spoke to the Sales Manager, BeBlack TV about this Ivorian produced TV channel and its Pan-African ambitions.