VoxAfrica, a serious pan-African contender?


At a time when competition is becoming fiercer among African TV broadcasters, the emergence of pan-African channels such as VoxAfrica is a major breakthrough.
Balanncing Act Senior Analyst Sylvain Béletre talked to VoxAfrica’s Sales and Marketing Manager Myriem Badjadi to find out more.

There are an increasing number of regional and international channels that are beamed down by satellite across the African continent. CNBC Africa, CNN, France 24, TV5 Monde Africa, pay TV Canal + Africa and DSTV / Multichoice bouquets, or Al Jazeera all use satellite to transmit their content in Africa. Among them, VoxAfrica – broadcast via satellite, cable and internet, has gained several advantages which can only benefit its future development.

It has legs in financial terms. It was set up by Cameroonian financier Paul Kammogne Fokam, owner of Afriland First Bank. Vox Africa is run by his daughter Rolande and is a private company. The station has positioned itself as the first independent, bilingual generalist pan-African TV channel; It is “made by Africans for all Africans”, all major differentiators in the pan African TV landscape. It has been broadcasting for more than two years and from the start, it has been focused on expanding its audience. Launched in January 2008, it has aired since May 2008 on the continent, is part of several European streams – including UK Sky, France’s Free, Dartybox, SFR’s neufbox and Bouygues’ Bbox - and is also aired on local networks in eight West African countries.

In September 2010, the channel has become part of France’s payTV CanalSat Horizon (channel 18), a positive step that will allow the channel to claim an extra potential audience of 400,000 households among Africa’s middle class. To establish further credibility, Voxafrica is currently in negotiations with South African payTV Multichoice, which has several million subscribers in Africa. The channel could soon become available in several other countries outside of Africa.

Voxafrica’s content seems to satisfy all kinds of viewers. “Voxafrica is focused on information and entertainment for a wide African audience” explains Myriem Badjadi, adding “We wear an African perspective on events and bring a positive image of the continent. We provide a mix of dramas, talk shows, programs about music and sports, especially football, politics and new technologies. “ Badjdi highlights, “Our advertising packs offer four main categories: sport, information, film and entertainment with reasonable fees.”

VoxAfrica’s main audience is defined as follows: it comes from the African continent and its Diaspora. It is between 19 and 52 years old, and is a mix of male (52%) and female (48%). VoxAfrica’s fans are interested in the world, information, modernity and new technologies. They are at the forefront of new products and services and the majority of them is anxious to see a changing Africa, in the midst of development of its wealth, its culture and its economy.

Furthermore, Voxafrica’s HQ is located in “safe London”, within walking distance of fashionable Chelsea, close to its Afro-Caribbean Brixton district and not far from “the City”, Europe’s largest financial centre.
Technology is also one of the factors that enable TV channels to differentiate themselves. The upcoming internet revolution in Africa could radically transform the media landscape, and Voxafrica is very well positioned to compete in this space. It actually started on the internet, and today, Voxafrica provides a live feed as well as programme archives on the web. It has also managed to secure a large fans’ community within facebook, dailymotion, twitter and YouTube. Voxafrica is one of the very few African TV channels that have a truly professional website set up by a team of internal IT experts and a proactive, vibrant executive team.

The holy grail of VoxAfrica’s mission is winning advertising budgets in a growing competitive segment. Between the end of this year and 2011, VoxAfrica expects to reach break even point. If they manage to survive in these difficult times, the future looks bright.