Tanzania: Television Penetration Remains Low


Twenty years down the lane after the first television station was established on the Tanzanian mainland, the country reportedly has just 6.7 million television sets distributed among its 45 million citizens.

The Communications Manager for the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Innocent Mungy, stated here that the number of sets may seem very small but considering TV penetration in the country is still at the traditional one set per family, the measly figure may not be that alarming.

The TCRA officer also added that there are currently 28 television stations operating in the country so far as well as 90 radio stations, but admitted that most are based in urban centres.

"After the country rolled out digital TV broadcasting system in the ongoing efforts to replace analogue signals, there have been more television stations as well as wider coverage in the country than during the analogue era being phased out," said Mr Mungy.

The TCRA officer was speaking during special training to Northern Zone journalists, reporters and bloggers organised by the authority in conjunction with the Arusha Press Club (APC).

Tanzania started switching off analogue transmissions in the eve of New-Year 2013 when digital replaced the old broadcasting system on the 31st of December 2012 in Dar es Salaam city.

At the moment the country has 52 free television channels covering nine regions of Tanzania, in which digital transmissions have taken over compared to just 38 stations that existed during the reign of analogue broadcasting.

A region like Mbeya, which used to receive a single channel; the state owned Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC -1) during the stoneage transmission, now enjoys five freely available stations including TBC, Channel-10, East African Television (EATV), Independent Television (ITV) and Star-TV.

Kigoma on the western peninsula also used to receive just TBC-1 but now gets additional four free channels like ITV, Star-TV, Channel-10 and EATV.

Residents of Moshi, in Kilimanjaro Region previously had two analogue stations but now enjoy five, Tanga and Mwanza used to receive three stations, but the dawn of digital broadcasting has enabled the two regions to also get the five national free channels each.

There wasn't much change in Arusha and Dodoma; regions that previously used to receive five TV channels during analogue era and which now still get the same station but this time via digital broadcasting.

The amply catered Dar es Salaam has experienced a bit of dent in the area's television coverage because the new digital era has reduced the previous 14 analogue stations enjoyed by the city residents down to just 12 digital ones.