African TV channels: tips for innovative sports TV programmes

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In a previous issue, we highlighted that there are massive opportunities in the sports TV market.  This week Balancing Act's broadcasting analyst Sylvain Beletre talks to consultant Bertrand Cardot about ways in which African TV channels can improve their sports output.

Bertrand Cardot works as a consultant for 'SCAB', an audio and video engineering organisation set up in West Africa and based in Senegal. 
Cardot has worked on major TV events programmes such as the 'ligue 1 football' with Canal+ and beIN Sport, the champions league, the Europa league, the 'Tour de France', rugby matches or the London OG as well as 'The Voice'.

"Having visited quite a few TV channels in Africa and after watching local TV, I think that most of the African TV channels missed what 'transmedia' is all about: Transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling a story across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies: one universe, multiple media.
In Africa, digital media has suddenly become centre stage: the concept of multiple screens (including smartphones and tablets), multiple broadcast technologies, the idea of anywhere, anytime on any device, the desire for quality content and innovation. All of this makes the environment more complex for TV players.
African TV channels now have to react pretty fast before they start seeing their audience drift off. They have no choice but to get together, (co)produce quality local content, and professionalise their processes.

A significant part of the national African audience wants to see more local sports' programmes. To produce for local sports content, key decision-makers are federations. Unfortunately, there is not always a structured relationship between federations and the media. The results is often a weak coverage of the national sports, limited quality of national sports' programmes and lack of revenues. With a set of strict rules, it is easy to get on the right track.

Based on Cardot's experience in the West, best practices can be adapted to the African environment: We propose a comprehensive yet simple charter to African Federations."

The establishment of a serious media charter for a sport's federation is essential, as it means that TV channels and TV producers can make quality programmes which will generate larger audience and bigger media rights, long terms revenues for the local sport's sector. 

"A charter is also a way to filter out the media that are not serious about engaging in sports and in quality TV programmes; or it is a way to get them to improve their practices.

The main points of the charter for sports' events are as follows:

. Number of signals to be broadcast;

. Difference between the signals to provide and formats;

. Plan the course of the event, from the arrival of sport's players at the press conference to the post-match replays and interviews;

. Sound and picture enhancement;

. Camera axis positioning; 

. Interviews' best practices;

. and so on.

TV creates a range of problems including the energy issue, the commentator position, the press conference room, the mixed zone area, and so on; Find local broadcasters that have a disciplined approach to audiovisual capture; Innovate compared to Western restrictions recordings; Highlight cultural signs during recordings; Get Federations to develop transmedia; And much more."

Scab is talking to sports federations (such as in Senegal) to provide its broadcast expertise in capturing sports matches and to create a charter that Federations can impose to enhance national sports at minimum costs while maximising quality.

"We are currently getting equipped to produce excellent content and to train local staff properly. We suggest a set of practical and technical rules that are easy for TV channels to implement if they want to get more competitive.

TV channels should not be satisfied to just describe what shows on the screen. Speakers should be impartial about the analysis of the action. During the match, TV journalists should not hesitate to interview the director to review an important action during a timeout.

Interviewing coaches, captains and key players to provide further explanation of the game is basic sports journalism.

Our main partners are important federations - which implies that related clubs are properly equipped - and TV stations."

For further details, contact Bertrand Cardot, senior consultant at SCAB- bertrandcardot(at) - or via linkedin.

For more details on sports TV programmes needs from TV channels across Africa, refer to this market report and survey.

Picture below: Scab associate director Théo Ndione.



Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act's web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 14 issues and these can be viewed on this link: Essential reading for those in broadcast or film. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to with Digital Content Africa in the title line.
Here are some examples of past issues below:

Ghanaian online platform Reel African announces the launch of first viewer votes feature film competition with cash prize

Online film, music and TV content in Africa – In search of the elusive business model

Zimbabwe’s TV Yangu offers a social TV platform with original programming

Nigerian VoD content platform Dobox TV offers simultaneous online premiere of cinema releases

Video clip interviews this week:
An African Edutainment TV Revolution - Can you mix a message with a good story?

Biyi Bandele talks about his new film Half of a Yellow Sun

Hafiz and Nadeem Juma, AIM Group, discuss digital content in Tanzania
Billy Kahora on writing the script for award-winning film Soul Boy

Tendeka Matatu on his forthcoming film about South Africa's corrupt police chief Jackie Selebie

Ayob Alarbi on a Libyan black TV comedy about the current insecurity in the country

Graham Wallington on WildEarth TV's live streaming of animals in Africa & elsewhere

Nick Wilson on Africa's answer to South Park - My Child: Teenage Mutant Azanians

A Different Nollywood: Andy Kozlov on a Nigerian-Ukrainian co-production, Feathered Dreams

Daniel Effiong on his 3 part film series of great Nigerian historic mysteries

Kunle Afolayan on his latest film October 1

Debra Odutuyo on her latest TV comedy show T Boy and changes in season 2 of Meet The Adebanjos

Nyasha Mboti on ReaGile's plan to build 1300 cinemas in South Africa's townships

Mo Abudu on how she started Ebony Life TV and licensing Desperate Housewives from Walt Disney

Gaurav Singh, Chief Digital Officer, Scan Group on when brands will spend more on digital in Africa

Hans-Christian Mahnke on Namibian film-makers and the state of the country's film industry