Angola: TV Zimbo’s Serge Kalu on taking on the state-owned TPA – “We pride ourselves on showing more.”

29 June 2018

Top Story

Angola’s TV Zimbo has been the pioneering privately owned broadcaster and has built itself a space. Once tightly controlled, the Angola broadcast market is now changing under the country’s new President. At the recent Global Media Forum, Russell Southwood spoke to Serge Kalu, Programmes Manager, TV Zimbo about its output and how things are changing.

TV Zimbo is the first privately owned TV station in Angola and is part of Grupo Medianova which also owns O País (second most read weekly newspaper with web site), Semanário Económico, O jornal da economia Angolana e do mundo, Socijornal, Revista Exame, Rádio Mais and the advertising agency Publivision. The current Chair of the Board is Filipe Correia de Sá, a longtime journalist who did a stint as General Manager at TV Zimbo.

Before TV Zimbo’s launch in 2008, there were only state-run channels and the advertising market was very small and TV Zimbo will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in November this year. Its launch shook up the rather closed world of state broadcasting dominated by news about the ruling party the MPLA. It started the first weekly TV debates (with representatives from the ruling party and the Government) which is also available in a streamed version.

”The group of business owners behind Grupo Medianova to change things. The mandate for state TV is completely different from TV Zimbo. We pride ourselces on showing more.”

In audience terms, TV Zimbo is fourth place out of six. The first two places are taken by the state TV channels TPA 1 and 2 followed by Zap TV (owned by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former President):”You have to look at the physical structure of viewing. There are almost 2 million TV households and 70-75% of these are on Zap TV and 25-30% on Multichoice. TV Zimbo is on both of these platforms because by law Angolan channels have to be carried by them. We have a daily viewership of about 3-4 million.”

The programming of its channel is for general interest viewers. From midnight to 7am, it shows religious programming from Angolan churches. From 8am to noon, it has a talk show called Sexto Sentido aimed at women with a female presenter, a cook and lifestyle items. From noon to 1pm this is followed by a health programme:”This is a major issue in Angola.”

From 2pm there is a call-in debate programme called Fala Angola which is followed by entertainment for children and young people, a sports programme, a music programme and a soapie. All of these are punctuated with news programmes. Some days there is an evening consumer programme.

So is the soapie local?:”We have local soapies but they are on TPA. It’s very expensive to make programmes in Angola and you need massive resources. There are two successful soapies - Windeck and Jikulumeso – TPA has produced. Our thing is live TV and we’re known for our debates, entertainment and live talk shows.”

The channel does live streaming but “there is not a high level of take-up because the Internet is very expensive. People don’t have the resources to do it but we have made an effort in the last two months to promote it. We have a department with 5 people who are just focused on social media.” In addition, DTT is not yet really implemented:”There’s been an effort for DTT but we’re not there yet.” Its expansion plans include creating new content, changing the studios they’re operating in and focusing on social media:”We are becoming bolder.”

The arrival of a new president has opened up the media space and new TV stations are opening up. Watch Serge Kalu, TV Zimbo on how the new President is opening up the TV and media space in Angola.

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