FORUM on Digital Migration (23th – 25th of July)
ZIFF 2015 will be hosting a forum focused on “The Challenge of Producing Local Content in the Processes of Digital Migration” during the forthcoming festival taking place the 18th – 26th of July.
With the support of GIZ and the East African Community, ZIFF will be organizing this three-day forum that will bring filmmakers, TV executives and policymakers to Zanzibar to discuss the impact and implications of policies around the digital migration and the impact on film and TV production in East Africa.
Africa’s digital transition in broadcasting has the potential to improve both the quantity and quality of what is available on TV and to increase the number of people who will be able to watch it. Digital migration is an important milestone in world media and this forum will create the opportunity for many of these high-powered stakeholders to discuss both the challenges and opportunities it presents.
Participants in the event will include television executives and policy makers from the region including Mr Meredith Beal of AITEC, who will also give the keynote speech at the forum. Mr Beal is a media owner in the United States and a master media consultant with the African Media Initiative (AMI) in Nairobi.
Other guests will include Mr Patrick Quarcoo – CEO of Bamba TV (Kenya), the media group that recently launched a free-to-view decoder targeting homes that have either not yet migrated to digital, or do not wish to pay monthly subscriptions for the service.
Also participating will be Mr Bob Collymore of Safaricom and Mr Joseph Kusaga of Clouds Media Group, which has been expanding its digital portfolio with the launch of new African channels in the diaspora.
Mr Richard Alden, CEO- Wananchi Group Holdings (Kenya), who will also be attending the event, explains Zuku’s role in this space, ” Quality programming is a key part of Zuku’s strategy. As a pay TV provider we have witnessed audience’s appetite for quality local content that has recently experienced a shot of adrenaline because of the Digital TV migration. This has spurred great interest in producing and distributing local content….”
Talking about the importance of this forum being held at ZIFF, the workshop’s moderator, Wangeci Murage of Media Pros Africa noted, “ZIFF is not only a platform for distributing films and networking, but also an important platform for exchanging ideas and developing policies and strategies that affect the creative industries.”
We, as the East African film community, need to ask ourselves what models of business would there be when the migration has happened and how can we take advantage of it? Given the cost of broadband and poor smartphone prevalence in much of Africa, TV will remain the most appropriate tool for reaching bigger audiences with image and sound. Production of content, the creative utilisation of digital technology, and the policy environment are three of the main issues that film industry needs to discuss and will discuss at this important event.