Theme: Afriwood Rising II
When: 28 – 29 October 2015
Where: Nairobi – Kenya
Who& What: BFMA gathers broadcast executives, producers, advertising agency executives, regulators, academics, policy makers, content providers, animators, script writer and other creative industry professionals to promote their service, exchange ideas, discuss industry issues, make deals, engage and network.
Features included: workshops, entertainment with live music performances, 21 exhibitor booths and panel discussions.
The conference was officially opened by Meredith Beal, the event director who made welcome and opening remarks as well as apologies for the absence of invited H.E Cabinet Secretary of ICT, Dr. Fred Matiangi.
He then introduced the panel discussion: State of African Film Industry. The lead presenter, Ndiritu Muriithu, Advisor- Pan-Africa Federation of Film-makers (FEPACI) who begun by speaking about a new report done by FEPACI- The State of African Film Industry. The report will be available for download in a month on the organization’s website. It contains analysis of the economic contributions of film industries in Africa; with Nigeria topping the list, followed by South Africa, then Kenya and Ethiopia. It also contains the global ranking and world film map as well as trends in Africa such as digital opportunities in technology, distribution and earnings.
From his experience engaging with African Governments on policy making for the creative industry, Ndiritu advised that “as creatives, we should begin to make the economic case” when dealing with Governments, advocating for better policies etc. This is because Governments and leaders across the continent and more so here in the region are keen on creating and facilitating opportunities for job creating, as a majority of the young population are unemployed, so it is quite a concern, and that approach will be sure to catch their attention.
In closing he stated one of FEPACI’s priorities is to champion the collection of statistical data on cultural and creative industries, which is good to hear for us working on Mokolo.
Another heated panel discussion was the talk about: Digital Migration; Facing Realities. This was moderated by Bonny Tunya, CNBC Africa ‘Power Lunch’ host. A presentation led by Edith Njeru, Technical Manager-Rossy Telecom and former Broadcast Engineer-KBC, started off with outlining the challenges facing digital broadcasting based on a Kenyan case study. She stated that some of them are content and transmission where the digital migration in Kenya left many witnessing disagreements, court battles and switch-off moments because local TV stations having invested in expensive transmitters, that were immediately being faced-out and with none or very little compensation were opposing the move. Secondly despite the minimum rule of 40% being local content airing on TV stations, that is not being absolutely implemented, hence content providers lacking the chance to get their content onto TV, as well as the trend of airing more news content to near the 40% requirement, which is not providing viewers with content that is exciting, challenging and not predictive. This leaves viewers going for Pay TV subscriptions, with Dstv enjoying a majority share especially for the National Geographic and Premier League channels. Emerging players are combining triple and quadrupleplay like Zuku (triple play) and Safaricom’s Big Box but really the light bulb moment is “when someone gets the right mix of content in affordable bouquets/packages”.
One of the opportunities however with the digital migration is using virtual sets rather than live sets which are expensive to construct, as the What’s Good Studio team does” Tilo Ponder, CEO shared. Furthermore, the discussion has moved from do we have quality content to what stories are we telling? In conclusion, all content producers present noted that there are emerging stations on the digital frequencies that content can be sold to and collaborations made, as it might take some time before the major media industry players “promote our content and style up!”Linus Wamanya,Uganda Media Association. Not to forget as well that animations are picking quite well and becoming very popular, so that is another genre full of opportunities.
So, “go for it- local content, your stories, you’ve got the ingenuity” Barry Lambert, Fox Channel and always remember to think global consumption and look at different channels of distribution. The biggest opportunity lies in nurturing domestic and international markets for creative products and services.