Eugene Nyagahene is Chairman and CEO, Tele10, Media and Communication Group, which was created in 1992 and is present in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. In the following exclusive IP&TV News interview, Eugene (who is delivering a standalone at next month’s keenly awaited AfricaCast) brilliantly illumines the trials and triumphs of the African IPTV marketplace.
It’s a great read, as well as an inspiring crash course into a booming marketplace.
IP&TV: What opportunities do multiscreen and OTT offer to the African marketplace?
Eugene Nyagahene: Since 1995, the pay-TV sub-Saharan industry was dominated by two satellite operators: DStv and Canalsat.
Five years ago, the DTT started slowly but is now mushrooming everywhere, dominated by both GOtv and Startimes. In the meantime, public broadcasters were still the major players in free-to-air.
Recently we have seen the fiber optic arrival across the continent and many 3G and 4G networks being set up. We are at the dawn of a new era in Africa: multiscreen and OTT taking over the classic ways of watching TV. Many opportunities come along with this revolution: content provision for both international and local producers, new and huge niches of customers as there is no need to set up a dish or buy an STB, better slots for advertisers – and a “gold mine” for smartphone producers as Africans will be replacing their old GSM phones, ect…
What challenges does the marketplace present?
The biggest challenge so far has been the limited bandwidth. That is being addressed by the new 4G networks – combined with fiber optics. The other challenge is and remains the content. Sports are well established, but local news and local documentary production will remain an issue as long as we don’t have enough adequate production facilities in Africa.
Last but not least, the overall business model needs to be fine-tuned and better understood.
At your AfricaCast keynote you’ll be discussing (among other things) the recent lessons learned concerning VOD? Can you give us a foretaste of this theme and its wider relevance?
The VOD attempts were a failure simply because the market was not yet ready technically and content wise. No major group is willing to enter the market yet – mainly because of copyrights and piracy risks.
But a good number of start-ups and small and medium size aggregators are on the starting blocks. Things will be different from now on.
How exciting a prospect is the switchover from analogue to digital in the African marketplace for broadcasters?
It’s simply amazing. The TV remote control now has a reason to exist and is becoming a familiar tool for the millions of Africans left out by the pay-TV revolution.
The continent has been waiting for new channels and better picture and sound quality, for a long time. No doubt that the way GSM changed the lives of millions of Africans, the DTT platforms will impact their habits and behaviour.
Is this your first visit to AfricaCast? What is the attraction of the event?
I attended the first AfricaCast more than two ago and I was impressed by the high profile of speakers and attendants. It’s for sure the biggest event of its kind on the continent – and no one in our industry can afford not to attend. I will keep coming for many years to come.
Eugene Nyagahene will be speaking at this year’s AfricaCast (Cape Town, November 12 – 14), the region’s premier show on the future of broadcasting. For booking and more info go here.