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Highlights of second AfricaCast Twitter Q&A: “Africa’s Digital Strategies”

Yesterday saw our second AfricaCast Twitter Q&A, “Africa’s Digital Strategies,” go off with a real bang.

We had, after all, a real coterie of experts, with Steve Christian, VP Marketing, Verimatrix (@t68src), Anton Smith, CEO Hambisana (@AntonSmith5) and Nick Ruczaj, VP Business Development EMEA Vubiquity (@VubiquityNick) all there to consider the big questions.

We got things going by asking this virtual panel what factors had given rise to new video services in Africa…

There is a lot of excitement now.With Fibre going into more gated communities, telecos rolling out LTE,everyone is thinking IPTV #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

.@IPTVNews Great Q. From a technology standpoint, of course this is part of a digitalization trend we see around the world #AfricaCast [@t68src]

.@IPTVNews Africa the next big untapped market for VOD. B/band has held us back but feels like a lot of momentum gathering #AfricaCast [@VubiquityNick]

@IPTVNews The spectrum freed by the DTT migration is also creating opportunities forPVOD & TVOD #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

IP&TV News then moved on to ask about monetization. Was this going to be straightforward for operators over the coming years? Steve Christian saw it all perfectly clearly:

.@IPTVNews Like the rest of the world, smartphones and adaptive video delivery can make new VOD services highly accessible #AfricaCast [@t68src]

But what about the pitfalls operators face integrating multi-network services in Africa? And how to avoid them?

.@IPTVNews Allocate where to spend very carefully. Don’t skimp on specialist skills, but do avoid costs e.g. smartcard dist. #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

.@IPTVNews as it’s the customer that ultimately bears that cost & operators need to keep cost down to reach bigger audiences #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

We soon turned our attention to the current status of VOD in Africa, which Nick saw as a massive area for near-future development…

.@IPTVNews MNET has BoxOffice in SA but few movies as push-VOD. iROKOtv for Nollywood. Apart from these it’s all up for grabs! #AfricaCast [@VubiquityNick]

Content, Nick stressed, was a mixture, with plenty of local to protect. I asked Steve, who should know, how operators were securing it…

.@IPTVNews Of course, broadcast security is the baseline, with twist that cardless changes dynamic of cost and logistics #AfricaCast [@t68src]

Then the massive question – exactly how important was digital growth to African government? The answer was emphatic…

.@IPTVNews Digital technology has the potential to add several points to GDP growth in Africa. #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

.@IPTVNews growth of digital video services? – these are essential foundations of communication and commerce infrastructure #AfricaCast [@t68src]

.@IPTVNews Its uses in education, development of the arts and trade should not be under-estimated. #AfricaCast [@AntonSmith5]

.@IPTVNews I think, in the best outcomes, a way to foster national and regional identity in cultural and entrepreneurial sense #AfricaCast [@t68src]

Such, anyhow, were the main points! And there were many more besides. Which you can explore for yourself at our Twitter page @IPTVNews. And/or, you can see our three experts delve into the same topics at a special forum co-hosted at this month’s AfricaCast (see below).

Thanks to everyone who participated, helped, asked questions, and followed the debate! Until next time…

The forum, “Multi-network solutions in the Real World: Proactive Digitalisation Strategies to Maximise Revenue Growth,” will take place on November 13, 2013, 1:35pm to 2:50pm, at the Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa. It is free to attend, but seating is limited, so please reserve your spot today.

AfricaCast (Cape Town, November 12 – 14), is the region’s premier show on the future of broadcasting. For booking and more info go here.

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