In the second of a series of interviews taking the temperature of African connected entertainment in advance of this year’s AfricaCast, IP&TV News catches up with Simbarashe Mabasha, director at the Afrikan Dust Media Group.
IP&TV News: Hi Simbarashe. In the year that’s passed since AfricaCast 2013, what have been the most significant advances has OTT made in the regional ecosystem?
The most significant advances in the past year have been the increase in Afro-centric or Afro-focused Video-on-Demand services. The other significant advance has been traditional broadcasters and telco companies entering the OTT space with their own music and video streaming services.
How much of its progress has to do with the cloud? What opportunities does TV in the cloud open up to African operators?
The cloud has decreased the barriers to entry so to speak. There are many services with turnkey solutions that allow established players to enter the market aggressively and quickly using cloud solutions. The cloud allows African operators to offer more OTT services especially Video-on-Demand services.
Has the explosion of home grown African content continued apace too?
There is an upward trajectory in terms of African content production. Pay and Free-to-Air broadcasters have increased budgets. OTT services are also investing in African content and thus African producers are making more content.
And what about regional connectivity? What are the most pressing issues here for the continent?
Regional connectivity continues to be an issue but that is changing with the increase of fibre connections inland in the African continent. The most pressing issues centre on cost of connectivity, which is going down in some countries but not in others. There is a need for a concerted effort between governments, telcos, broadcasters and content makers to form far reaching partnerships that are in the best interests of the consumer.
What do you think is going to define African broadcasting in the coming year, and how do you expect this will be reflected at this year’s AfricaCast?
I think content will define African broadcasting. As content makers gain more confidence and have more distribution options there will potentially be more diverse content on the market that will garner different audiences. The continued evolution of mobile content and mobile content distribution will initially complement traditional African broadcasting and surpass it in the coming years. AfricaCast will bring together a cross section of the relevant public and private players in African broadcast. Thus making it the best venue for informed and frank discussion about African broadcast.
Simbarashe Mabasha will be appearing at this year’s AfricaCast, Africa’s premier show on the future of broadcasting, which takes place on the 11th-13th November 2014 at the Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa. Go here for booking and info