Sealing Digitization, Content Financing Under Atmosphere of Fun

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Arguably, one of the major events to look forward to every two years, Africast, the biennial international conference of African broadcasters held its 11th edition in Abuja recently. Coordinated by the regulatory agency, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, the 2016 edition was a three-day event under the broad theme, ‘Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting: The Imperative of Financing Quality Content’.

Since its inception in 1996, it has become the must-be platform for stakeholders in Africa’s broadcasting scene to converge and exchange ideas. It was no different this year with all the major broadcast outfits and companies that trade with them in Nigeria showing copious presence at the event.

With the notion that content is both key and king, many African broadcast stations are laboring under the challenge of meeting the statutory percentage of home grown content. Producing these content in-house or buying them from independent producers was one of the critical issues discussed at various turns during the conference.

Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed opened the conference with an assurance that the government was committed to achieving the 2017 Digital Switch Over deadline, while talking about the benefits available from DSO. He said, “This is why technology and broadcast content have remained critical issues at the various editions of AFRICAST. The digitization of the technology of broadcasting is rapidly changing broadcasting and offering fresh opportunities – broadcasters are embracing platforms for diverse content and now require media tools with continuous access to content throughout their business.

Content producers are delivering their programme content to ever more devices. The evolution of new broadcast platforms is threatening traditional broadcast platforms and channels. The reality though is that the motivation apparently is that as broadcasters engage new platforms, the market opportunities are increasing, providing new revenue streams”

Speaking directly to the theme of the conference, the Director General of the NBC, Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu revealed a plan to establish a content development fund, particularly for young people who wish to go into broadcasting.

The event which also featured film shows. A networking session curated by Barollo Productions was sponsored by DSTV. This aspect was carried out in a convivial atmosphere with lots of finger foods, canapés and drinks while skilled saxophonist, Yemi Sax serenaded guests with soothing tunes.

The gala night featured an Abuja-based juju music troupe on the band stand. The audience was also entertained by agile and spritely Koroso dancers from Kano State. But the star attraction was Tar Ukor and his Mambisa troupe whose regal apparels were very captivating.

MORE ACTION IN
THE BLACKLIST
Golden Globe-nominee James Spader returns as Raymond “Red” Reddington in season 4 of the action-thriller The Blacklist on Wednesday 9 November at 8::30pm. Season 3 topped the drama and espionage with a fast-paced plot involving former FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen, who, having suffered through a traumatic childbirth, was tragically ‘killed’- and then quite unexpectedly discovered alive.

Throughout the arrival of numerous villains (including one Alexander Kirk, who claimed to be Liz’s father), the FBI’s most wanted criminal, Red, remained as cool as a cucumber-especially when he found out that Liz survived.

Season 4 opens right where season 3 left off: everyone finds himself in the middle of a crisis and there’s a job to be done. Again, Liz , her new-born baby, and bad-guy-turned-good-guy-turned-loving-father Tom Keen are in danger. Liz is still being held prisoner by Alexander Kirk, and his startling paternity revelation may have some serious implications.

CHINA UNITES WITH AFRICA THROUGH MUSIC
Soulway Productions and Daara J Family have announced the marriage of Chinese and African music through the worldwide release of their first single, ‘Ramata’. This is the first time a Chinese producer is working with an African group. The single is an ode to love, African rhythms and Chinese. The song which is produced by UJ is co-written and performed by Daara J Family.

“When the media talk about Africa, they do not show us the beauty of this continent. I had the chance to meet a Senegalese who became my wife. I am convinced that it is possible to create a platform for cultural exchange between Africa and China, “said He Yujia, better known as UJ. This famous Chinese producer has written over 200 songs including the official anthem of France pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

“I want to change the image of Africa in China but also that of the Chinese in Africa,” he says. For this reason UJ worked with the Senegalese band Daara J Family. He revealed the reason behind the project: “We share a common love for music and wanted both sides, the same things. That is why we went into the studio the night of our first meeting and we recorded our first musical collaboration.”

‘Ramata’ is a mixture of hip-hop and R & B heady song in Wolof, Chinese and English. A concept album is also in preparation. It will aim to produce tracks with various artists from the African continent. Daara J Family is one of the most famous Senegalese rap groups. Established in 1992 by Faada Freddy and N’Dongo D, Daara J has expanded beyond the borders of Senegal to carry the colours of Africa. Their influences range from hip hop to soul through traditional African rhythms.

Daara J Family has won the 2003 BBC World Award for Best African Album. Soulway is an independent label based in Shanghai and founded by UJ in 2009 with the aim to share music “Made in China” with the world.

HARRY POTTER POP-UP CHANNEL
M-Net will treat viewers to a special M-Net Movies Harry Potter Pop-up Channel extravaganza until Sunday November 13, and it will run for 17 hours per day.
Leading up to the worldwide release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an all-new adventure takes viewers back to the wizardry world created by J.K. Rowling, as all M-Net customers will be able to watch all eight Harry Potter films.

In addition to these eight films, the M-Net Movies Harry Potter Pop-Up Channel will be packed with plenty of behind-the-scenes specials and features of this hugely successful movie franchise.

Every night at 7pm, viewers will be captivated by the magic of the Harry Potter stories and transported into the spellbinding world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The films will be screened in this time-slot each day in chronological order. But, if you can’t wait another day to watch the next film in the series, you can watch back-to-back screenings throughout the day.