Set up by Aitec Africa, Broadcast Film and Music Africa conference which took place in Nairobi, Kenya on 10-11 July 2012 was the occasion for African film makers and broadcasters to better understand the state of the market. A few of them shared experience, best practices and explored innovations in audiovisual content sourcing and distribution.
Abubaker Kawenja, Broadcaster, Journalist and Theatre Practitioner in Uganda had a few ideas to share. Kawenja started by pointing out that the major complaint among content producers in Africa is that there is no financing. However producers, especially young ones, need to think around this challenge since funding will always be a problem.
Mobile cinema can help young producers to supplement their budgets. Mobile Cinema is a kind of survival strategy for young African film producers. This is because the challenges that stand between them and financing are many. Some of the challenges include piracy which means that the producers sales are not guaranteed and poor quality products which means that the premium buys may not be attracted.
Another challenge is poor distribution channels that mean it both takes time to get a film seen and it may not be seen by many people. Furthermore, lack of collateral means that the producers find it hard to get financing from conventional financiers. Other challenges include the tendency of African young producers to work individually thus not benefiting from pooling strengths and talents.
Mobile cinema therefore provides the avenue where they can begin building their resources to help them do productions that can be distributed through other channels. This channel has its own strengths as well. It ensures that the producer has total control over the product as well as widening the audience in the long run. It also provides the producer with the opportunity to interact with masses and thereby getting deep insights on how to interact with them.
In a similar vein, George Kimani highlighted the key role of content distribution in the development of the African broadcast industry. George Kimani is the Business Development Director of Continental Content Distribution in Kenya. The speaker discounted the old mantra in broadcast that “Content is King,” saying that a few African broadcasters may have great content but have little or no revenue. Most broadcasters have been copying each other in broadcasting Mexican soaps.