Local content producers and filmmakers are set to receive a new online video on demand streaming platform to assist them professionalise and generate revenue from their productions.
Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET) last week signed a memorandum of understanding with 12 local content producers partnering with them to create an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) platform exclusively featuring Botswana content based on Batswana stories and lives.
Initially the IPTV is expected to start off with ninety television titles all sourced locally from Batswana registered companies.
BOFINET chief executive officer Mabua Mabua said they did an assessment of the ICT market space.
“As we imported content and distributed internet, there was a realisation that local content percentage that travels across our networks was around three to five percent. This was worrying because it means we pay to use the internet and its services and nobody pays us,” he said.
“Because the network was well funded in terms of the parts played by government and there was a feeling that we needed to play in the content space to facilitate in generation of local content. We have signed twelve initial content producers and the beauty about internet platforms is that it is accessible to anybody from anywhere in the world,” he added.
Local filmmaker and Deezone Productions chief executive officer Thabiso Maretlwaneng shared that this came at the right time as the creative industry is going through the most challenging time due to COVID 19.
“Our industry is the first one to close and it will be the last one to open up. It is a great opportunity for filmmakers, content producers because we are spread in terms of trying to tell our stories. BOFINET decided to pitch in and save us, at least with what we have we will be able to show tell the world what Botswana can do,” said Maretlwaneng.
“Fellow filmmakers this is an opportunity for us to not only create content but to also unite and create content that the world can be proud of. The Nigerians have proven to the world that with unity they can create content that will be on the biggest platforms in the world.”
Deputy Permanent Secretary Cecil Masiga in the Ministry of Transport and Communications challenged initial starting twelve content creators to make the best out the opportunity given.
“We want to see you grow into SMMEs that eventually become multi-nationals which can be exported to other markets elsewhere. You are being given this opportunity because and we sincerely ask of you to grab this opportunity because going forward we are encouraging competition as there will be other who enter this race,” he said.
“If the content is appealing the direct contribution of the content creation industry in Botswana will be significant in the Gross Domestic Product. Creating high quality content will require significant skills and ingenuity, however do not be tempted to be copycats. We encourage you adopt a strategic approach based on professionalism, ethics and good conduct,” Masiga said.
The IPTV is set to help further boost local content producers digital footprint, as majority of them depend on social media platforms for sharing their content and even engaging the audience. The IPTV will help provide a one stop shop for different titles based on Botswana stories and lives. BOFINET further shared that the platform will start off with ninety titles in the platforms first year and they will grow to a hundred and forty-four by the second year and then a further hundred and sixty-two in the third year. All content sourced from local will range from television dramas, to animated productions and many other forms of entertainment.