Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Botswana under-utilising ICT facilities for revenue based television, so says junior minister

BY CEDRIC SWANKA

While specialised researchers, Digital TV research projects that African “Over The Top” content revenues will reach US$1billion by 2024,  Parliament has this past week learnt that Government has no active platforms for expanding the viewership, distribution and revenue generation of locally produced creative content through the digital divide.

Speaking in Parliament junior Minister at Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Ministry – Phillip Makgalemele said that even the youth oriented channel NOW! launched last year does not operate on its own digital broadcasting platform.

He added that the youth television channel launched early last year is yet to appear on the public television space, it is currently available on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform such as Botswana Television.

Over The Top content is a platform which offers tailor made viewing and digital distribution of content to consumers through online streaming. OTT also enables content providers to directly to consumers. However according to Assistant Minister Makgalemele, Government is yet to finalise preparations for NOW TV`s own broadcasting packages.

He said “The ministry is currently in the process of procuring services for streaming of its NOW TV channel, which will create a platform for showcasing of content by the local performing and creative arts industry. An application will be developed to access the TV channel through the internet.”

“My ministry will continue to use its various communication platforms for example, communications centre, NOW TV, to capacitate and educate Batswana on the use of the developed and available OTT applications in order to share their content for revenue generation,” he said.

While there is an ongoing initiative to connect Botswana`s villages towns and cities with the rest of the world through the national backbone fibre network, Assistant Minister Makgalemele said “As a way of improving accessibility of internet services to its clients, my ministry is implementing a project for Wi-Fi connection in nine youth centres across the country. These areas include Kasane, Kachikau, Mosojane, Matsiloje, Gantsi, Letlhakane, Tutume, Mahalapye and Gaborone.”

“The project will be completed in June 2019. The libraries across the country will also be used for research on various available applications for content sharing. It is a value added service that will be considered during the course of the current financial year.” The Assistant Minister concluded.

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