Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Content producers, creatives could finally “eat” something

It is just a matter of time before it “rains” Pula (Botswana currency) for some of the local content producers and other players in creative sector as two government arms are preparing to start procuring their material.

The ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) which houses the creative sector says it has partnered with the Botswana Fibre Network (BoFinet) – a wholesale internet seller to create a video streaming service for state owned TV channel known as “Now”.

The collaboration between the three state organs, if well implemented could generate revenue to local creatives.

Now TV Channel which has not had an easy acclimatisation to the local and regional television, will be made available online courtesy of BoFinet hotspots and BoFiNet`s mobile television taxi service.

In a press conference this past week MYSC and BoFinet revealed that Now Tv channel will be made available across the country on 34 BoFinet hotspots, showcasing Botswana productions. Through a webpage the public locally and globally will be able to access television content on the platform free of charge.

Now Tv Project lead Legae Digwaamaje said “the unique selling proposition is that we broadcast 100 percent local content. We already have programs on the streaming service, as 49 programs were acquired at the tune of P19 million. The ministry also acquired an additional 68 programs for 13 categories of programming at a tune of P44 million.”

“We want to see quality productions from Batswana and have Now Tv grow and self-sustain itself with content from Batswana. Over 80 percent of companies engaged are youth and participating or contracted companies are 100 percent local companies. For now the platform will not be accepting international bids or programs,” Digwaamaje said.

To ensure fairness and inclusivity when sourcing content for the channel and the platform, MYSC revealed that the tendering method had been put into practice to allow production companies across the country a fair chance. Tenders were put out for a minimum of a month before being closed.

On issues of royalties and copyright protection, Digwamaaje said “issues of royalties have been taken into consideration, we are working closely with Copyrights and Intellectual property Authority (CIPA) as well as Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) to come up with a comprehensive strategy. Our artists will not be left behind.”

Explaining the mechanics behind their role as BoFiNet, technical executive Mpho Koolese said “MYSC and BoFiNet held meetings to help resolve challenges faced by the channel and BoFiNet suggested a couple of ICT initiatives that could help resolve the challenges. BoFiNet contributions included development of a portal that will be used to access the channel online.”

BoFiNet currently has 34 hotspots in public spaces such as malls, airports, bus ranks and hospitals which have been equally availed in areas such Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Kasane. The Now tv streaming platform is expected to utilize these services in order to attract viewership and also provide MYSC with statistics on the channel`s mass appeal in terms of visitors and programs viewed. BoFiNet revealed that the Wi-Fi hotspots attract over two thousand users on a daily basis.

Koolese revealed that “BoFinet is in the process of expanding hotspots to areas such as Gantsi, Tsabong and Thamaga to name a few such that youth in such areas will access the platform. Batswana with devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and even home and work computers will be able to connect with the platform at their convenience.”

This coming week the Ministry of Youth and BoFinet will officially unveil the website address as well as platform, followed a country wide road show to create awareness for the different opportunities the platform presents to Batswana.

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