Aitec Africa, a company focusing on ICT publishing, event management, professional development and training in Africa utilizing computing and telecommunications, held their 4th Broadcast, Film and Media Africa Conference and exhibition in Nairobi on 10-11 July 2012. The year’s theme was “Innovation, investment and partnerships for local content and service excellence,” focusing on the two main areas of industry development: content development and content distribution.
Steve Rich, NewSat’s Regional Head for Africa participated in “Broadcasting: The impact of new satellite technologies” session together with fellow speakers from SES, Luxembourg and Eutelsat, France. He talked about content distribution and the difficulty that the new and existing broadcasters are facing; their ability to fund and maintain necessary infrastructure which is often cited as the primary cause limiting the growth of the broadcasting industry in the African market.
This concept of channel distribution opposed to signal distribution was proposed, where industry participation allowed for managed broadcast services procured on a per channel basis from a platform provider. For an annual cost per channel, a platform provider could offer content management, playout, conditional access, signal distribution, STB procurement and distribution, and service support. To the broadcaster, this looks like to be given from under one roof, but to the platform provider, some services like STB procurement and distribution, playout and content management may be sourced in.
Rich’s presentation highlighted that economies of scale derived from servicing multiple broadcasters would ensure that the cost of channel delivery became affordable to all broadcasters in a region. In turn, this would allow small broadcasters to enter the market and significantly increase sector growth. He also highlights that with the introduction of Jabiru-1 and later Jabiru-3, NewSat’s skills and services, together with local entities would allow NewSat to participate in a regional channel distribution strategy and NewSat welcomed discussions along these lines. Jabiru-1 and Jabiru-3 will bring new capacity to the African continent initially covering parts of East Africa and later Southern Africa.