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Peter Kuthan / AZFA
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« on: February 13 2017 »

by Sunday News Online | Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 | 210 views

The Government, through the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Servicing is seized with the digitisation project which is certain to change the face of broadcasting in the country and also impact in a positive way on the arts industry.

The revolution in broadcasting, which is hallmarked at migration from analogue to digital television, is set to open employment opportunities for most Zimbabweans. Digitisation means the conversion of analogue information into digital information. It is a massive project that affects the entire television value chain which includes viewers, media companies, the TV broadcaster and regulator in profound and different ways.

It is the most significant innovation in television since colour television was introduced in the 1950s. Digitisation has the potential to improve both the quantity and quality of what is available on TV and to increase the number of people who will be able to watch it. As digitisation capabilities extend, virtually every aspect of life is captured and stored in some digital form, and societies move closer towards the networked interconnection of everyday objects.

source: http://www.sundaynews.co.zw/editorial-comment-digitisation-unravelling-potential-gold-mine/

While emphasis on such projects in other countries has been on the technical side, what is unique about Zimbabwe is that the ministry has made a deliberate and well calculated move to educate artistes, who are content producers, of the opportunities that come with the innovation. The ministry has been moving around the country, inviting all those involved in the arts industry who include content creators, film industry personnel, aspiring film makers and tertiary institutions to round table discussions, with recent meeting held in the Matabeleland South capital of Gwanda and the Matabeleland North capital of Lupane.

The ministry and Zim Digital officials were recently in Gweru in the Midlands for a similar mission, which means that no one will be left out of the project, unless people decide to spurn the good gesture from the ministry and fold their hands after being given an opportunity to be part of the new era in television. Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe was quoted recently as saying content production was a multi-million dollar business which Zimbabweans, especially the youths, must take advantage of.

“The youths must embrace this digitisation programme. President Mugabe is very worried about the youths. He always wishes well for them each year as they graduate from schools. So this is an opportunity for them to create employment and be their own bosses in content creation for broadcasters,” Dr Mushohwe said, adding that Government would be advocating 75 percent local content.

He said there was a lot of work to be done for the channels that would be operating 24 hours a day. Instead of one nationwide terrestrial channel being used by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), when the digitisation exercise is completed, 12 high definition broadcasting channels would be availed.

Once the project is complete, almost all parts of the country will be able to get transmission, and most importantly, the involvement of local content producers means that Zimbabweans will be able to tell their own stories.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information Mr George Charamba, is also on record as saying that the digitisation project sits in well with the 75 percent local content policy.

“That element of insisting on 75 percent local content will mean that the viewer will have a diversity of choice but within the circumscription of that which is African. The 75 percent local content policy means massive employment creation, it means massive value, and it means massive cultural statement from Zimbabwe. It means a Zimbabwe that can export, that does not listen but that speaks globally.”

We therefore urge local content producers to take the opportunity with both hands and be part of the new dispensation in television broadcasting. That way, the industry can go and compete with the likes of South Africa and Nigeria, and make a significant contribution into the country’s economy.

South Africa’s creative economy contributed R90,5 billion directly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 2013/2014 financial year, with the bulk of the money coming from the film and arts sector. The emergence of Bollywood in Nigeria has also had a massive injection into the country’s GDP. In 2013, Robert Orya, managing director, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), said Nollywood ranked third globally in gross earnings.

He said the revenue the film industry generated in the last three years was between $300m and $800m, so apart from creating employment for many, the digitisation project has the potential to unravel a gold mine for the country.
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