Protect TV prime time slots, government told
The government should protect TV prime time slots for Kenyan programs to promote local content, the ongoing Broadcast, Film and Music Africa conference heard yesterday. Nigerian film maker Gregory Odutayo told the conference that a similar approach worked in Nigeria to ensure that local content is now king and advertisers’ dollars go into the sector.
“Over three years ago, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the broadcast regulators due to massive advocacy from producers designated the prime time belt in Nigeria exclusively to what was referred to as local content programmes,” Odutayo, the managing director of film production company Royal Roots Communication said.
“These were programmes of mainly Nigerian and African origin in effect between the hours of 7pm and 10 pm daily. This led to the boom we are now experiencing with Nigerian producers and content.” Prior to this, he explained, the airwaves were dominated by Spanish and Mexican soaps which were moved to either earlier or later times and as a result many of them declined in popularity.
“Now local Nigerian content is King in the Nigerian content landscape,” Odutayo said. Kenya Film Commission chief executive Peter Mutie who was present said the issue should be left to market forces. “At the moment we haven’t tried that in the country,” Mutie said. “What we have is the 40 per cent local content (requirement) but it is a good proposal.”
He added that the TV stations that had taken to showing local programming were now market leaders,” said Mutie. Ann Overbergh, a Belgian audio-visual consultant, cautioned that while local content is good, it is no magic wand. “People are expecting high quality in terms of scripting, filming, acting and so on,” Overbergh said. “For me the key word is local but quality content.” The conference brought together broadcasters, filmmakers, equipment vendors, manufacturers and scholars.