Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) awarded licences to new television broadcasting players last week, marking another milestone towards Botswana’s vision of a connected and informed society.
BOCRA awarded a licence to a Subscription Management Service Provider and two licences to two Subscription Satellite Television Service Providers. This follows after the organisation last month awarded the first set of licences to Subscription Management Service Providers.
The new licencees were Ovy Network, Alfaview, Clouds TV and Econet Media Botswana. Handing over the licences, BOCRA acting chief executive, Tshoganetso Kepaletswe said the satellite Television Service providers will broadcast content as a single channel or aggregate several channels built into a bouquet.He said the content could be locally produced by the licensee or commissioned from third parties in the form of a full channel or specific programme. “It is important to note that the licensee will carry all the broadcasting obligations especially of material that is suitable for Botswana broadcasting. Conscious of the broadcast market dynamics, we would like to urge new entrants to make a strategic shift towards creating your own content and even better quality local content,” Kepaletswe said and adding that creation of local content is vital in a society as it provides material that is relevant to the audience.
The BOCRA official said value of local content cannot be overemphasised as it is through local content that local broadcasters can showcase abundant talent and creativity that exists in the country. He said on the other hand, local content presents an opportunity for the industry to showcase the country’s rich cultural diversity and through that, broadcasting will contribute directly to the economic empowerment of people.
Already, BOCRA has commenced initiatives to facilitate the development of local content and is currently working alongside other stakeholders in the local content committee to devise ways and means of facilitating production and consumption of local content. Kepaletswe urged producers to take keen interest and participate in the initiative. He said BOCRA’s mandate is to foster the development of broadcasting service and increasing variety of choice for customers. Traditional broadcasting, in comparison to online broadcasting is capital intensive and requires a lot of investment and due to the small population in the country, there has been low interest in venturing into the broadcasting sector.
“We all know that advertisers who are the primary financiers of broadcasting are driven by large audiences, for the simple reason that they want a wide reach for their products, fortunately, due to technological advances and different facility sharing models, the cost of running a broadcasting station is coming down,” said Kepaletswe.
In light of these developments, the authority said it is giving opportunity for aspiring broadcasters to venture in this sector.
“I believe you will not disappoint and our predecessors have previously issued licences under other licensing categories, but the licencees never progressed beyond holding a licence. Our reason for licensing more players is to see the industry grow and offer consumer variety of choice,” said Kepaletswe.Econet Media Botswana’s KWESE Executive Director, Kagiso Mmusi, expressed gratitude towards BOCRA for awarding the new licences and said this is a great opportunity for them to meet and satisfy the country as they are going to bring more TVs with different channels which can educate and entertain.
“At KWESE, we have already launched in nine countries and we have about 61 channels and we will be launching here in Botswana in the next two months and we already have offices and a team of staff,” he said. Mmusi said they will try to make sure that they fully utilise the licence and believed that other new players would do the same.