Zimbabwean television is pitiful. I need hardly mention that. This sentiment has always been shared by numerous viewers who complain about bad programming. It’s also represented in the booming industry of alternatives like Pay TV or DVDs that Zimbabweans are forced to take up just to get decent entertainment.
It’s not just the viewers that are saying that, though. Content producers also feel the same way.
At a recent TEDx event hosted by the University of Zimbabwe, Zororo Makamba, the radio and television personality behind the award-winning show Tonight with Zororo, shared his own perspective on the poor state of Zimbabwean television, bringing out some of the challenges that he encountered in distributing his TV show nationally.
After facing some obstacles in getting his show on ZBC, Makamba turned to online distribution, using YouTube and Facebook as the primary platforms for distributing his content. This was followed up by a distribution deal with MultiChoice that secured a spot for his show on its DStv channel Zambezi Magic.
Citing the rise of online content consumption patterns that have powered the rise in popularity of material from producers like P.O Box and Zambezi News, Makamba pointed out how Zimbabwean content is scattered across various platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook, something that he believes points to the opportunity of a central distribution platform.
It’s placing all bets on the future of Zimbabwean television and content distribution on the power of the internet, something that has already been explored by content producers and even new players like Econet with its Kwesé TV.
At the moment, all these seem like very ambitious bets, especially with factors like internet penetration and the cost of data not yet fully ironed out. However, if the rise of internet video sensations is anything to go by, Zimbabweans are willing to pay for an internet connection just to watch something entertaining and avoid ZBC TV.
You can watch Zororo Makamba’s TEDx talk below.