2015 will be important as far as digital media is concerned. This year has already set a solid foundation for digital media so 2015 will be the year that we will see more products and traction on already existing digital media products.
There are some things that are due to happen like digital migration of the airwaves that appear not to going with each passing day. But all the same, we should expect more media to consume at cheaper rates.
DStv will increase subscription rates…again.
They call it the “annual subscription price increase” and there is no reason we shouldn’t expect it in 2015. The increase in 2014 was $1 for lower prized bouquets and $2 for the higher end packages.
Data from MyBroadband shows that DStv rates have steadily increased since 2004 and we don’t expect the trend to stop when MultiChoice conducts its annual price review within the first quarter of 2015.
Our wish: Obviously we don’t want this to happen.
Zimbabwe likely to miss the ITU deadline for digitisation
Zimbabwe, and the rest of the world that hasn’t, will have to switch down analogue signals for DTT by 17 June 2015. Despite the piecemeal coverage on ZBC, there seems to be little awareness on this if you consider the national significance and “mass migration” needed to pull this through.
According to Gelfand Kausiyo, an expert in the field, Zimbabwe needed $60 million towards the “first phase” of the process. We don’t know how much of that budget has already been spent on the process but we do know that the company tasked with delivery (Transmedia) was awarded just $1.5 million in the 2015 national Budget.
However, we understand the private sector, Telcos in particular, have assisted in funding part of the process by buying spectrum in advance.
Our Wish: Definitely we are keen to see this happen before the deadline. Digital migration will open up opportunities for content creators and improve the all round connectivity across the country. Officials, please don’t mess this up!
Media companies to place bigger bets on the internet
The internet is the Achilles heel for traditional media companies and so far local players haven’t responded to it in a decisive way. Only Zimpapers has offered an internet model, however unproven, by launching properties like Sportszone and Zimpapers News Hub an online paid subscription service to all publications under it’s stable.
If international trends are anything to go by, then pay-wall models on content are not exactly the best was to monetize content online locally. Only a handful of publications like the Wall Street Journal charge for some of their content, and they can do that because they can provide unique insight and make sense of the things their subscribers care for.
The apparent strategy for publishers is to focus on developing web-first content and try to lure real advertising dollars to their digital platforms. They already have great leverage in terms of traffic and loyalty, they simply need to develop content (video, on the dot updates) primarily for this audience and develop advertising concepts around it.
This may also require a complete shake up of the organisation if the want to grab the future before the future screws them up.
Our wish: Born in this space ourselves, we certainly would like to see more publishers go digital first and not wait till tomorrow to break stories.
More multi-media entertainment options
Companies like Liquid Telecom have done a fantastic job in laying fiber infrastructure necessary for hyper data consumption without blinking. If you’re like me and you have been blessed with unlimited internet access at above average speeds, you will understand how this opens a real “whole new world of entertainment”.
Thanks to fiber role-out in most urban centres (I know, mostly Harare), most will see no reason to switch on the bore that is ZBC or pay “so much more” in DStv subscription.
Our Wish: Zimbabwe currently has no choice or expensive choice on entertainment. Would like to see more players and greater access to entertainment via the web facilitated by lower internet prices.
More local content and more local appetite for it
2014 has proved that, all things equal (stable and affordable internet), Zimbabweans love local content and digital media is the feeding ground. Remember Zvirikufaya Videos which later morphed to Zvirikufaya naKheda?
Or more recently the PO Box crew whose video content has been viewed more than 60 000 times on Facebook alone in a matter of weeks. If you include WhatsApp and YouTube, the figure could be staggering.
2015 should be the year for content creators to make sense of all this traction which won’t be slowing down. There is also a huge opportunity for content creators who can be pundits on the urban culture sprawling all over Zimbabwe’s urban centres and leaving an equal footprint on the web.
Our wish: The opportunity for content creators is immense. Access to online content is getting cheaper and more widespread and we would definitely want to see more local players in this space.