Zimpapers will be introducing 6 new channels, the first of which will be going on-air before the end of July. Zimpapers CEO, Pikirayi Deketeke, disclosed this information at Zimpapers’ annual general meeting.
‘Feel Good’ news?
Broadcasting is not exactly a new avenue for Zimpapers. Last year, Zimpapers introduced ZTN Network and these were the baby steps necessary to ready Zimpapers for this transition to video content. Mr Deketeke said:
So, for us, we have been awarded the television licence for TV content distribution, we have paid over $150 000 in licence fees. Our plan is to start with a 24 hour news channel. Studio construction is being done here (at the head office) and is about 75 percent complete. So we are on a firm foundation in terms of launching the TV side of our business.
The channel has been described as a “feel good” news channel, which seems strange to me considering that for the most part news is really tragic. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how they achieve the feel good factor and fortunately we won’t have to wait for long since the news channel will airing by the 30th July.
Not really surprising
Having given this some thought it’s not really surprising that Zimpapers would first commit to a news channel. They are already in the news business and they are well-sourced so they don’t have to build that aspect from the ground up.
Secondly, Zimpapers already has the aforemmentioned Zimpapers Television Network, which runs on YouTube and Facebook. Though that channel is exclusively on already-existing platforms, it has interviews and some content that will probably fit on a news channel.
Go big or go home…
Zimpapers recently got a broadcasting licence and they won’t be using it exclusively for a news channel. They will also be introducing 5 other channels:
- A prime channel with 75% local content
- Two music channels
- There will be one gospel channel, whilst a separate channel will have local, regional, and international music’
- Kids Channel
- Sports Channel
Zimpapers is yet to give a timeline of when these remaining channels will be available. It is understandable that Zimpapers would diversify their activities and get into the video content space. This gives them an opportunity to get more advertising dollars, something that Mr Deketeke acknowledged that broadcasting is the new frontier “where the advertising dollar is going.”
People have accused Zimpapers most prominent publication –The Herald- of being biased. With that in mind I’m wondering if the news coverage on Zimpapers News channel will not end up with a similar reputation.
Last month, George Charamba (Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information of Zimbabwe) said there would be an introduction of about 12 channels and if six of them are from government-owned Zimpapers and ZBC also add their History, Religion and Security channels then best believe the state will continue to dominate the airwaves.
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