Last week we reported on the six new channels that were operational in the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZBC) digital television migration. This, for whatever reason, was something the ZBC was oddly quiet about. One would assume that a landmark moment like this, which was long overdue, was something that the national broadcasting authority would shout about on every rooftop.
Well, in a report by The Chronicle, ZBC’s Head of Public Relations, Rumbie Moyo confirmed that the national broadcaster’s digital channels were indeed on the air.
“We recently launched six new channels of which three of them have started to air and these are ZBC TV, ZBC News and Jive TV. The channels are available on both Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) and Direct to Home (DTH).Rumbie Moyo, ZBC Public Realtions (via The Chronicle)
On DTT, one requires either an indoor or outdoor antenna to receive the signal and a compatible set top box (STB)/Decoder. With the advent of Digital Tvs (DTV) which are coming with inbuilt receivers, one only requires an indoor/outdoor antenna to scan for the channels. On DTH, one requires a compatible decoder, satellite receiving set (dish, lnb etc) and point their antenna to Eutelsat 7B and scan for the channels,”
Moyo went on to give more information about the content of the channels.
- JiveTV a channel that is 100% music and entertainment. 60% of the content will be local music, 25% will be African music and 15% will be international content.
- Dandaro, is dedicated to religious and traditional broadcasting.
- Shasha which caters to local and international dramas
- Sports263, is purely for sports across all disciplines.
- ZBC News, focuses on current events, business and tourism related programming
- ZBC TV is the standard programming we all know and “love”
These channels are on top of the ones that gained licences including Yadah TV, ABJ TV, and Christ TV.
The new channels are great opportunity for content creators, but…
ZBC launching these new channels is good for Zimbabwe’s content creators. Channels like Jive and Shasha will give a platform for a new generation of entertainers and storytellers. We have, for a very long time, looked on in envy at our neighbours across the southern border as their entertainment industry grew over the decades with the creators behind it get attention from international streaming services.
Things on our side of the border haven’t been helped by the ZBC’s remuneration model. From a conversation I had with a local animator the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation doesn’t pay for content, nor does it help with production after the approval process.
You will have to get sponsorship and sell ads in and around your show for you to make money off your work. This means that you will have to use whatever you have at your disposal to complete a production. If this is still the case then the national broadcaster needs to address this, because YouTube and other platforms, as difficult as they are, might still be more viable than going to the ZBC.
The ZBC has already lost the fight to DStv and OpenView
DStv and OpenView are bar none the most dominant services in Zimbabwe when it comes to entertainment and it’s mainly because people are tired of the rinse and repeat programming that many have had to endure for years. ZBC is only now bringing its digital offering to the public when many had invested in decoders for the South African based services.
From what I have seen on social media there are very few people who want to go out and buy an antenna to watch ZBC’s Digital programming. Some comments I saw were asking if ZBC could put the channels on OpenView because making another investment into a ZBC specific setup dox was something that they aren’t prepared to do.
All of this isn’t to say that there is no appetite for local content, quite the contrary, people want to watch shows that are closer to home. The only problem is asking someone to make an investment on top of those they have already made because for decades we were left to our own devices.
And this is saying nothing about the advent of streaming which might be a “North of Samora” product but its impact is still pretty big…