“Africa’s Broadcast Industry Must Create Platforms To Expand Audience Base And Footprint” – Botlenyana Mokhele, Councillor, Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa (ICASA)
Botlenyana, in an interview with Broadcast Media Africa (BMA), in preparation for the Industry OTT Content Streaming and VOD Services Forum taking place on the 5th – 6th February 2019 at the in Radisson Blu (Gautrain) Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa is urging the industry to focus on creating platforms to expand their audience base and footprint.
Below is an excerpt of the conversation Botlenyana had with the BMA on the forthcoming Forum where she is a featured speaker and panellist:
BMA: Why did you decide to get involved in this Industry Forum On: OTT Content Streaming And VOD Services?
Botlenyana: To better understand these services and their impact and contribution to the broadcasting industry, I view OTTs and VOD as complementary to traditional broadcasting services. The fact that their advent has changed audience consumption behaviour (audiences especially younger ones) are now multiple screen users and competition dynamics in relation to existing players. The fact that they can leverage a global presence while still fulfilling the niche needs of local audiences. Their flexibility and ease of market entry.
On the one hand, depending on their conditions of operations, they can contribute to diversity and media plurality by increasing accessibility of content services to a broader variety of audiences; and on the other hand they can entrench the digital divide by virtue of the high cost of data and access devices being out of reach for low-income audiences.
All this means that all stakeholders have to engage and better understand the nature and the impact of these services. I’m particularly interested in the forum from a regulatory perspective, whereas they are not regulated in South Africa, they do have an impact on the regulated sector which we still need to quantify and examine carefully.
BMA: What are your aspirations for the industry in relation to ways of leveraging the evolving changes in media consumption to the benefit of all industry stakeholders?
Botlenyana: OTTs can be complementary to traditional services and thus serve to increase their footprint; and audience engagement particularly with public interests content such as news, actuality and educational content. They are also introducing more and varied content into the market, by virtue of them being available across platforms means that they have a wider audience base and thus services that leverage OTT services can now reach a wider audience, which they previously could not reach through their traditional services.
BMA: Could you please tell us what you hope fellow participants will take away from this industry event?
Botlenyana: The industry needs a paradigm shift, instead of looking at OTTs as pure competition and focusing on their unregulated status, they should find ways of embracing the platforms and using them to augment and improve their services. Traditional broadcasting services have a loyal audience, are more affordable, and especially the Public Broadcasting Services have compelling content favoured by the majority of South Africans. If they could focus on creating platforms of their own and thus expanding their audience base and footprint, they could derive an additional revenue stream and related benefits and thus leverage the new technology to achieve their mandates.
BMA: What are your expectations for the Industry Forum in February?
Botlenyana: I expect to engage with peers from a wide range of interest areas and better understanding the OTT VOD business and operational models.
About Botlenyana Mokhele: Botlenyana has a wealth of experience in broadcasting media policy and regulation from a career spanning over two decades. Prior to being appointed to the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), she was a Principal Consultant at Pygma Consulting based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before becoming a consultant, Ms Mokhele served in a number of senior positions at the Department of Communications (DoC), including that of the Chief Director 2010 Broadcasting, responsible for implementation of the South African Government’s ICT Guarantees for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Mokhele will be speaking at the Industry Forum on OTT Content Streaming And VOD Services as a representative of the Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa.