Digital migration has been subject to a lot of discussion in Kenya. The country has made a lot of progress in laying infrastructure for digital transmission. The communications regulator, CCK has however been facing a lot of challenges in getting broadcasters and other creative industry broadcasters to see the benefits of digital transmission. The digital terrestrial transmission platform is expected to benefit local content producers with the spectrum being made available to more radio and TV channels.
The continent’s broadcast, music and film industry already boast resources that can effectively drive the sector, namely, professionals, equipment and platforms. The 4th annual BFMA conference was hosted in Nairobi last month, giving creative professionals a platform to discuss the challenges they face in the industry. BFMA programme director, Sean Moroney, highlights the main focus of the event as being a platform for intensive discussions on how to grow the Africa’s creative industry. His hope is that the debates carried out at the conference will help drive Africa’s agenda forward through film and music.
According to speakers at the conference, the creative industry lacks structures to support its growth. This include laws, guilds, standards of conduct and qualification standards. Alex Konstantaras from Historia Films cites the example of Kenya which lacks a strong guild to protect its film industry professionals. This fact is acknowledged by Gerald Langiri of the Kenya Actors Guild, “A fully professional industry must have bodies/associations that govern them. Bodies that have rules and regulations that clearly state policy of how things should run. Lack of accreditation and schools or guilds that can actually identify actors in Kenya are lacking and that makes it a very haphazard industry.”
Paul Ikhane, Director of Exodus Entertainment from Nigeria, feels that the industry stakeholders should do more to eliminate challenges such as distribution by engaging policy makers in the continent. “We as stakeholders have not constructively engaged policy makers in terms of the challenges we face as an industry in Africa. If we must move forward we need to get our legislative arm of our governments to enact laws that will protect our interests,” says Ikhane.
Startups in the film and music industry also got a chance to pitch to VCs at the Africa Media Business Exchange. FilmBiz and GrowthHub, provided this platform for creatives to pitch their ideas to commissioning editors and other buyers of content as well as get financing for their media startups. Participating startups benefitted from training workshops and free mentoring.