Digitalization Process Too Slow For ZBC

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is ready to roll out six new television stations once the digitalization process is complete. The uncertainty with regards to when the digitalization process will be finalised has forced ZBC to shelve the content they are preparing for the digital channels.

The government, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is spearheading the digitalization process. Speaking to parliamentarians, ZBC CEO, Mr Patrick Mavhura said that ZBC already has content specifically made for the upcoming Television stations.

By Pearson Mbendera

“Internally, our producers are following a two-pronged approach. They are producing for the current channel that we have, they are also producing for the digital switchover,” said Mr Mavhura.

But first, he explained that the digitalization process wasn’t the sole responsibility of the ZBC, but the ZBC is merely a player, with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) taking the supervisory role.

“Digitalization is a government project which is being implemented by three institutions, ZBC, Transmedia Corporation and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. The BAZ has taken a supervisory role while ZBC and Transmedia Corporation are just players,” noted Mavhura.

The proposed names for the six television stations will be, News 24, Sports 263, Sisonke TV, Shasha TV, Mosi-OA-Tunya TV and Jiti TV. However, it is likely that these names may actually change.

Mr Mavhura couldn’t comment on how long it will take for the digitization process to be completed, but expressed concern over the shelf life of the content.

“The challenge we face is with content that expires. We also have content sharing and revenue sharing arrangements with other broadcasters so that we can recoup the costs incurred in generating that content,” explained Mavhura.

It is only the television that is moving from analog to digital, the radio will remain the same.

There is concern that since television content is perishable, some content that has already been created for the digital era will expire before the digital channels are launched.

Having implemented the recommendations of the KPMG Forensic Audit report resolutions and having made a profit for the first time in 2017, the future looks bright for the national broadcaster and the digitalization process may just add more opportunities to the company.

The company however faces tough competition from other television stations that will be launched once the digitalization process is complete, and having operated as a monopoly for a very long period of time with diminishing quality of content, ZBC has a lot to do to continue being the television channel of choice.

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