One of the major draw cards for the uptake of digital migration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is access to compelling content, says Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
As such, there is a need to focus on an integrated approach to address content demands as a result of digital migration.
“The impact and the effect of DTT stimulate demand for content. Member states should embrace strategies to promote the production and consumption of local content to ensure an enabling environment for the sustainable telling of Africa’s own stories,” Minister Dlodlo said on Sunday.
The Minister was speaking at the annual general meeting of SADC-Southern Africa Broadcasting Association (SABA) Broadcast Forum in Namibia, held under the theme ‘Strategies for stimulating content production and creating an enabling environment for sustainable telling of African stories’.
The SADC-SABA forum was a precursor to the week-long Fifth Africa and Digitalisation Conference, where leaders will for a week deliberate on the status of digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration, success and challenges and post-digitalisation migration experience.
The Minister told SADC member states’ information communication technology and broadcasting leaders that the developments on the establishment of the regional SADC TV Bouquet are encouraging.
SADC must now expedite the conclusion of the business and regulatory framework for the SADC TV bouquet, and the introduction of Digital Sound Broadcasting in the region.
“We all understand the importance of radio as a major vehicle for information dissemination for our communities. The congestion of the analogue FM space is a common problem that can be alleviated by the introduction of Digital Sound Broadcasting. Digital Sound Broadcasting will go a long way in addressing the Community Radio sector,” Minister Dlodlo said.
According to an ITU 2016 report, 66 countries in the world have completed Digital Migration while 66 were ongoing, 61 unknown and 14 had not started.
In relation to SADC implementation, four the member states namely; Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia and the United Republic of Tanzania have fully migrated while some member states including South Africa and Zambia have their DTT networks in operational mode.
Minister Dlodlo said although most member states have not completed their migration, all SADC states have established a National Task Force/Committee, a National DTT Policy in place, enacted DTT regulations and have consumer awareness programs in place.
However, the Minister recognised that there are still common challenges faced by SADC member states with regards to funding, network rollout and the availability of set-top boxes.
“We also recognise that Member States missed the ITU transition date of June 2015. It is our collective responsibility to assist each other and share experiences wherever possible in realising this common goal for the benefit of the region,” said Minister Dlodlo.
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