From Balancing Act
Broadcast, Film and Music Africa, a conference international event will take place on 10-11 July 2012 at the Oshwal Centre Westlands, Nairobi, in Kenya. An estimated 400 delegates are expected this year including some top audiovisual experts and speakers. The filmmakers’ pavilion provides selected African artists with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading broadcasters and financiers. The event also facilitates networking opportunities in order for African and international players to form alliances and co-productions. Balancing Act’s Broadcast Analyst Sylvain Béletre talks to Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa bout the event.
“Through our ‘Broadcast, Film and Music Africa (BFMA)’ event, we have realised that content owners, the media and telecoms industries are increasingly developing synergies. These players need to establish stronger partnerships if they want to stay competitive” said Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa.
BFMA is the continent’s only business and technology event to serve the creative content and electronic media industry through an integrated platform. It is the fourth conference in the series and will provide a stock-taking opportunity for stakeholders in all three industries, and empower them with the knowledge and business contacts they need to build Africa’s electronic media future.
Q: What is this year’s theme?
A: Innovation, investment and partnerships for local content and service excellence. Among the key objectives, one is about better distributing African content to new channels and supporting co-production on the continent. We also want to provide a unique opportunity for the media and entertainment industries to connect with telecom service providers in order to work on hybrid solutions and triple-play.
Q: How many people are you expecting?
A: We had more than 300 attendees last year and we are expecting over 400 delegates this year. Important players have already secured their seats or stands: Intelsat, Clyde Broadcast, Solstice, United Broadcast and Media, Film Kenya, Film Biz Africa, Buni Media, Nation TV and many more will join the show.
This year again, we want to showcase audiovisual content from Africa’s independent filmmakers: we will have a dedicated area for them to welcome potential buyers: The African Film-makers Pavilion.
We will also have a corner for African animation, the Animators Pavilion. Other special features at BFMA 2012 include the Digital Media Innovators Pavilion, the Radio Broadcasters Networking Hub and the African Electonic Media Business Exchange (in partnership with FilmBiz Africa)
Q: How have the African broadcast and film markets changed since you started the conference?
A: Huge proliferation of radio stations, sometimes with questionable quality; penetration by Nollywood into the rest of the continent – because of the hunger for local African content that other countries have failed to deliver to their audiences in the same volume; huge confusion and uncertainty over digitisation which is going to be very damaging unless clear transition strategies and messages are developed (which we plan to support over the conference).
Q: Why did you choose African music as a key conference focus this year?
A: Music is one of Africa’s most prolific and successful industries. Its content potential for broadcast and film is enormous. Together they form the three pillars for the future growth of Africa’s electronic media industry and none can be discussed and developed in isolation from the others.
Q: why did you select Nairobi to set up the event? (vs. Cape Town, Jo’burg, Cairo, Kinshasa or other large African cities)
A: Nairobi is developing as a leading electronic media centre for the region, plus it is a convenient hub for travel from across the continent. Cape Town would be a lovely venue but would increase travel costs. We want the event to be accessible from east, west and southern Africa. In addition, we have planned the event to coincide with the Zanzibar International Film Festival so that participants from across the continent and internationally can attend two key events during the same week.
Q: Which broadcasters will be attending?
A: We are inviting all African broadcasters and filmmakers to attend free of charge, making the event accessible for management, technical and other professionals from throughout the continent. But we ask that they register in advance. Our promotion campaign is in the early stages, but we expect over 50 broadcasters to be represented.
Q: Can companies book a stand?
A: Yes – the exhibition is a vital part of the business networking environment we want to create at the event.
Q: what would be the return on investment for attendees? any specific examples (for broadcasters, content distributors)?
A: Unparalleled educational and networking opportunities in an exciting two-day industry event. I’m confident that at no other industry event in the continent or internationally would strike such a rich stream of knowledge-sharing. To all delegates, the event will save travel time and cut costs; for content rights owners, it is the place to showcase your content to buyers at the producers’ pavilion. Filmmakers will be able to identify innovative financial models and co-production opportunities.
Content distributors will also explore new content distribution channels. For broadcasters, it is a fast way to find local and international programmes, discover new talents, extend their reach, find out about new technologies and meet with key decision-makers. For vendors, it is a great event to better understand companies' challenges and opportunities. For strategists, the conference will help identify key market opportunities and differentiators.
Q: Who have you targeted?
A: The conference is aimed at senior and middle managers in: national television and radio stations; pay TV companies; international broadcasters like CNN, BBC, NBC, VOA and CCTV; television and film production companies; facilities providers including production equipment hire, post-production and outside broadcast; donors and faith-based organisations that run their own broadcast organisations for development purposes; television and film equipment vendors and satellite capacity suppliers;advertising and marketing agencies; and mobile and fixed telephone operators looking at convergence opportunities.
The list of confirmed speakers so far is as follows:
• A representative of Mokolo/Goethe-Institut, Nigeria (tbc)
• A representative of African Media Initiative, Kenya (tbc)
• Abubaker Kawenja, Journalist/Broadcaster/ Theatre Practitioner, Uganda
• Brian Whitehead, University of the Creative Arts Surrey, UK
• Christoph Limmer, Senior Director, Market Development and Marketing, Africa, SES, Luxembourg
• Constant Némalé, founder and president of Africa 24 TV, France
• Corinne Lozé, CEO of StarAfrica.com at Orange, Côte d'Ivoir
• Daniel Obam, Communications Radio Technology Expert, National Communications Secretariat, Kenya
• David Svarrer, CEO, Digital Age Institute, Kenya
• Dr. Ann Overbergh, Audiovisual Arts expert, Belgium (tbc)
• Dr. Sophia Zhang, StarTimes, Nigeria (tbc)
• Envir Fraser, Head: Research, Regulatory & Policy, Convergence Partners, South Africa
• Eric Idiahi, CEO of Spinlet Limited, Nigeria and USA
• Gary Rathbone, Head of Africa: Supersport, Kenya
• George Kimani, Business Development Director, Continental Content Distribution, Kenya
• George Twumasi, Deputy Chairman and CEO, The African Broadcast Network, UK and South Africa
• Hannelie Bekker, MD Programming, Zuku/Wananchi Group, Kenya
• Joel Rao, Business Analyst and Account Manager, InMobi, Kenya
• Julian Macharia, Deputy Programs Director, Radio, Royal Media Services, Kenya, also representing Buni Media, Kenya
• Kevan Jones, Executive Director, Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA), South Africa
• Lillian Marenya, Country Manager, Enablis, Kenya
• Mabiala Mbeka, administrator and media Analyst, Comocongo, DRC and Belgium
• Manu Savani, CEO, Gala Global Inc., USA
• Mike Dearham, SVP of Cote Ouest, Côte d'Ivoire
• Paul Ojil, MD, Solstice, Kenya
• Phil Collins, Managing Director, Clyde Broadcast Products, UK
• Samuel Attah-Mensah, CEO, Omni-Media, Ghana
• Santos Okuttah, MD, Eziki, Kenya
• Vivien Marles, Managing Director, Africa, InterMedia, Kenya and many more to come.
The main sessions will review African audiovisual content production, distribution and broadcast technology issues and opportunities. Some of the topics include
• Building an African film industry – creating synergies, collaboration and partnerships across the continent
• Local content development – Success stories and hurdles
• Pay TV – How to extend services to the bottom of the pyramid
• The Digital Transition – Assessing progress and challenges across the continent
• Innovative radio broadcasting
• Changing African TV and Radio audiences
• Animation: A new frontier for African electronic media innovation
• Sports broadcasting – carving out Africa’s stake in the run-up to London 2012
• Technological innovation – improving services, driving down costs and extending coverage
• The impact of social media – developing multi-media platforms
• The impact of convergence: IP-TV and mobile broadcasting
• Advertising models to support free-to-air content
• Copyrights – what are the best practices to control piracy?
Sean Moroney concluded “These topics are provisional and the programme is not yet completed. So far we have over 30 speakers confirmed, but by having a range of specialised parallel sessions over the two days of the conference, we can accommodate over 100 speakers in order to broaden the knowledge-sharing benefit of the event. More speakers are welcome, as are presentation ideas in other areas. To propose a presentation or participate in a panel discussion, email Sean at seanm (@) aitecafria.com ideally by the end of May.
Delegates and speakers' space is limited so do not delay in booking your attendance.
For more information on the event, sponsorship opportunities and booking a stand, email info (@) aitecafrica.com or call +44 (0) 1480 880774