High cost of producing local television programmes threatens government plans of achieving 60 percent in content provision and growth in the creative industry, consumer lobby group, Consumer federation of Kenya (Cofek) has warned.
New rules by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), requires to meet a threshold of 40 percent in local content provision, share with the regulator a week’s programme log and statement of annual returns prior to applying for license to air on digital platform.
However Cofek has raised a red flag, most broadcasters will not be able to meet these guidelines on high cost of production equipment like Camera’s and editing suites even as more broadcasters apply for free-to-air digital licenses.
Demand for local content is expected to grow faster as the country awaits a major digital revolution with the arrival of cheap broadband, when the Global deadline for digital migration elapse in June 17.
Industry analysts have been on the record projecting more investment and employment of the youth is expected.
“Local content in the country’s broadcast industry is still below 40 percent due to lack of incentives for local producers,” said Cofek Secretary General, Stephen Mutoro.
A total of 10 more prospective players have applied for commercial free-to-air licences, under the Network facility providers, tier 2, the CA said In December 2014.
It means most players will heavily rely on foreign content to fill their daily programming schedule.
The lobby is seeking big cuts on taxes for production equipment in the next budgetary allocations to enable local producers compete effectively with their foreign counterparts.
Pay tv firms are investing billion of shillings in setting up production studios, approving hundreds of programme proposals in a race to meet regulators threshold on local content provision.
Chinese firm, StarTimes Kenya is setting up a Sh6.9Billion African headquarters that will double up as production centre of clip selecting, dubbing, broadcasting and copyright trading.
“We intend to play a big role in encouraging and empowering the development of local content in Kenya. This is the next unique selling point that subscribers will find at StarTimes,” said the Company’s Public Relations Manager, Alex Mwaura.
The firm said it is keenly eyeing growth of local content on our platform which will feature diverse genres and dialects.
South Africa’s media giant, Multichoice bought out Film studio’s Kenya at Sh 500 million to house its two brands M-Net, handling production and post production and SuperSport for live studio recording.
Part of its wider plans, is to develop over 56 new African movies with a bulk of the content being Kenyan.
Cable and satellite tv service provider, Zuku is investing Sh 8.7 billion to facilitate a regional expansion drive.