Local producer explains sad state of Zimbabwean television & the internet’s opportunity as a solution

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

Zimbabwean television is pitiful. I need hardly mention that. This sentiment has always been shared by numerous viewers who complain about bad programming. It’s also represented in the booming industry of alternatives like Pay TV or DVDs that Zimbabweans are forced to take up just to get decent entertainment.

It’s not just the viewers that are saying that, though. Content producers also feel the same way.

At a recent TEDx event hosted by the University of Zimbabwe, Zororo Makamba, the radio and television personality behind the award-winning show Tonight with Zororo, shared his own perspective on the poor state of Zimbabwean television, bringing out some of the challenges that he encountered in distributing his TV show nationally.

After facing some obstacles in getting his show on ZBC, Makamba turned to online distribution, using YouTube and Facebook as the primary platforms for distributing his content. This was followed up by a distribution deal with MultiChoice that secured a spot for his show on its DStv channel Zambezi Magic.

Citing the rise of online content consumption patterns that have powered the rise in popularity of material from producers like P.O Box and Zambezi News, Makamba pointed out how Zimbabwean content is scattered across various platforms like WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook, something that he believes points to the opportunity of a central distribution platform.

It’s placing all bets on the future of Zimbabwean television and content distribution on the power of the internet, something that has already been explored by content producers and even new players like Econet with its Kwesé TV.

At the moment, all these seem like very ambitious bets, especially with factors like internet penetration and the cost of data not yet fully ironed out. However, if the rise of internet video sensations is anything to go by, Zimbabweans are willing to pay for an internet connection just to watch something entertaining and avoid ZBC TV.

You can watch Zororo Makamba’s TEDx talk below.

State of Television Industry in Zimbabwe | Zororo Makamba | TedxUZ

Image for YouTube video with title State of Television Industry in Zimbabwe | Zororo Makamba | TedxUZ viewable on the following URL https://youtu.be/EdTu3MxCV3U

One response

  1. Bvanyangu Rekwachiundura Josphats

    There is indeed an opportunity for a central distribution platform. However there is risk of decreasing satisfaction of content producers with time if the platform’s control is centralized. The single entity controlling the platform (e.g the government or a private organization) mostly serves its own interests which is to make as much money as possible on behalf of investors or ministers even if it means decreasing quality to reduce costs. The platform is a success story if it is controlled in a distributed fashion by the content creators themselves. Another alternative is to have platforms not just a single platform. Competition is good for it benefits the consumers.