Broadcasters to take centre stage at DISCOP Johannesburg

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Over 120 free-to-air television stations, including public broadcasters from 15 African countries, are expected to take part in the upcoming Johannesburg edition of the DISCOP film, television, and digital content market, and co-production forum that kicks off from 20 November for three days of intense networking and deal building.

At the event, these public broadcasters will be acknowledged and celebrated for their role as the dominant force in the African market where 85% of audiences still actively watch free television. While the launch of a range of new SVOD services across the continent may dominate discussions, behind streaming’s tech dazzle, the more mundane business of selling content to Africa’s ordinary linear networks is high on DISCOP Johannesburg 2019’s agenda.

Contrary to popular belief, advertising-driven TV remains strong. According to recent reports, the market share of linear ad-supported television, currently 36.7 percent of the overall global market, would actually rise to 40.1 percent by 2025 and more than half of the industry’s global revenues will still be in free-TV six years from now.  

“All the major streaming and pay-TV services will be attending,” noted Patrick Zuchowicki, General Manager and Founder of DISCOP, who adds, “But pre-market reports point to strong demand for programming from commercial and public broadcasters. The bulk of the business for the vast majority of content suppliers is still in traditional television.”

135+ global and regional content sellers and 150+ African independent content producers will take part in a reconfigured market that will go beyond content selling and buying, and also cover the co-production of original content. A total of 250+ programmers, acquisition, commissioning, production and marketing executives from 35+ African countries are also expected to attend seeking both finished content, adaptation rights and projects in development.

DISCOP Johannesburg 2019’s sidebar conference programme will feature focussed thematic sessions that will provide an opportunity for a more dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Topics to be covered will include content monetisation strategies, the booming animation industry, bringing eSports to television screens, the importance of dubbing, the export of original African content, branded content, and how to tackle disinformation.

“There is no question that pay-TV penetration, access to mobile television and VOD adoption is on the rise.” says Andrew Boozer, DISCOP’s conference director, who adds, “This is why we have designed a conference programme that will help ad-supported TV channels stay at the top of their game and build stronger ties with local talent, up-and-coming producers and advertisers who still think that linear television is the most powerful ad-medium on the continent.”