I am constantly researching and reading about global media trends, content development, distribution and the role of creatives in the dynamics whilst paying close attention to Zimbabwe. The reality is: The digital media disruption is here and here to stay. In essence, the future is here and we are living it. Where is Zimbabwe is all of this?
By Plot Mhako
The Covid_19 induced LOCKDOWN is a major turning point and revelation.
Internet is still fairly expensive in Zimbabwe, data is still a privilege to many however this will soon change. Telecommunications companies will have no option but to lower prices and offer better internet packages.
Do you remember that in 2007 a Sim card cost around USD$150? Now the same Sim card can be secured for $1 or free. The same will eventually happen to the price of data.
The biggest casualties in the process are any conventional platforms and creatives who fail to adapt, innovate and integrate. This includes those that have enjoyed monopolies, monopolies that have created redundancy and monotony. Artists who fail to read the memo or are too lazy to action it. Ask Gramma Records! Like i once said, “the Nokia moment awaits them”.
A good example of one institution that could soon become a white elephant is ZBC TV. Internet is giving people the alternative that citizens have for long been crying for. Yes, we have heard of the never-ending digitization but by the time it ends most creatives and consumers will be plugged on to alternatives. No one will be interested in buying Over the Top Boxes for signal conversion when they can get it all in one through their phone, computer or smart TV. The state broadcaster has enjoyed a monopoly for years, one that made it regard itself as the HOME OF LOCAL CONTENT. Check on Youtube and you will see how much local content is captured there. But sadly, they seem hooked on their own reality.
Creatives are finding alternatives and these alternatives are paying the dividend. Artists are starting to get better royalties from Internet platforms than wait for the ZIMURA collecting society to pay the pittance or peanuts. With a growing diaspora community, the paying audience will also be growing. [The biggest limitation so far is on the banking system which makes it difficult for locals to buy or sell online but this will be sorted one day]
By the time the government finally licenses TV stations and more radios, the operational costs will be far superseding the essence of business. In reality, it’s too late.
Even your Sabhuku is now on the internet and soon the whole village too.
The content will be more compelling and on-demand.
The lockdown situation is transforming how people consume and relate to news and content online.
To artists, hear this! The future is NOW! Wadiwa Wepa Moyo now pulling 150k in 24hrs per episode.
Stars will be born on the internet. The money will be made on the internet. One of the most followed person in Zimbabwe (Pokello) is not on TV or on Radio. It’s not your Radio or TV personality.
The most influential people are now emerging through the internet. Companies and brands are shifting their focus and where they put marketing budgets to platforms that have a real-time and more measurable impact. To content that is more engaging and entertaining. …..and remember there is no monopoly on the World Wide Web. You will be competing for an audience with international streaming and free to stream services.
Until next time, the plot thickens.