Connecting Africa has been actively tracking the digital entertainment explosion in Africa, heralded by the skyrocketing popularity of the smartphone - admittedly amongst the more suburban, affluent classes.
Such developments have given rise to immense opportunities for those on the end of the telecommunications value chain in Africa, such as international broadcasters, where a whole new client base has opened up as a result.
The commercial arm to the BBC, BBC Worldwide, is a case in point and they’ve seen their mission in Africa fully realised as connectivity strengthens on the continent.
Interview: BBC Worldwide’s Vice President and General Manger for Africa, Joel Churcher
At this year’s AfricaCom panel discussion on economic development through digital connectivity, BBC Worldwide’s Vice President and General Manger for Africa, Joel Churcher, sat down with AfricaCom TV to talk about African connectivity and how it is helping to realise their mission as not only a premium content distributor but also as a local skills enabler.
Speaking about some of the challenges and the contradictory nature of the entertainment space in Africa, Churcher noted that the people of Africa “have great expectations demand quality service, quality content - they want access to an international perspective and it’s a real challenge to give them that when they just don’t have access to broadband.”
BBC Worldwide is a distributor of some of broadcaster’s most prominent and celebrated shows and have even produced local versions of the famed Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing. Their mission in Africa comprises of three pillars though: “Our first pillar is to deliver our global brands to the world, our second is to deliver premium content globally and our third pillar is digital innovation”, lays out Churcher.
Connectivity has completely transformed BBC Worldwide’s business within the last two years, where originally their “TV sales business was predominantly to free-to-airs”, yet now now digital is their number one client. Churcher states that: “There are new players coming up all the time and they look to BBC, in terms of content, because they know the audience is there. There is a great resonance with international content, particularly BBC content - through its affinity, through its international perspective through its ‘premiumness.”
Talking about what BBC Wordwide is able to offer African viewers, Churcher believes that: “People look to BBC because of its heritage here in Africa, as a partner that not only offers credibility but also offers something that can help people upskill, develop staff and really make an impact on the continent.”
If you're interested in Africa's digital evolution, then why not attend one of Connecting Africa's series of events?
East Africa Com 17 - 18 May, Nairobi
West Africa Com 11 - 12 July, Dakar
Nigeria Com 20 - 21 September, Lagos
AfricaCom 6 - 10 November, Cape Town