Rwandans will soon enjoy a wider choice of television with two new stations on the horizon. That was the first sentence in a story yet again announcing that alternatives to Rwanda Television were soon coming up. Never mind the irony that Rwanda TV loves to refer to itself as “Your station of choice.”
Since about 2006, I have heard so many announcements about the prospects of a new TV station opening in Rwanda. Today, it is still a similar story.
These days when such announcements are made, no emotions are evoked. I will just have to wait for that day when I can use my remote not just to switch off the TV but also change to another local channel.
I also tend to believe that it would be wiser to only make such announcements when one
is almost certain that the station will go on air instead of creating anxiety and then you fail to deliver. The other day Nation Media Group opened a new Radio station in town and it was impressive that the station’s opening was not characterised by numerous ‘opening soon’ announcements.
However, assuming that the business people with plans to open up TV stations live up
to their words, it will be nice to see how the entertainment and general business scene is
transformed. In the first place, RTV will now have some local competition to deal with
something that will compel them and their competitors to up their game.
When it comes to the TV industry, content is key and therefore the people running these stations will have to find the kind of content to keep people from switching to a better channel or switching off their TV sets altogether. This will call for a lot of innovation from the producers.
They will also have to coordinate with independent film producers to come up with new content. In markets where so many players are involved. The easy route has often been
that of finding cheap content in form of Nigerian movies and Spanish language soaps with English voice-overs.
Such weak content is not that competitive in the long run and so some original stuff may
have to be created. Producers will also have to do lots of surveys to understand the tastes and preferences of the Rwandan audiences in relation to the available demographics.
Another area that will call for innovation will be the advertising sector. TVs often sustain their existence by selling advertising airtime. The Rwandan economy is not yet that sophisticated when it comes to advertising. However, with more advertising avenues opening up in form of more newspapers, more radio stations and eventually more TV stations, more advertising content has to be sought and created.
This will mean more work (and revenue) for the different advertising firms in Rwanda and those wishing to open up later. These TV stations will be competing for advertising and in many cases this means that new concepts have to be thought of and sold to the advertiser.
For example a station with a children’s program may propose to a bank with a children’s account to come up with an advert that can run during the show. All in all innovative minds should get ready to work.