RTI, the media corporation of the Ivorian government, will no longer be alone in the national audiovisual environment. This year, the new liberalization policy has opened the audiovisual industry to new broadcasters through DTT. It is now up to investors and advertisers to perform well in the new and narrow market.
Life TV of Voodoo communications, Optimum media with its TV7 channel, Sorano TV, or Africa + will be the future competitors of the group of historical media audiovisual, the Ivorian public Broadcasting Corporation (RTI). Each channel has specific offers such as entertainment, news, and series… to better capture future viewers. This new context is made possible through DTT, the Digital Terrestrial Television, launched in Abidjan this year, which intends to cover the whole country soon in order to attract investors.
A new legal system
The bill on the legal system for audiovisual communication was submitted to the Ivorian representatives to the National Assembly at the second ordinary session of 2016. Affoussiata Bamba-Lamine, former Minister of communication, was then the government commissioner for the bill. « The corollary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948 is freedom of opinion and expression. It is a right for everyone to freely use the media of his/her choice to express his/her thoughts, communicate them to others or to access the expression of others, » she said. This general requirement is reflected in 7 legislative proposals which, according to the former Minister, are aiming « at a formal level, at offering a new architecture for the sector » and at promoting « audiovisual communication trades » especially through the creation of DTT channels.
RTI, fear to compete
According to Benoît Yeo, Deputy Director General of RTI, in charge of technology, « the biggest advantage with DTT is that by opening up competition, we will have quality broadcasts: we already have quality DTT in Abidjan. However, he fears the advent of new operators – who have established in an absolutely-monopoly market since 1963 – and who will have to « share the advertising… and we cannot be satisfied. » Actually, in the context of a drastic fall in public subsidies to RTI, which have sometimes fallen by 80% compared to some years before, Benoît Yeo focuses on the differentiation of content: « for good performance, they must provide quality audiovisual and particularly future quality productions. »
As the Deputy Director-General explains, DTT also involves investments in technology for access to images, both for broadcasters and spectators. Therefore, this component must also generate a special economy, with costs for the government which « set up a national committee for migration to DTT.» But as RTI is not responsible for investments, Benoît Yeo specifies that « the Government is still looking for a technical and financial partner who will have 51% of shares and 49% for the creation of a broadcasting corporation. »
As the country is overwhelmed with mobile telephony – with Orange as the leader (CFA 2.7 billion in 2014) – the advertisers will now have the choice for their TV communication. « We will be able to negotiate tariffs better, vary targets and supports » said Mouftaou Adjibade, a strategic intelligence expert and researcher at Océan Ogilvy in the Ivory Coast. Perhaps underestimated, in the absence of in-depth studies in the sector, the expert specifies that in 2015 « the advertising market in the Ivory Coast already was about CFA 29 billion.» which might encourage the new TV channels and show that more than 60 consulting agencies are already in the market.
However, Mouftaou Adjibade readily admits that though DTT must help increase the audiovisual industry, the advent of new television channels is not beneficial to RTI. « It was getting a lot of advertising, for her, it will not be interesting. » A confirmation, perhaps, that the historical group is doubtful.
Author: Issiaka N’Guessan // Photo: RTI Head office – © Getty Images – Issiaka N’Guessan