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What is “Local Content”

Many a brand manager bemoans the lack of quality content suitable for their brand’s to be associated with on indigenous TV channels. Yes, alongside NBC imperatives on 60% “Local” content…its truly king!

What’s more curious is the interpretation that for local stations to meet this quota they tend to run only local stuff (news programs, sports, etc.) on their prime time belts… Any wonder that Satellite TV with less than 25% of total eyeballs gets more than 63% of total TV Ad spend!

(c.f. www.pwc.co.za/en/assets/pdf/entertainment-and-media-outlook-2017.pdf)

To my mind, stations should challenge the NBC’s interpretation of “Local”… Does it merely reflect Total Transmitted Airtime/Period? If that’s the case, then any time belt can suffice to met the requirement.

More pertinent is the precise concept of “local” – regardless of the poorly defined attempt to portray national values through a global industry, Media & Entertainment! Is content origination definable by production location – pre or post-production? What about copyright ownership? Methinks that regulators are transfixed with the notion of local by point of transmission.

Incidentally, this concept will be further tested in 2019, as digitalization allows greater room for content versioning. On the heels of the major PC OS software and browser availability in major african languages (Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Swahili, etc), Greenworld and Turner will make content available with vernacular voice-overs. This should allow brands the type of reach presently only enjoyed on radio stations, still the No. 1 electronic medium across all socio-ethnic strata according Nielsen, GeoPoll and other research firms.

This brings up all sorts of possible scenarios – cartoons are the major reinforcement of social values for children, from kindergarten to their early teens. Its debatable if religion and school aren’t competing for 2nd place with TV – especially cartoons, in this function after the family…

Its crucial if local media houses are to survive and foster such values that their allowed every commercial avenue because the global media conglomerates gradually level out cultural diversity. If commercial sponsors can’t exploit these advertising windows they’ll look for other windows and the growth of online inter-app advertising, which even China is struggling to regulate, shows that W. African regulators maybe creating a market in which they have next to no control at all!

Well, that’s my take on the situation. Love to hear the thoughts of fellow practitioners on the issues at stake.

How do you feel this will affect your businesses’ plans, moving forward? Is there a need of greater strategic analysis by regulators on this matter?

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