Youth television channel, NOW! TV under the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development requires P200 million to be in a position to acquire content from local production houses.
NOW! TV channel head, Gao Kwalate recently revealed at the MultiChoice Botswana Showcase that they needed a shot in the arm.
She said the main challenge for them, was limited budget.
“If it were an ideal budget, we would want P200 million in a year because we would then commission formats that would be from 50 episodes per genre. Right now, we are only able to commission 13 episodes, which is a drop in the ocean,” she said.
Kwalate added that they now find themselves limited in scheduling. Since inception, she said they have been getting off-the-shelf content and this is where they put out a tender to purchase formats that are already completed or being produced.
Kwalate also said this was a limited method of acquisition because it does not bring out the best from the industry.
“Producers produce what they can afford or stories they think can sell. The current method of acquisition does not give us a lot of content because it goes through technical stages of evaluation, and pricing, which is a Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board regulation,” she said.
Moreover, Kwalate added that sometimes content that is good falls off at the technical stage and even if it does go through, it becomes expensive for NOW! TV to acquire.
She said they end up settling for productions, which costs less because of budget constraints.
Kwalate said this is not working for now, but they have no choice because it is what they can afford.
Kwalate said there are several methods of content acquisitioning; one such is as they have been doing.
“We do licensing of existing formats where producers provide content and we buy it, the licence is for two years, and after that we return it to them,” she disclosed.
She added there is a better
Kwalate added that through this method they are able to monitor and evaluate production phases.
“We are able to help people give us quality content and diversity. Right now we get stories that are almost similar,” she highlighted.
She said they have observed that local producers can be lazy to script and do proper pre-production. “We are trying to build the industry to a point where we want producers to get these small and basic production techniques right,” she said. Going forward, Kwalate said if they were able to get a bigger budget in the next financial year, they would commission local content more.
“This is a platform to grow local content in Botswana and give us more stories on Botswana culture. Our programming is on youth content and entertainment, but in the future we are looking to expand into sport content,” she said.
Kwalate specifically highlighted the positive impact that being on the DStv platform has had on the channel and noted the importance of supporting the industry locally.
“Since 2019 when we launched on DStv, we have been able to have our local content reach more audiences in Botswana, which is critical for the growth and improvement of our creative industry.
We look forward to working hand-in-hand with MultiChoice Botswana and the MultiChoice Talent Factory to create localised learning experiences for the creative industry so that we can see our industry grow to a standard relevant to the rest of the region,” she said.