By Bukola Ogunsina, Beijing, China
StarTimes recently launched its ‘Agenda for the 7th African Digital TV Development Seminar,’ in Beijing, declaring it will assist Africa in its migration from analogue to digital.
The seminar tagged, ‘Universalise Digital TV and Enjoy Smart Life,’ which will hold from 23rd to 24th May, saw experts in all fields of communications in attendance.
The Nigerian Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed expressed his delight to be at the function, and disclosed that Nigeria was strongly considering going digital.
“Nigeria’s quest to diversify its economy and stimulate business and employment growth has compelled it to examine the digital economy closely and invest in it more assiduously. For example, the advent of a fast growing “digital age” in Nigeria, the growing popularity of the internet, and the establishment of various media distribution platforms have given rise to an increasing demand for content and services like animation and digital artistry.”
The Minister further indicated that digital technology going global is defying and disrupting the old ways of doing things, democratising access to information and improved quality of life as well as proving a great leveler for people in Africa and other developing parts of the world.
He went on to mention that the Nigerian film industry, ‘Nollywood,’ ranked third largest globally, stating that Nigeria must train an army of animation professionals in order to move forward in the animation industry. “The present administration is committed to developing the creative animation industry into a growth sector, by promoting Nigeria’s creativity and creating a highly skilled workforce for the industry,” he revealed.
The Minister further indicated that his hopes for Nigeria in terms of going digital is that by 2022, Nigeria is ranked among the top 10 countries with major global animation producing industries for the animation market. The information Minister also said that Nigerians can find encouragement in China’s story of evolving.
Meanwhile, the President of StarTimes Pang Xinxing said in his opening remarks that Africa is a large extension of the Silk Road on the sea. “Here we gather today to expand to the core, the Belt and Road Initiative forum,” he pointed out, adding, “We will uphold shared benefits, implement policy communications, people to people exchange to promote digital TV in Africa.” He also noted that in 2011, StarTimes only had 14 countries and 13 participants, however this year it received 400 guests in attendance from home and abroad.He equally hoped that the ocassion can improve media cooperation on both sides.
He revealed that StarTimes was honoured to receive participants from 42 African countries, 5 Asian countries and other parts of the world, stating that the next few days would be used to look at means in which to actualise digital TV.
“We have a rich content to include government policy making, experience sharing in terms of digitilisation…2017 will be a significant year for digital migration in Africa. We should grab opportunities to realise digital TV. ”
He also noted that 2017 will be an important year to realise digital TV villages, as ten thousand will benefit from the programme.
On his part the Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Tuo Zhen said, “China and Africa are on a new level of development. Its also an opportunity for media cooperations between the two sides…. We should enhance culture intergration, people to people exchange.”
Observing that African countries also have their own digital plan, StarTimes goal is to assist to achieve the digital migration by 2020,” he explained, adding that China hopes to share Africa’s experience of digitalisation. StarTimes not only promoted digital TV in Africa, but held the digital TV seminars for seven years, he said, indicating that he believed the cooperation will yield fruitful results.
Startimes has introduced over 480 international channels and broadcasts in nearly ten languages to include, Swahili, Hausa, Yoruba among others. It has won several awards to include, ‘Pay Satellite/Digital TV Channel Provider With The Best Technical Innovation,’ in Nigeria over a period of four years, from 2012 to 2015.