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Digital Dialogue 2018 (Part 1): Digital content in a digital era

Today launched the 5th annual Digital Dialogue Conference hosted by MultiChoice Africa and I could write tonnes about how beautiful Dubai, where it’s being held, is but let’s focus on what’s more important.

CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice, Yolisa Phahle (Credit: MultiChoice Africa)

To open the event was CEO of General Entertainment at MultiChoice, Yolisa Phahle, who shared the MultiChoice story of innovation in the pay-TV sector and emphasized the 3 major things every digital content producer or platform must consider: Content, Technology and People.

She said:

1. Content – is king, focusing more on local stories is essential to deliver relevant content in languages people in an area understand

2. Technology – we must evolve with it and adapt it for content production

3. People – maintain consumers despite competition such as online streaming

“If you speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disrupter and if necessary even to cannibalise
yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example, but, MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future.” – Yolisa Phahle

As far as competition is concerned one must factor in that ‘news-over-noise’ presides when it comes to digital content. MultiChoice is striving to reach more Africans with local content and that’s why subscribers are seeing more investments in local channels across the continent. In Zambia we have channels like Zambezi that are collaborating with local content producers to create amazing digital content for satellite TV.

How will the language barrier be overcome in content production? The right balance must be struck. Subtitles do help in reaching a wider audience that don’t understand a particular language, for example. Yolisa mentioned that MultiChoice will be making an announcement soon on how they want to collaborate even more with local content producers. We’ll keep you updated on that.

Social media, as much as it’s being used to deliver competitive digital content, is also being used as a platform to redirect consumers to pay-TV platforms. Other content producers on online platforms are starting to realize that short-form content, despite its virality on social media, just won’t cut it all the time. They are diverting to long-form content which is similar to a broadcast environment and are competing against already established pay-TV or ordinary TV services.

Paul Papadimitriou, founder of Intelligencr. (Credit: MultiChoice Africa)

Next was Paul Papadimitriou, founder of Intelligencr, who explained how digital has changed lives in business and the 3rd industrial revolution. He gave examples of how technology has evolved over the years and now play a huge part in shopping (eCommerce), health (think health apps and fitness trackers), better communication (emails able to sort themselves out by priorities), etc.

For this technology to make an impact though, the biggest companies are investing in big data and insights to know what consumers need. Consumers on the other hand gravitate towards digital content platforms that give them seamless experiences on the technology they uses e.g can they access that content when in another country or regardless of the device they have? They will always find a way to access content, even if they have to VPN themselves…

However, for many content producers it’s not even that they don’t have the technology to produce great content, they are hindered by many government policies or restrictions in many countries.

For pay-TV providers, content rights being so expensive poses a challenge as to what they can offer consumers, but must realize that consumers to pay a little bit more for content they actually want to see.

A challenge creators face is data privacy on the platforms they create on, but we can only hope that with the many data privacy laws and features being integrated into many platforms, they become a little safer.

For more updates follow #DigitalDialogue2018 or stay glued to our accounts on Twitter and Facebook.


Tech Blogger & Marketer.