- Over 40 companies showed interest, only 22 procured
- To broadcast 4 hours a day, to increase hours gradually
- Good news for local production houses
The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development launched the highly anticipated youth tv, NOW TV, last week in Gaborone.
According to Minister Thapelo Olopeng the project was started with a limited budget of P10 million and content was acquired from local production companies through expressions of interest.
“The key condition was that it should be local content. Over 40 companies showed interest and we were able to procure from 22 companies due to a limited budget,” Olopeng said adding that they will continue to engage with content creators for the long-term sustainability of the service.
The television channel which was started in late 2015 offers a variety of genres ranging from sport, comedy, talk show, drama, soapies and documentaries among others which are all homemade. During the launch, snippets of local content featured on the tv station were played and received rave reviews from viewers who could not wait to watch the shows. The channel broadcasts throughout Botswana on the Digital Terrestrial platform which requires an ISDB-T Set-top-box. The service will also be receivable online.
“I am aware of the limited availability of the set top boxes in the market currently. This remains a business opportunity for entrepreneurs to service the television market in Botswana,” the minister said.
Furthermore, throughout its humble beginnings, NOW TV will broadcast just hours a day due to “limited financial resources” but broadcast time will increase gradually over the next 12 months, to 24 hours.
Many young Batswana were educated in some of the best theater and film schools but have always been scuppered by lack opportunities to showcase their talent. Olopeng said through interaction with youth largely on social media and consultative forums it became clear to him that the time had come for the television space in Botswana to accommodate a youth TV channel.
The launch of the TV station was well received by local production houses who said the opportunity gave their businesses a boost. According to Oteng Munyadzwe of Club Media, one of the production houses that created and submitted content for NOW TV, the platform afforded them an opportunity to also showcase their creativity. “We have submitted three shows and we are incredibly excited because now we get to tell our stories our way as creatives. We are no longer restricted to being told what to do by a client. This opportunity has been long overdue,” he opined.