Namibian Music Dies a Painful Death On Multichoice Channels

DESPITE complaints from African artists who struggle to make it onto Channel O’s content list, the channel has defended its content made up of a majority of videos from Nigeria and South Africa and links this to the commercial viability of each market.

“We look at the penetration of our product in each market and the growth of that market in our broad strategy,” said M-Net’s director for local interest channels in South Africa, Nkateko Mabaso, who was briefing media on exciting new African content on M-Net and Africa Magic.

Speaking to the journalists at the MultiChoice headquarters, Mabaso said that MultiChoice and DStv are re-evaluating the Southern African content to establish if any increases in investments should be made. Mabaso faced a grilling session from the journalists, who all told the same story of frustration that their respective countries were invisible on Channel O despite artists’ efforts to make the cut.

Some journalists from across the SADC region grilled MultiChoice throughout a recent content experience excursion held in South Africa last week. The journalists were persistent in their quest to get explanations to the way content is selected.

DJ Kbozz does not regard commercial viability to be the sole factor when content is selected for the DStv channels, saying where these networks are based is also a factor. “All the networks are run from South Africa thus South Africans get preference on airplay. The amount of money pumped into the music for dominance is big and now it’s not about how good your video is, it’s about who you know and how much you are willing to pay. It’s become a capitalist ideology on playing music,” he said. Sounding despondent, he added that Namibians will never get to the level of their Nigerian and South African counterparts because here, people are not willing to invest in the music industry. “How can we compete with the outside world if our own people still do not see the value in us?” he asked.

Namibia’s dominance on channels like Channel O has diminished greatly since 2007. The country used to receive so much airplay which resulted in artists like The Dogg, Gazza and Gal Level winning multiple awards at the Channel O music awards. Today, our artists are conspicuous by their absence.

Teddy Geldart, the local content manager for Channel O, Vuzu and Africa Magic, echoed Mabaso’s sentiments, that genre and determination from the artists themselves plays a big role. “In Namibia, for example, kwaito is big but it’s no longer as popular as it was. This affects how the music will be accepted as well as its popularity outside Namibia,” he said. He revealed that each region gets a particular percentage of airplay and unfortunately, Namibia and the rest of Africa share the least allocated percentage of airplay while Nigerian, South African and international videos get preference.

He spoke of a group of music industry heavyweights in one of the countries approaching him for aice on what direction to take for their video quality to improve in order to secure increased airplay on the channels. This and an increase in appeal for Namibian music will ultimately determine if the country will go back to its glory days as an emerging power player on the African music scene.

Source : The Namibian