15 May 2014

African TV Channels - Tips for Innovative Sports TV Programmes



London — In a previous issue, we highlighted that there are massive opportunities in the sports TV market.

This week Balancing Act's broadcasting analyst Sylvain Beletre talks to consultant Bertrand Cardot about ways in which African TV channels can improve their sports output.

Bertrand Cardot works as a consultant for SCAB ' an audio and video Engineering organisation set up in West Africa and based in Senegal.

He has worked on major TV events programmes such as the 'ligue 1 football' with Canal+ and beIN Sport, the champions league, the Europa league, the 'Tour de France', rugby matches or the London OG as well as 'The Voice'.

"Having visited quite a few TV channels in Africa and after watching local TV, I think that most of the African TV channels missed what 'transmedia' is all about: Transmedia storytelling is the technique of telling a story across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies: one universe, multiple media.

In Africa, digital media has suddenly become centre stage: the concept of multiple screens (including smartphones and tablets), multiple broadcast technologies, the idea of anywhere, anytime on any device, the desire for quality content and innovation. All of this makes the environment more complex for TV players.

African TV channels now have to react pretty fast before they start seeing their audience start to drift off. They have no choice but to get together, (co)produce quality local content, and professionalise their processes.

A significant part of the national African audience wants to see more local sports' programmes. To produce for local sports content, key decision-makers are federations.

Unfortunately, there is not always a structured relationship between federations and the media. The results is often a weak coverage of the national sports, limited quality of national sports' programmes and lack of revenues. With a set of strict rules, it is easy to get on the right track.

Based on Cardot's experience in the West, best practices can be adapted to the African environment: We propose a comprehensive yet simple charter to African Federations."

The establishment of a serious media charter for a sport's federation is essential, as it means that TV channels and TV producers can make quality programmes which will generate larger audience and bigger media rights, long terms revenues for the local sport's sector.

"A charter is also a way to filter out the media that are not serious about engaging in sports and in quality TV programmes; or it is a way to get them to improve their practices.

The main points of the charter for sports' events are as follows:

Number of signals to be broadcast;

Difference between the signals to provide and formats;

Plan the course of the event, from the arrival of sport's players at the press conference to the post-match replays and interviews;

Sound and picture enhancement;

Camera axis implantation;

Interviews' best practices;

and so on.

TV creates a range of problems including the energy issue, the commentator position, the press conference room, the mixed zone area, and so on; Find local broadcasters that have a disciplined approach to audiovisual capture; Innovate compared to Western restrictions recordings; Highlight cultural signs during recordings; Get Federations to develop transmedia; And much more."

Scab is talking to sports federations (such as in Senegal) to provide its broadcast expertise in capturing sports matches and to create a charter that the Federation will impose to enhance national sports at minimum costs while maximising quality.

"We are currently getting equipped to produce excellent content and to train local staff properly. We suggest a set of practical and technical rules that are easy for TV channels to implement if they want to get more competitive.

TV channels should not be satisfied to just describe what shows on the screen. Speakers should be impartial about the analysis of the action. During the match, TV journalists should not hesitate to interview the director to review an important action during a timeout.

Interviewing coaches, captains and key players to provide further explanation of the game is basic sports journalism.

Our main partners are important federations - which implies that related clubs are properly equipped - and TV stations."

For further details, contact Bertrand Cardot, senior consultant at SCAB- bertrandcardot(at)gmail.com - or via linkedin.

There are plenty of opportunities to improve the sports ecconomy in Africa - See more from our pan-African survey here.

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