10 June 2018

Ethiopia: Regional Broadcaster Gets Media Complex for 1.45b Br

The new complex will be built behind Dembel City Centre on 4,893sqm of land

Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN), the regional broadcaster of the Oromia Regional State, is soon to acquire a modern media complex for 1.45 billion Br in Addis Abeba.

Elilly Hotel, located off Joseph Tito Street, was the venue where Oromia Urban Development & Housing Bureau signed a contract agreement with China State Construction Engineering Ethiopia (CSCEE) last Saturday. The new media complex will be built behind Dembel City Centre, off Africa Avenue, on a 4,893sqm of land secured from the Addis Abeba City Administration. Soil investigation on the site was carried out about a year ago.

The complex will make the regional-state owned broadcaster the first in the media industry to own a state of the art headquarters.

The Oromia Water Works Design & Supervision Enterprise, established in 2006, will consult on the 11-storey building project that sits on 4,000sqm foot print and is expected to be completed within a 900-day period from signing.

CSCEE has completed the construction of Chinese Global TV Network (CGTN) and African Union's (AU) headquarters, and is currently constructing the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's (CBE) and the new Addis Abeba Stadium. The company was selected after a shortlisted competitive bidding against four other Chinese state-owned contractors through the Chinese Embassy.

According to Tesfaye Mekonnen, design coordinator for the project, the concept for the complex is based on the historic cave of Sof Omar in Bale Zone of Oromia Regional State.

The building will contain 10 studios, all located between the 9th and 11th floors, and a mix of TV and radio production studios ranging in size from 600sqm to 60sqm. The rest of the floors are expected to hold offices, meeting halls and digital libraries.

"The interior design and construction of the studio were awarded to CSCEE given its extensive experience working on CGTN," said Tesfaye. "The interior design will hold up to date technologies in safety, security, sound, lighting and acoustic systems."

OBN was established as Oromia Radio & Television Organisation in July 2006. Television broadcasts were started in 2008. while radio programming began a year later from its studios in Adama.

Currently, the media company operates six radio and TV studios. It has offices in all the zones of the Oromia State, 650 permanent employees and 11 freelancers. OBN is managed by a board and is chaired by Addisu Arega, head of Political & Organisation Affairs for the Oromia Peoples Democratic Organisation (OPDO).

Asemahegn Asress, a lecturer and researcher at the School of Journalism & Communication, Addis Abeba University for nearly a decade, believes that the media is showing great strides but has reservations over the quality of the contents and presentations.

"Better content and quality is the result of professional integrity and education," he said, "most private media have no strategy or vision, and they could not cope with the competition of social media platforms," he told Fortune.

OBN is one of the seven regions and two city administrations broadcasters operating after they secured licenses from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA). EBA has also issued private operating licenses for eight TV and 10 radio broadcasters since its inception in 1999.

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