At the beginning of the year we heard from UCC, the communications regulator that all local television stations are required by law to air 70% of local content during prime time. To many it was a dream come true though it faced some negativity especially from folks vending to us these so called telenovas and whatsoever. This issuing came at a time when many stations had become some sort of content importers which was proved beyond unreasonable doubt to be foreign.
Many of our television stations also resisted this move sorry I won’t mention the names giving excuses of local content being unprofessional especially with production, being “expensive” and other issues. So UCC came up with an ultimatum which had to be observed by these local stations and I haven’t seen many stations moving that way. And if implemented, it would see the entertainment industry moving in an ascending order as we have seen many foreign stations making huge success especially with original programming. An adjacent example is Citizen TV in Kenya which has proved an industry leader thanks to original programming.
It will surely drive the industry to the likes of Nollywood
Not forgetting the likes of NTV Uganda and Vision groups Bukedde TV which have huge audiences with some of their original and local productions with the former having brought us the Hostel series which proved a huge success and recently Deception and the latter having a whole catalog of local productions. But this to prove a success it will have to involve all the stakeholders especially the TV stations to make increments in their budgets solely for original productions or acquiring rights over local productions. It will surely drive the industry to the likes of Nollywood which has also taken over our screens and The mighty Hollywood. It doesn’t surprise getting Ugandans knowing when the next episode or a season premier of a popular TV series from out than our own. Which is a shame provided we have our own because we can craft our own and also have those already in the making.
The telenovas have also hit the industry real hard especially the Mexican and Venezuelan soaps though of late they have faced competition from Filipino and Indian soaps. We are looking forward to seeing local content hitting the living rooms of many Ugandan homes but it will only be viable with massive investment together with quality productions, strong regulation and of course we at the receiving end will offer our support through viewing. This comes at a time when the issued deadline is about to expire with one month pending to hit the deadline but no practical results so far.