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ZBC battles for relevance

After missing the deadline for digitisation in July, national broadcaster — the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) — has moved the process, which involves switching over from analogue to digital to next year.

By Nicola Gibson

Patrick Mavhura
Patrick Mavhura

ZBC is lagging behind in the region as it has failed to move with the times and still uses archaic recording studios, which has hampered the smooth flow of broadcasts. Its programming leaves a lot to be desired as it has turned out to be a mouth-piece of the ruling Zanu PF.

However, ZBC CEO Patrick Mavhura believes the national broadcaster will soon catch up.

“When it comes to the broadcast value chain, everything is now in place, because what we need are digital studios. From digital studios, we want the main control room that will regulate what would be happening in the studio,” he said.

Mavhura said after all the processes had been done, the signal would be transmitted to all corners of the country. He said for one to access the signal, they should have a set top box or a decoder.

“The infrastructure needed for the digitisation process is now there. What is now left are transmitters and we also need set top boxes which are just similar to the decoders and every household should have them to access the signal,” he said.

Mavhura said digitisation was one way through which the national broadcaster was hoping to regain public confidence and compete with other channels on the continent.

“Currently we are running one television station after we temporarily closed Channel 2 last year. We should have re-launched the channel during the first quarter of the year, but that did not materialise because of certain issues beyond our control,” he said.

Mavhura said ZBC had come up with a cocktail of strategies to regain its lost mojo. He said the national broadcaster had embraced all stakeholders and was working harmoniously with independent producers, who contribute a large chunk of the content.

“We have improved our relationship with independent producers from our historical issues of not funding. The reason why you are watching exciting programmes now is because of the flexible plan that we now have with the producers,” he said.

He said the national broadcaster would blend old and new programmes in its new schedule, which will come along with digitisation.

Mavhura said the process of digitalisation involve a number of stakeholders, among them Transmedia and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

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