Kenya’s broadcasting industry is facing uncertainty over availability of local content ahead of the switch from analogue to digital television system.
The migration is expected to trigger huge demand for local content, with regulation in place that requires media houses to have at least 60 per cent local content in their productions.
Players in the film industry are, meanwhile, grappling with financial challenges as they prepare for the anticipated surge in demand for local content.
Digital broadcasting signal, unlike analogue, can be compressed to allow for more channels within a single frequency.
Key industry players say that while the country has enough labour and script ideas, lack of financing is a great challenge in producing quality local films.
Kenya Film Commission acting chief executive officer Eric Mwangi said that despite having enough talent in the county, producers are not targeting the local market owing to low rates offered for local films.
The Kenya Film Commission has laid out plans to increase talent in the country by partnering with film stakeholders to train the youth in film production.
The proposed switch to digital migration has, however, faced serious challenges, with the three leading media houses moving to court to block the switch until certain issues are sorted out.
Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Media Group have cast doubts on the availability of adequate set-top boxes in Kenya, saying only 600,000 were available against a demand of 1.4 million TV sets.
The Court of Appeal has ordered the Communications Commission of Kenya and the Ministry of Information and Communications to halt the switch off pending determination of the case on or before February 6, 2014.