In a Forum recently convened by the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) to support creativity and innovation in local content production for television and new media, film producers in the country have agreed to a strategic partnership between local content producers and broadcasters aimed at creating synergy and enabling media owners meet their local content quotas in a cost effective manner while local content producers (film makers) make a reasonable return on investment from their creativity. 

Ultimately, with each player in the partnership being able to focus on their core business, broadcasters will concentrate on marketing and distributing content while local content producers will focus on production. The meeting brought together representatives from the Media Owners Association (MOA), the Producers Guild and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

And to win the local content agenda, the Producers’ Guild has put together a strategy to increase audience consumption of Kenyan film content. The strategy dubbed ‘Watch Kenya campaign’ is aimed at sensitizing Kenyans on locally made films including TV series’ by running advertisements on local radio and TV stations including billboards and other platforms that may be available. This will see a strong partnership forged between Producers and the Media Owners with the former providing the final products through their expertise and resources including equipment, and the latter providing the air time and other spaces across all their platforms to showcase the same.

Efforts will also be made to ensure that both parties exercise flexibility and that the spirit of all contractual engagements is one that will ensure quality content that drives community ideals and reasonable payment terms executed in a timely manner. Producers have in the past encountered stagnated payments, high production costs including unsustainable wage bills which need to be addressed for film producers and script writers to stay afloat in the film business.

Media owners NTV, KTN, Citizen, KBC, 3-Stones and Light Media in attendance, observed that time schedule was one of the leading challenges they face while airing different content. Consequently, broadcasters called on producers to ensure that their content is topnotch with a key focus on quality. They also expressed their desire to discuss the same further with individual film makers. Also proposed was a system where broadcasters will make an annual call for submission of proposals based on their requirements to avoid the bureaucracy of seeking continuous submissions all year round thus enhancing planning and quality productions.

One pertinent issue that was brought to the fore was a challenge to broadcasters to take up children content that would run for at least five hours a week and that Kenyan children can identify with as they grow as opposed to foreign content. And to bridge the local content gap in the market, media houses appealed to producers and film makers to churn out more varied content in Vernacular and Kiswahili under the guidance of market research on consumer needs for relevance.

Mr. Alfred Ambani of the Communication Authority of Kenya clarified that local content threshold of 60% is open beyond 2018 to accommodate all newly licensed broadcasters. He noted that the government’s new programming code in the new laws is meant to protect children from programming content that has undesirable elements like nudity, strong language and violence especially during the watershed period which runs from 5am to 10pm. Producers were urged to create content that would entice more viewers locally.

The local content requirement for all broadcasters currently stands at 40% and it is expected that by 2018 or during the fourth year of licensing, broadcasters will have reached the 60% threshold (local content requirement). Through the establishment of a Film Development Fund, and other business partnerships with financial institutions, access to resources for production of local content at a subsidized rate will become a reality. To this end, the KFC CEO, Mrs. Lizzie Chongoti reaffirmed the Commission’s relentless pursuit through government support including the roll out of a robust film incentive package which will go a long way in stimulating local and international productions.

In conclusion, the forum agreed to form a working group with key milestones and mandated the Commission to take the lead and organize similar forums going forward to herald an industry conversation on development and growth. The stakeholders present agreed to the need for a concerted effort between broadcasters and film producers together with the Government on implementing the aspects of the law on local content. It was noted that there is need for the industry to be positioned with a strong IP knowledge, classification, funding, private/public collaborations as well as an understanding of technology disruptions.

Evidently, local film quotas effected from July 2016, will go out to benefit the country by defending cultural and economic activities; improving public knowledge of local films; promoting diversity; and improving the local film industry. The media was encouraged to partner with the production units in advocating for the film industry on policy framework, audience development, and industry research.

KFC is a State Corporation mandated by the Government of Kenya under the Ministry of Sports Culture and the Arts, to develop a vibrant local Film and TV industry and market Kenya locally and internationally as the premier filming destination for sustainable wealth through investment and job creation.

For further press information contact; Catherine Gitahi / Corporate Affairs Manager

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