Ugandan Television industry in dire need of captivating content

Posted on February 21, 2014 06:37 am

Kampala, the capital city of Uganda is home to all major television stations operating in the country and that places Kampalans at the forefront in the country in terms of digital content consumption. Major television networks that include market leader NTV, state owned UBC, WBS, NBS, Urban and Bukedde. Considering that studies show Ugandan Internet users upload and download thousands of videos each month with YouTube accounting for 51% of all online videos viewed in Uganda, out of an audience of more than 3 million and social networking, at 27%, holds the largest share of online minutes for Ugandans, followed by 19% for entertainment the Television industry is facing the stiffest challenge in competing for the audience with non mainstream channels. There is no doubt that greater content consumption through the availability of various social media and digital platforms provide opportunities for more content producers to come on board, while enabling existing content creators to diversify their ideas and more so the channels that were only a few years ago a preserve of television stations. That is not the case anymore. With more players crowding the space, how Ugandans differentiate the content and stand out from the rest is by watching Television channels that offers unique and authenticated content.

Research shows that the average human attention span is just eight seconds and therefore, television stations in Uganda should do their best to be concise and communicate their ideas effectively. Getting straight to the substance is what most of the channels content has failed. Studies elsewhere have shown that being authentic as creates viewer loyalty and returning audience. Eventually, what every Television station wants is a continued sustainable traffic and that cannot be achieved when targeted audience know a television channel is trying to preach or manipulate them. Since Uganda liberalized the market, the country has seen a lot of talent from amongst the creative community but there is shortage of brains that can produce top-notch animation, mobile and computer games, comics among others. The few outstanding talent in Uganda have set themselves apart by focusing on high-quality storytelling, the kind that any audience in any part of the world can relate to and the end result has seen the popularity of programs like The Hostel extend beyond ‘the pearl of Africa’ borders.  Great content is what differentiates television channels in Uganda  from each other and NTV has seized the opportunity hence commanding huge market share.

Whether a brand is trying to make its presence felt online or its just an upcoming creative television channel trying to break into the industry, focusing on content gives first push to success.  To build audience, television channels will have to capture the hearts of Ugandan audience by airing content they are passionate about is the starting point like ‘event programming’, singing, dancing, traveling and talk shows to mention but a few.  Television industry in Uganda has for long failed to craft content suited to their targeted audience and thinking of Ugandans needs and what they would identify with can be a game changer. Creation of good stories involves both arts and science and the two have been absent in Uganda television industry. Multiple studies have shown that art is the process of getting good story ideas and science comes when the age and psychology of the target audience determines what sort of story that will resonate better with them.  Television channels in Uganda have also failed to build emotional connection with the audience. The task for them is to make their audience care about the message as much as they themselves do. Most of the television program managers have failed to appreciate that storytelling is all about laughter, emotion, excitement, and action that brings the best out of targeted audience’s emotion. Majority of the stories aired in Uganda are not relatable to Ugandan audience and a Television channel knowing how they want to touch the viewer on an emotional level is a big part of the entire process.And there is money to be made as I argued on

Contador Harrison