Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation moves analogue radio onto a digital "Fabrik", transforming its engagement with its audiences

Originally posted on the SBC Facebook page.

In a major modernisation of its broadcast technology, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) has launched two new apps for its radio services, bringing audiences for Radyo Sesel and Paradise FM into the digital and social revolution.

Available on iOS and Android mobile devices, the apps allow audiences to stream the stations live, catch up on popular content via podcasts seconds after the live transmission and to engage with the stations with opinions, news and participation in real-time.

“With the new technology we are deploying, audiences will become co-creators of our broadcasts with us, bringing them into the very heart of our broadcast personality and services,” commented Bérard Duprès, CEO of Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation.

Audiences will be able to participate in the conversation of the day by sending through their voice-notes, photographs or text messages instantly to the station, where producers can curate and mix this feedback into the on-air broadcast in seconds.

At Paradise FM and Radyo Sesel, there is tangible excitement around the possibilities for reaching the Seychellois diaspora globally and to engage with them in real-time. The teams are equally enthused on being able to engage better with our local audience, keeping them informed on issues and events and enabling a whole new set of information and content services, all in the palm of their hands.

“We invite our listeners to embark on this digital journey together with us as we grow our skills and understanding of what it takes to be a truly modern broadcaster in the 21st Century,” says Mr Duprès.

“Not only does the platform ensure a direct and immediate connection with our audience, it will allow us to preserve our radio programmes into a cloud archive that can be available over time to all citizens of the Seychelles as part of our audio cultural heritage,” notes Duprès, referring to other features of the platform.

The CEO further noted that this was part of the Corporation’s on-going efforts to ensure that the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution were tangible to all Seychellois, Radio and TV audiences alike, following the recent roll-out of DTT.

This innovation of SBC’s radio services has been made possible through partnership with a South Africa-based technology firm, immedia. SBC and immedia collaboration started a year ago in Windhoek, Namibia at SABA’s (Southern African Broadcasting Association) annual conference and AGM.

“We are particularly proud that this globally revolutionary platform is an African product developed in Durban, South Africa.”

— Mr Phil Molefe, Executive Head of Strategy at immedia, the development team responsible for the Fabrik platform.

Mr Molefe, previously Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, Chairman of the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa and past Editor-in-Chief of SABC Radio and Television News, is a broadcasting expert who sees the Fabrik platform as being transformative in Africa’s developing economies.

“In my thirty years of broadcasting, I have never been more excited at the potential to invert the traditional “We transmit, you receive” model of broadcasting,” says an energised Molefe.

The apps are now available live on Apple’s AppStore and Google’s Play Store respectively and SBC invites its audience to come closer to Paradise and Sesel with these pocket companions.

For further details, please contact the Head of Marketing & Corporate Affairs on corporatecommunication@sbc.sc


Innovators connect on new cloud app

Originally posted in the Sunday Tribune.

To promote and support technological innovation, Innovate Durban, has launched a cloud-first app that allows key stakeholders and the public to collaborate, connect and celebrate in a private, secure space.

Developed by a local tech company, immedia, the Innovate Durban app provides innovators with a platform on which to find and share information, said Aurelia Albert, chief executive of Innovate Durban, a non-profit company set up by the eThekwini Municipality and other key stakeholders.
The app also facilitates direct engagement with Innovate Durban, fellow innovators and their partner ecosystem within private programme-related messaging groups or on public channels.
The black MAMBA1! fully electronic vehicle created by a group of five students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, including Calvin Vanwieringen and Mathew Darko from Ghana, in 2016, is just one of the technological innovations you can access if you download the Innovate Durban app.

"This private cloud-first platform truly revolutionises the way in which people securely and confidentially communicate within their communities and collaborate with each other - allowing for relevant, real-time information to be shared without the spam, noise and data-harvesting practices we consistently encounter in other forms of communication."

- Aurelia Albert, CEO of Innovate Durban

“Innovate Durban has partnered with immedia on a number of exciting and cutting-edge projects for many years and we feel that this platform created by immedia’s proudly-Durban team will really set it apart,” added Albert.
Albert said the app would advance their mission to ensure that all projects and programmes create sustainable impact.


Selizotholakala naphesheya kwezilwandle Izwi Lomzansi

Originally posted in Isolezwe.

SESIZOTHOLAKALA naphesheya kwezilwandle isiteshi somphakathi saseThekwini esikhula ngesikhulu isivinini.

Izwi Lomzansi FM elitholakala eDurban Station, izolo lethule i-App yalo okuwubuchwepheshe besimanje obusebenza ngeselula. Le App etholakala kwi-internet ebizwa ngokuthi Izwi98FM eyenziwe abe-Immedia.

Umphathi wezinhlelo kulo msakazi uFuthi Khumalo, uthe ucwaningo lwabo luveze ukuthi sebewu-43% abalaleli beZwi Lomzansi asebebalalela kule App eqale ukuba khona kuleli sonto. Izolo bebeyethula ngokusemthethweni.

EGoli kuvele ukuthi yisona esihamba phambili ngoba iningi labantu abahambela iTheku balalela lo msakazo ngesikhathi belinde amabhasi nezitimela esiteshini.

“Lolu hlobo lobuchwepheshe bese kuyisikhathi sokuthi silusebenzise ngoba abantu abaningi bakhala ngokuthi kukhona lapho umsakazo ungafiki khona. Abalaleli abaningi baseGoli besize sixhumane nabo ngokusebenzisana nomunye umsakazo. Uma sesitholakala kwiselula, kuzoba lula kakhulu ukuthi sixhumane nabo nakwezinye izifundazwe. Okuhle ukuthi ngisho abantu bephesheya kwezilwandle bazoqhubeka nokuzithola zonke izinhlelo zethu baphinde baphawule nangazo kalula,” kusho uKhumalo.

Umphathi siteshi, uVela Xulu, uthe inhloso yabo enkulu ukwenza lo msakazo usebenze njengeminye emikhulu yize kungowomphakathi.

“Sifuna ukuzakhela amathuba emisebenzi sibenzise intsha eyazi kangcono ngobuchwehesheye, ezokumaketha, ukusakaza nezokuxhumana. Noma siwumsakazo omncane kodwa akukho esifuna abalaleli bashode kukho.

“Esikhathini samanje zonke izinto zenziwa ngobuchwepheshe yikho sinyusa izinga,” kusho uXulu.

Omunye wabasakazi oseneminyaka kulesi siteshi uNontobeko Mbelu, uthe ukufika kwale App kwenze indlela yokuxhumana nabalaleli yalula kakhulu.

“Konke sesikwenza ngekhasi elilodwa abalaleli sebeyakwazi ngisho ukusithumelela ama-voicenote,” kusho uNontobeko.

Omunye wongqondongqondo bale App, * -Anice Hassim we-Immedia ebhekelele ukusebenza kwale App, uthe ayikho imininingwane ezoduka.

UHassim uthe konke kuzoba lula kubalaleli ngoba bazokwazi nokulalela umsakazo noma bengekho emakhaya.

“Umuntu uzokwazi ukuqopha izinhlelo azithandayo abuye azilalele uma ethola isikhathi.

“Uma kukhulunywa ngesihloko wangezwa kahle, uzokwazi ukuphinde ubuyele emuva ulalelisise,” kusho Hassim.

“Esikhathini samanje zonke izinto zenziwa ngobuchwepheshe yikho sinyusa izinga.”

- Mr Vela Xulu, Station Manager

Omunye wabasakazi oseneminyaka kulesi siteshi uNontobeko Mbelu, uthe ukufika kwale App kwenze indlela yokuxhumana nabalaleli yalula kakhulu.

“Konke sesikwenza ngekhasi elilodwa abalaleli sebeyakwazi ngisho ukusithumelela ama-voicenote,” kusho uNontobeko.

Omunye wongqondongqondo bale App, * -Anice Hassim we-Immedia ebhekelele ukusebenza kwale App, uthe ayikho imininingwane ezoduka.

UHassim uthe konke kuzoba lula kubalaleli ngoba bazokwazi nokulalela umsakazo noma bengekho emakhaya.

“Umuntu uzokwazi ukuqopha izinhlelo azithandayo abuye azilalele uma ethola isikhathi.

“Uma kukhulunywa ngesihloko wangezwa kahle, uzokwazi ukuphinde ubuyele emuva ulalelisise,” kusho Hassim.


African broadcast innovation using apps and social media to engage audiences

Originally posted on balancing act.

Africa’s broadcasters are facing a legion of challenges and need to find new ways to connect with their audiences to build loyalty. In a world awash with mobile internet and social media they need to be able find new ways of working that will change things. Russell Southwood looks at two African innovations – Fabrik and Volume News – that might help breed a better-connected broadcast media.

Africa’s TV channels do not have the reach of radio or mobile, although it is probably the latter that poses the greater threat. Africans can sit on buses in the traffic listening to FM radio or watching online content. They can check their phones during the day for breaking news and watch clips recommended by their friends on their lunch break.

The speed of social media often means that news is often no longer on the hour but seems to happen in real time. Furthermore the discussion about news and issues of the day – particularly for the young – happens more often than not on social media. These discussions also start trending extremely quickly and often even those with live phone-ins seem to get left behind.

In this issue I’m going to focus on two innovations: one is a media platform that helps create social engagement with your audiences and is not as its creator South African Anice Hassim, Immedia puts it:”Fabrik is not just about management and workflows.”

For example, it enables a radio station to have a digital presence that can do four things: it has personality; it eliminates time-lag in getting information out; it enhances ways of telling the story; and provides a shared context.

Talk radio audiences were social media before social media existed but they were not easily able to track what their most engaged users felt. So whereas analog audiences are “spray and pray”, the platform allows you (through analysing all your social media through an app) to spot sub-sets of people interested in particular issues or topics. Indeed through the app, viewers or listeners can choose to get alerts on particular topics.

A regular caller to a talk show can become a contributor:”The audience’s voice begins to blend with the station’s voice.” Audiences can either engage directly through the station’s app or through social media that the app allows the station to see all in one place.

Furthermore, the TV or radio station can use it to quantify their online reach:”There are revenue opportunities in the platform. Stations can put their online reach on the rate card and get a share of that revenue. The higher the engagement, the more they can monetise.” I shall return in a future issue to look in greater detail at the Fabrik platform.

The second media innovation comes out of the JAMLAB is a programme of Wits Journalism and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering in partnership with Ryerson University, Toronto and Journalists for Human Rights. The project aims to support more and better innovation in journalism and media on the continent. It is based in one of Africa’s newest innovation hubs, Tshimologong in a downtown area of Johannesburg called Braamfontein.

Volume News was one of six start-ups making its first pitch before an invited audience on Wednesday. Its stated goal is to create a new mobile-first news wire service that links community radio journalists with mainstream news outlets to breakthrough the existing metropolitan filter bubble of South African news coverage.

It calculates that there are 9 million people who are not getting local news. It wants to do this by creating local stories in local languages. It wants to create local stories that will be broadcast through trusted local community news stations in South Africa. Currently only 14% of the news these stations broadcast despite their rationale being one of addressing local audiences.

It wants to create a team of local journalists throughout the country that they will submit using an app and it will supply an app to radio stations (that will also use a simple Raspberry Pi device) that will allow them to easily use the stories generated in an MP3 format. These local journalists become known as the person to go to if you want to get something on air.

It is currently generating stories that are reaching 200,000 people but its medium term ambition is to reach 1.5 million listeners through 85 stations. The service potentially has a direct impact on the financial fortunes of community radio stations.

Volume News said that community radio stations get 25% of audiences but only 2% of advertising spend. This is partly because the brands and NGOs that might use them have no idea whether their information or ad is transmitted. The station tool it has built allows this to be tracked.

Neither of these two ideas are the complete answer to all of the woes of Africa’s radio and TV stations but both contain ideas that might allow channel owners to compete more effectively and build audience loyalty using modern methods.