WTA’s Membership Director, Randall Barney, has interviewed Pieter-Paul Mooijman, Newtec’s Regional Sales Director Africa, to share his viewpoints, experience and knowledge on the African broadcast market.
Watch the following video or read the interview in below's text. Anyway, share your thoughts via the comment box at the end of this page.
How is the emergence of 4k / UltraHD in Africa progressing from your perspective?
Pieter-Paul: 4k in Africa is much talked about, but it’s not really there yet - the market isn’t ready for it. It isn’t like in Europe, where they are already operating quite a lot of UHD channels. In Africa, for example SES have just launched the first channel recently using our Quad iLNB on their platform.
However, they are still reluctant to start Multichoice for example, as they need to upgrade the current infrastructure of set-top boxes to make sure that it is ready for operating ultra HD channels.
What are the challenges broadcasters face in Africa?
Pieter-Paul: The main challenge in the broadcast sector is about getting local content, as Africa is still dependent on international content. More local content is being produced, but (the challenge is) how to get that onto DTH platforms at a reasonable cost to really connect the people in the local communities. It is being improved but it’s still not there - there’s still a long road to go.
What are some of the solutions to these challenges?
Pieter-Paul: Migrating from analogue to digital is the main solution you will see in the coming years in Africa. They’re going to go to DTT DVB-T2 terrestrial networks connected via satellites to broadcast the content, which will use a multiservice platform like Newtec Dialog® to deliver the content, with the new standards like DVB-S2X needed to make it more efficient in these regions.
Broadcasters are getting more and more difficulties with workflows. The workflows are increasing by getting DTT networks up, combining these with DTH and getting more SNG and fly away kits into the field. To manage all of that, we have developed Newtec Dialog, which has automated workflow systems to really tackle the problem by monitoring the DTT towers, so (broadcasters) know what is happening.
For example, in some of the countries in Africa, regional broadcasters don’t have an idea how many DTT towers are active, because they don’t monitor it, and it’s also the case for workflows of automated systems like SNG vehicles. The problem with SNG vehicles is that a lot of technicians are using incorrect frequencies so they are interfering with other frequencies, or they leave it on– not on purpose, but they leave it on – so another broadcast vehicle cannot broadcast at the same frequency, so they are not very efficient with the capacity they have available. This causes a lot of issues or interference, which can be handled with the new SATLink Manager we have developed.
How do you see the evolution of transmission services in the next five years?
Pieter-Paul: I hope to see companies consolidating the uplink systems to local content providers – currently it is too expensive for a local broadcaster in Ghana with only one channel for example, they cannot afford to start their own bouquet or to uplink their own channel, so then the government or local commercial companies can combine all this content in one bouquet to reach the local community with that content.
Tell me about Newtec’s Dialog platform!
Pieter-Paul: The Newtec Dialog platform is a multiservice platform, so it’s not only for the workflows for the broadcasters to bring content distribution, but can also be used for broadband services. For example, we have developed the Quad iLNB which can handle broadband and set-top boxes in a triple play service.
Thank you Randall for this interview!
Newtec offers solutions for traditional and converged broadcast infrastructures (ASI) and IP-based workflows and are active in a whole range of satellite broadcast transmission applications from contribution to exchange and distribution.
Our products meet the high operational requirements for professional reliability and service availability. Read more on our dedicated Broadcast page.