ZTV under fire over poor content

MUTARE - Independent film producers say cash-strapped ZBC’s inability to buy quality local content has forced the national broadcaster to rely on desperate upcoming filmmakers.

Speaking at a recent Misa-Zimbabwe meeting on how digitalisation could improve quality of local productions, most producers said ZTV’s shows are not an accurate reflection of the nation’s filming and acting talents.

“ZBC currently has no capacity to buy quality content or finance programmes for production with partners. We have quality content but we will not give it up for nothing,” said Philemon Matope, an independent film producer.

Matope, who bemoaned the fact that ZTV was the sole player in Zimbabwe, added that film producers who have accepted ZBC’s “ridiculously low” rates were battling to get paid.

“Last year, film producers only got paid for 2008 content. That’s a seven-year delay and it’s not something that I would want. I think at the moment I will be more willing to work with private players if they are licensed,” he said.

Henry Tsopotsa, another independent producer, however, blamed the national broadcaster’s failure to pay content providers on the non-payment of licence fees by most Zimbabweans.

“We also need to pay our licences for it to afford new content,” Tsopotsa said.

But Kanganwa Simomondo, an artist and filmmaker, disagreed arguing that the non-payment of licence fees was not a recent development.

“Licence non-payment did not start today… but it got worse because of poor programming. People are just protesting,” said Simomondo.

“I have two complete movies which I cannot just give to ZBC for free; am not prepared to be paid after seven years. Advertising revenue is what is important but most companies are not advertising that is ZBC’s biggest problem. Digitalisation will not automatically mean things will improve.”

Nyaradzo Nyari, on the other hand, expressed optimism that digitalisation would create an opportunity for the exposure of more filmmakers.

“We have a lot of talented people who currently are not getting exposure who will benefit immensely from an increase in television stations in general which digitalisation will afford,” Nyari said.

Comments (5)

ZBC's poor content has been like that since the 90's. And its getting worse every year. The truth is people are not watching ZBC. I used to watch on the prime time news but has since stopped coz you end up being stressed because of their obvious lies and propaganda. What we want is news as they are...apolitical. As long as the situation at ZBC remains political then it will never NEVER rise and people will not pay licences for something they dont watch... full stop

Zvakaora - 14 July 2015

I agree with Zvakaora. ZBC improve your service delivery first. Give quality programmes and people would appreciate through paying. For your own information even those with DSTV decoders sometimes switch on to ZBC channel just to get a glimpse of what there. If they always find boring and cheap programming, people will always find paying licences a "burden" yet it should not be.

PFUNGWA - 15 July 2015

zbc taneta ne poor service delivery...the same programmes i watched when i was ku primary ndiwo achitoripo ini ndatova baba...tipeiwo zvirinani

sinyoro - 15 July 2015

People are very much willing to pay a premium for good services. That's why many are paying for DSTV, even for as low as $10 per month. On the other hand, ZBC is always busy with very very very boring Chinese programmes, propaganda & showing dead & decomposing bodies of the armed struggle. Not everyone is political, some want to see business programmes, some adventure, some love animals, etc. Moreover, the ZBC is forcing people to pay, especially motorists. So they do have the money. I shall continue to pay more cash to Multichoice because there is multiple choice of programmes to watch

Collin - 15 July 2015

im a producer also i have a hand in some South African movies as a script writer eg:Ashes to Ashes and Sticks and Stones but for us to run our production business as usual we need payment,i have my own telenovela and i want to give it to zbc but if they cant pay enough for the production company and actors,catch it on BTV,im already negotiating with the Botswana Television

Wise Words From The East - 31 August 2015

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