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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.