I AM very crazy about television. So crazy that if I was rich I would have a television set in every room in my house. I am a couch potato and when I’m home the remote is like an extension to my hand, my fingers are always on the remote buttons trying to find a good programme on one channel or another. The television is the most prized asset in my house and on a day when there is no electricity or when the monthly subscription has not been paid the house becomes a prison that I have to run away from.
My television diet is simple. Give me drama, series, game shows, reality shows and a bit of sport and you have my heart. All of it. I am basically a story person and believe the same goes for many in this country. In search of good stories I and many like me have been everywhere and back. We started here at home with ZBCtv, then, with the help of satellite dishes, migrated and got hooked to South African soaps and game shows, and when the Open View satellite system was phased out most of us jumped to the DStv wagon, all in search of good content and programming.
For many years we have been with DStv but are now desperately looking for something better, better content we can easily relate to as Zimbabweans. In short we want to see ourselves and our own stories in our own television sets doing the things we do and enjoy doing. We all know ZBCtv failed us in this regard. But now Kwese TV has come and rekindled our hopes for better and more relevant content and programming.
Frankly, we are excited about Kwese TV because we have been getting no joy from current service providers. ZBCtv has been called many things in recent years, but more importantly it has been accused of infringing on our right to choice with its monopoly. DStv, on the other hand, has its obvious biases and is arrogant too. For years it has taken Zimbabwean viewers for granted. Viewers are forced to pay for channels they never get time to watch. There are too many repeats and, for Zimbabwean viewers, paying subscriptions has become cumbersome and a nightmare. One has to have a good bank or hard currency to subscribe. So the coming in of Kwese TV is a welcome development. We hope the granting of a licence to Kwese TV ushers in a new era of competitive service.
Most of our hopes are now pinned on Kwese TV. We hope they deliver us from boredom, from being sidelined, from celebrating heroes and celebrities who are not our own. In very simple terms this is what we all are expecting from Kwese TV now that they have been granted a license to operate in Zimbabwe:
1. Bring serious and meaningful competition to both ZBCtv and DStv. Hopefully they will give these two a serious run for their money. We all know what competition does to any game. Good competition always benefits the consumer.
2. Bring diversity and more choices for viewers. We have said, time and again, for many reasons ZBCtv does not give us choices and needs to up its game. While DStv has better choices it obviously has no serious interest in Zimbabwe. DStv is not investing enough in Zimbabwean content and talent. Its priorities seem to be in South Africa and Nigeria. We are hoping Kwese TV is coming to make local viewers feel more important and a priority.
3. Bring more relevant content to Zimbabwean viewers. This is a must and if it doesn’t happen it will be the biggest betrayal by Kwese TV, Econet and Strive Masiyiwa himself.
4. Investing in Zimbabwe’s film industry. The sector seriously needs investing in. Look at what DStv has done to both South Africa and Nigerian film sectors. Kwese TV is Zimbabwe’s hope. We are hoping it will create training opportunities, jobs and a good environment for growth for young Zimbabwean filmmakers.
As a viewer I am not expecting Kwese TV to just come and sit and broadcast. I am expecting a serious disruption in the television industry. Kwese TV must change how we view television in this country. I hear TelOne and Zimpapers also received broadcasting licences.