Technology is changing the way Zimbabweans watch TV; 90% of all Zimbabwean urbanites now watch TV over their mobile devices through streaming services, other than traditional TV sets.
Keeping a business afloat in Zimbabwe is more difficult than ever before.
The decision-makers in charge need to make the right moves, adapt to the changing technology times and be able to keep their followers away from the online and technology competition.
At the rate that technology is changing, ZTV is gradually dying a natural death if the government does not immediately adopt technological changes or partly privatise or completely evolve to the changes of the technology environment.
The success of Zimbabwe television is gradually coming to an end, since replacing the radio as the most popular mass medium in the 1950s.
What was once viewed on a little black and white box has become an on-demand experience on sleek, large flat-screen TVs. Not only that, but more and more viewers are watching their favourite movies and television shows on not just their TV, but on their tablets and smartphones as well.
Along with the evolving technology, the way in which television is viewed has also been subject to development and change. Gone are the days of making sure that you were home at a certain time for your favourite show, as with streaming video, DVRs, on-demand services and recording technology you can pretty much watch what you want, whenever you want.
New technologies have had a huge impact on broadcasting and television over the past decades, which have caused many changes to our daily lives.
The rise of streaming services and mobile devices, for example, has been one such change over the past several years. Many people either cannot imagine or can no longer remember not having instant access to media via their mobile devices at all times.
Such innovations have caused cultural shifts in the way that people consume media.
The major reason why Zimbabweans have been watching less TV than before is that many people have got more used to watching what they want, when they want. They would rather watch a show when it is most convenient for them, instead of working around a TV schedule and waiting to see a certain programme.
Years ago, the only option was to watch a show on television when it was aired or wait for a rerun.
WhatsApp media and YouTube are now a major source of competition for ZTV. These social media platforms allow anyone the chance to create their own videos and create a large following of loyal fans. Users are now leveraging these media platforms for their successes to start careers in TV, movies, music, etc or simply continue to profit from YouTube instead.
A few YouTube stars who were able to turn their initial success into other ventures include Madam Boss who is now an actor for Hollywood film producers.
Social media has also had an impact on television. People can discuss what they see on TV in real time instead of reading about it in the newspaper or TV Guide.
This often increases interest in a programme, as people are more likely to be interested in a show recommended and discussed by friends or family on social media. Streaming services, such as Netflix, have tried to take advantage of this by allowing access to your social media accounts to recommend shows to you based on what your friends have seen.
International news and sports producers have now integrated their shows and programmes by letting the audience ask questions through social media and encouraging viewers to participate in polls on the show on social media platforms.
With these changes ZTV needs new innovations in technologies that will dramatically shift the minds of Zimbabweans and really research on how consumers are reacting to the changes of the media space and how it has impacted on television.
There is no doubt that there is more “disruptive technology” that will continue to change how consumers experience television as time goes on.
It will be interesting to see how television will adapt to these new trends and any other new technologies for distributing screen content developed in the future.
Yester-year, television was the most interesting and entertaining innovation by the human race and it’s time for the local television service provider to respond to the changes of the television landscape due to technological changes.
- Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments (Pvt) Ltd and the current chairperson of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers.