Ten television channels, including the RTI Group (RTI1, RTI2, La 3, public), share, in Côte d’Ivoire, an advertising market between 10 and 13 billion CFA francs.
To ensure the sustainability of the sector, the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA, regulator) organized a round table in Abidjan on Thursday on the theme “The economic viability of DTT operators in Côte d’Ivoire: challenges and strategies”.
This meeting, the first bringing together the actors of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Côte d’Ivoire in one place, made it possible to address the crucial questions of the economic viability of DTT operators.
Mr. Fabrice Sawegnon, CEO of Life TV, observed that for private television channels the main economic model is advertising, “and this market today is lagging far behind what we could have imagined. “.
“Today we are in a market (estimated advertising) between 10 and 13 billion Fcfa, which is far below forecasts which were at least double,” he said, adding that “this small market of 10 billion is operated by more than 10 channels ”.
“We have invested 12 billion CFA francs and we have an advertising market of 10 billion CFA francs shared by ten television channels”, offering an exemption from broadcasting costs over the first three years of operation.
In reality, he will underline, “there are only six TNT channels which have actually received the right to broadcast in TNT (…) we realize that there are channels which do not pay any form of license or license fee. costs borne by DTT operators ”.
He argued that “the TV license should be shared fairly, it’s not an RTI license, it’s a TV license, so this money must help finance the entire sector, otherwise we can find others. formulas ”such as a withdrawal of the RTI on major listening areas as is done in France.
“The RTI, its royalty, it is almost 10 billion CFA francs today, it is important to know that it is a very important amount which must help the whole sector”, he suggested, wishing ” more equitable regulation ”in terms of advertising.
For him, the chains which do not undergo the same constraints as the private operators of the DTT in terms of investment and specifications, license fees, local charges, “can share the same cake with chains” which have these charges.
The director general of NCI (New Ivorian Channel), Ange Fabien Guéi, called for a drop in the license fee paid to the HACA and to the Ivorian Television Broadcasting Company (IDT), responsible for the deployment of National Terrestrial Television (TNT).
Mr. Guéi noted that NCI has made an investment between 10 and 12 billion Fcfa, noting that the television channel provides 3 to 4 billion Fcfa of monthly charges for an advertising market of about 12 billion Fcfa.
He asked the IDT to accelerate the establishment of DTT across the country so that there is a high penetration rate in homes. He also wanted a “audience measurement in which all operators will recognize themselves”.
As for Jean-Philippe Kaboré, CEO of Optimum Media, publisher of the 7 Info TV channel, which is scheduled to launch on September 15, 2021, pleaded for a reduction in the license fee of CFAF 250 million paid at the launch of a TV channel in Ivory Coast.
Mr. Damiano Malchiodi, managing director of A + Ivoire, estimated that the license is “too high”, urging the authorities to adopt “a stronger regulatory framework” for operators to take advantage of the advertising windfall.
The president of the HACA, Me René Bourgoin, mentioned that operators have been authorized, certainly, since 2016, but it is only in 2019 for some, 2020 for others that these operators really started their operation.
Regarding the RTI fee collected from the taxpayer, Me Bourgoin suggested that “it is at the heart of the debates for many operators who want it to be distributed among them, the RTI 50% and the remaining 50% among all other operators ”.
“The key is to know if it can be accepted, if it is feasible. We are not a body that will take decisions today, we discuss them and then we will see the proposals that we think useful to make to the government, ”he continued.
The financing of content is the sinews of war to gain an audience among DTT operators. In addition to this burden, they face signal transport, taxes and payroll charges. In this context of Covid-19, they need support from the State.