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NOW TV!

Publishing Date : 05 March, 2018

Author : DAVE BAAITSE

In an endeavour to promote the arts and empower the youth, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSCD) has finally launched the much anticipated Youth Television Channel, NOW TV.


The idea of a youth and entertainment channel was conceived over a year ago, when youth Minister Thapelo Olopeng said there was need for such. The launch would however take longer than had been anticipated as the ministry had to first seek the go ahead from government as the broadcasting portfolio resides in another Ministry.  


While launching the channel, Minister Olopeng said the project started with a limited budget of P10 million. He said content was acquired from local production companies through an Expression of Interest. The key condition was that it should be local content. Over 40 companies showed interest and they were able to procure from 22 companies due to a limited budget.


Olopeng said they are offering a variety of genres ranging from sport, comedy, talk show, drama, soapies and documentary to mention but a few, all created by Batswana Youth.  They are all fresh, new content that is exclusive to the Youth TV Channel.  “We will continue to engage with content creators for the long-term sustainability of the service. What pleases me nonetheless is that the Channel will play 100% local content for a start”, he said.


The Channel is broadcasting throughout Botswana on the Digital Terrestrial Platform which requires an ISDB-T Set-top-box.  “I am aware of the limited availability of the set-top boxes in the market currently. This remains a business opportunity for entrepreneurs to service the Television market in Botswana.  The Channel is available on satellite free to air (no subscription fees) via dvb- S2 MPEG-4”, the Minister highlighted.


The youthful Minister also appealed to the private sector to support this new baby. He noted that Government does not intend to dominate the television space, especially with regard to Youth entertainment.  Going forward, the Youth Channel will seek to be self- financing through commercial ventures in partnership with private sector investors.


In 2008 Government introduced various programmes to promote the arts. Key amongst these was the President’s Day Competitions, Constituency Arts Competitions and payment of Performance Fees for all artists engaged in Government events. This has cultivated the ground and exposed local artistic talent.  


As a result of these programmes, Botswana art has come of age. This has now been demonstrated by recent performances and achievements of local artists who are appreciated both locally and abroad. Some of the local artists and models are currently engaged in international productions in different countries.


It has also become evident that young Batswana have been educated in some of the best theatre and film schools.  However, they have had limited opportunities to showcase their talent and express themselves. Therefore the majority of these youth are unemployed. A platform such as the Youth TV Channel will provide such an opportunity. Through interaction with the youth largely on social media platforms and in various consultative forums, it became clear that time had come for the television space in Botswana to accommodate a Youth TV Channel.

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