Pan-African TV Network To Deliver To 250M Consumers

By Samuel Famakinwa, This Day (Lagos), 18 January 2001

Lagos—With the number of South African-based FMCG companies moving into the rest of Africa, the launch of ABN (African Broadcast Network) which promises to deliver to 250 million consumers when launched in an initial seven African countries, will come as a blessing to marketers looking to expand and sell their products in Africa.

ABN will go live on January 29, 2000 in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has set itself high standards in terms of consumer research and broadcast delivery and content. The network will run and operate its programming and advertising sales from South Africa and the UK in conjunction with Granada Media, a globally recognised media sales organisation who will act as ABN-s international sales agent targeting foreign based companies.

Mike Fenwick the CEO of ABN said: We offer marketers accessible and professionally controlled television exposure on a single country, regional or pan African basis.

Fenwick continued; The FMCG sector is one of the most proactive when it comes to targeting the rest of the continent. We know companies like SAB, and National Brands for example, are selling and creating strong brands in many countries outside South Africa and as far afield as Nigeria. What we are offering is the marketing support to build their brands and the figures and research to support their spend.

With the aim of becoming the fastest growing free-to-air television network in Africa, ABN has formed broadcast partnerships with national broadcasters in each of their launch markets.

ABN will commence broadcasting on its partner stations with a one-hour, weekday, prime time slot that will run in each of the countries. This hour will increase to two hours by the end of the first year of operation and to three hours by the end of the second year.

Content on the ABN network will include the best material from soaps and sitcoms to comedy, drama, sport, music and other special interest programmes to ensure that high viewing figures are maintained. Passions, the American network NBC's smash hit soap launched in the US last June heads up ABN-s launch line-up.

Although ABN will kick off with internationally produced content, it is firmly committed to broadcasting an increasing percentage of African produced programmes. In so doing, it will create vital programming opportunities for local and pan African television producers.

ABN's role in the development of pan-African communications has been recognised by Modern African Growth and Investment Company LLC, which has provided funding for the new television network. Modern Africa-s investors include blue chip companies like Microsoft, Societe General and AIG- SunAmerica. ABN is a UK registered company with offices in London and Johannesburg and affiliate offices in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.