Dish Network, the USA leading satellite cable company has introduced the “Pan African bouquet Special”, an all new package with 100% African and Pan African content. The event which was put together by the Chido Nwangwu led US Africa media on behalf of Dish Network had as special guest, Nigerian Consulate General Hon. Chudi Okafor as well as African community leaders in Texas.
Program content on the new Pan-African bouquet include Nollywood movies, 24hrs African news, sports, African reality shows and soaps as well as international events featuring Africans. To this effect, Dish network has entered programming agreements with Nigerian based HiTV and New York based Afrotainment media.
The $24.99 per month Pan-African bouquet special comprises of 5 channels which includes; Africa 24, EBS, Afrotainment, Afrotainment Music and HiTV. EBS and Africa 24 are news channels with concentration on specific geographical regions of Africa.
HiTV is a music, movies and lifestyle network showcasing the best of Nigeria. HiTV provides millions of Nigerians a medium for self expression and national pride and is exclusively dedicated to the Nigerian community.
Afrotainment on the other hand is dedicated exclusively to broadcasting top-quality African movies and TV series mainly from Nollywood and other major motion picture houses. Afrotainment presents programs in English and in French.
The Vice President, International programming at Dish Network; Chris Kuelling re emphasised the growing relevance of the Pan-African Nations on the global scene and further stressed his organizations commitment at ensuring qualitative programming from and for the African market.
An Exclusive Chat with Chris Kuelling, VP International programming DISH Network
TA – Broader perspective of DISH
We started launching international channels in 1996 and today we have over 200 different international channels in 29 different languages…Chinese Indian, Russian, Arabic, German, Brazilian. The introduction of the Pan African bouquet will serve the African segment. We are very proud to introduce 5 channels on the pan African bouquet package. The way we have done it is to partner with a programmer who has in turn secured the rights to the 5 channels which form the pan-African bouquet.
TA – How have you determined content?
We operate 14 different satellites to provide our service in the US. One of these satellites is dedicated exclusively to international. So, part of my job is to determine which channels to carry on the satellite. It’s not unlimited. So decisions are based on which channel and which languages are to be served. By entering agreements with the program provider, we are sure of our program content. There is a lot of illegal content out there and as such the revenues meant for the film makers and producers is never accounted for. With DISH, the local movie film maker and producers will be remunerated.
TA- Explain the bouquet special
In order to buy any international programming on DISH, you first have to buy the basic international package which is $10 or any other basic package and then determine which international you wish to add on. The language you wish to buy is an option.
TA – Why did it take a while to serve the African Market?
I have just been on this position for 2 years but when I resumed in this office, the first question I asked was that why are we not providing service for the African community. We then hired a marketing specialist who in turn researched for the channels which we are being presenting today.
TA – Projections
Giving the demographics of the African community in the USA, I believe that this programming will do really well. We have launched Nationwide and one of our duties at DISH is to help serve the ethnic communities and bring their culture via satellite TV from Africa to their doorstep.
The bouquet special is intended to bring African culture to the homes of DISH subscribers in the USA.
by Tosan Aduayi, John Sanchez and Mary Obilana for Trendy Africa Media.