Lockdowns and working from home guidelines are increasing TV screen time, but are broadcast companies giving quality programming?
People across the continent have heeded to health advisory to stay indoors during the pandemic while homes have been turned into offices and meetings moved online.
But working from home was not just an affair of going on Zoom in pajamas and shorts, long breaks flexible times and elimination of time spent on commutes left most people with extra hours on their hands.
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With the flexible working and working from home trend accelerating people turned to their screens.
According to media watchdog Ofcom adults – many stuck indoors – spent 40 per cent of their waking hours in front of a screen, on average in the UK. Time spent on subscription streaming services also doubled
The positive of this shift is it has created a wider audience for local programing and streamed content opening up spaces to explore Pan-African audiences with a whole new array of content.
It has also roused the need to experiment and improve product offering especially relatable local content that viewers across Africa can find interesting.
Shows like DSTV’s Love Swap where couples swap partners to test their relationships on HONEY Dstv channel 173 have gained popularity as a bold live TV show.
It is part of Honey, DSTV’s new offering that explores lifestyle, food and cooking, relationships and weddings, along with reality shows from various territories throughout the continent and fronted by female voices across Africa including Pearl Umeh (Nigeria), Patricia Kihoro, Foi Wambui (Kenya), Anele Mdoda, Mbali Nkosi and Anele Zondo (South Africa).
Love Swap, described as a quirky reality show in which couples swap their other halves and cook a meal for their new “partner”. While in the kitchen, they learn more about one another’s relationships, including what makes their partners tick and how they express their love languages.
It blends cooking with insightful conversation to establish a common footing and a relaxing atmosphere. At the end of each cooking session, the two couples have dinner together and share their opinions about each other and what they’ve learnt about their own relationships.
Such bold topics, unchartered territory and cosmopolitan context are drawing the new viewer who are young and are more likely to tap into digital screen time in this era.
It is likely to define the future of entertainment on the continent and new viewership trends as Africa locked behind closed doors learn something new about their neighboring countries and explore topics that matter to their new realities.
Home entertainment industry is likely to evolve around such projects but much still waits to be seen in terms of what content will find the continents diverse tempo.
Still Africa might have just stumbled on the makings of the contemporary Pan-African viewership.