Thursday, May 15, 2014

The ABN group and CNBC Africa officially launches its new CNBC Africa studio on the first floor of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

CNBC Africa (DStv 410) launched its new first floor CNBC Africa studio at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this morning when it finally switched to an on-site studio facility housed inside One Exchange Square in Sandton.

CNBC Africa's new studio from where it will now be doing its daily broadcasts, is a plan and project that has been seven years in the making for CNBC Africa.

Since before CNBC Africa launched in 2007 as a business TV channel in South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice's DStv platform, it wanted to have a physical TV studio at the JSE.

Today's official launch makes CNBC Africa the first broadcaster to have such a physical TV studio at the JSE.

CNBC Africa moving its physical studio operations to the JSE is modeled on the United States' CNBC which has had a studio space at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for decades.

TV with Thinus couldn't attend today's CNBC Africa studio morning launch or evening cocktail event - CNBC Africa unfortunately doesn't accomodate the press and TV critics the way other TV channels on DStv do when it comes to media launches and big channel events - but here is what is reportable:

The CNBC Africa first floor studio at the JSE is grey with a silvery grey desk, and a see-through glass back panel looking out over the "floor" of the JSE (the foyer to be precise - there is no more "Diagonal Street" trading floor with traders like what is seen at the NYSE).

The new studio has robotic, unmanned cameras, similar to what eNCA (DStv 403) and ANN7 (DStv 405) are using, operated by the final control room.

Daily timeslot shows like Open Exchange Africa, Power Lunch and Closing Bell Africa on CNBC Africa will now be done from here; CNBC Africa's Studio 1 and Studio 2 in Stella Street in Sandton will now be used for panel discussions and the recording of other programmes.

David Williams and Nozipho Mbanjwa were the first two CNBC anchors to broadcast live on the TV channel from behind the new desk and studio space.

CNBC Africa secured the first floor space after tenants left the JSE building, providing the ABN group with the opportunity of finally moving in and establishing a fixed physical presence for CNBC Africa to report from at the JSE.

"We were looking for a home here from the get-go, unfortunately there wasn't adequate space," Rakesh Wahi, the founder and vice chairperson of the ABN group told CNBC Africa today.

"I remember going to the HSBC building across the road and we looked for space there; we couldn't find space there either. Then finally we found a home on Stella Street where we are now".

"The desire to be at the JSE was always there. As you know CNBC's content is largely related to the markets, and therefore we put a camera here from the time we launched and we did our crossings and all our major market shows," said Rakesh Wahi.

"We launched in 2007 from Johannesburg. We set up a bureau in Cape Town and our East African headquarters in Kenya. We set up our West African headquarters in Nigeria - we put two bureaus, one in Nigeria and one in Lagos".

"Then we were hit by recession in 2008 and had to consolidate our plans and hold back on expanding into the rest of the continent. In 2011 we started expanding again and we set up bureaus in other parts of Sadec. We went into East Africa; Gabon, and now Ghana as well. We're have 15 bureaus on the continent," said Rakesh Wahi.