Tuesday, April 12, 2016

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle: 'As broadcasters we have to treat our customers like gold; producers of the most relevant and resonant content will continue to thrive'.

When M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle recently addresses the world's broadcasters and global media in Doha, she emphasised that news media will have to work even harder to discern between news and noise as it brings information to consumers, while in broadcasting only those who produce relevant and resonant content will survive.

Yolisa Phahle was one of the speakers at the end of March in Doha, Qatar at the World Media Summit 2016 and she gave the international delegates both a forecast of where MultiChoice and M-Net is heading to, as well as background of where M-Net started as a pay-TV operator in 1986 and how it has been evolving to keep up with audiences, content and technology.

The Randburg-based pay-TV operator will celebrate its 30th anniversary in October, and Yolisa Phahle told delegates that the leadership of M-Net and MultiChoice today are as mindful as the people "in the early days of M-Net" of the "absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, be a disruptor and if necessary, cannibalise yourself".

"M-Net not only defined the rules of the game, but also changed those rules by anticipating future customer needs and wants. And as we look to the future of our organisation, we will continue to seek out new ways of leveraging technology, providing content that surprises, delights, informs and as Henry Ford once said 'makes the world a better place".

Yolisa Phahle explained how M-Net has transformed as South Africa and Africa grew and transformed over the past three decades.

"The black middle class has grown - and as a result the change in our content has been fundamental. M-Net still broadcasts two channels exclusively for Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, the majority of whom are white, because they're an important market".

"But alongside those channels we now have an increasing number aimed at the emerging black middle class, in South, West, East and Portuguese-speaking Africa."

Yolisa Phahle said only those platforms which carry the most relevant, resonant content will have a future.

"Today as broadcasters we have more competition than ever and in order to remain a key destination we have to treat our customers like gold".

She said new media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch "and a whole lot of others sources of entertainment and information "will eat our lunch if we allow complacency, hubris or plain old company politics to get in the way of providing a first-class service".

"Although M-Net is primarily an entertainment network, at MultiChoice we obviously place great emphasis on providing the best possible choice of of news channels, and DStv subscribers have access to 14 news networks, ranging from the BBC to Al Jazeera, Russia Today and China Central Television."

"To survive and grow, news media will have to cut through the noise, and improve services such as data journalism, personalised news services and engaging more effectively with their viewers, listeners and users."

"In fact all of us as broadcasters will need to engage more meaningfully to retain our relevance in the minds of people who have more choices than ever, more free content than ever, and are becoming more and more accustomed to receiving personalised content that talks to their specific requirements - often for free," said Yolisa Phahle.

"In the same way that we at M-Net have changed our entertainment line-up to suit our changing demographic, the news industry is having to rethink how it will use technology to keep everybody informed".

"People today consume more news and entertainment than ever before and I believe this trend will continue. The delivery mechanisms will change, but the producers of the most relevant and resonant content will not only survive but thrive".