Kenya Film commission turns to lotteries to raise cash
Posted Tuesday, July 10 2012 at 15:54
State-owned Kenya Film Commission is turning to lotteries to raise cash to produce local movies as inadequate government funding depresses homemade cinemas.
The commission says that it has already applied for a lottery license from the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) to enable it to start raising funds for a revolving kitty.
The government’s allocation to the commission in the year 2010/2011 stood at Sh102 895 million, with almost 84 per cent of the money going into salaries, leaving the balance for development of local films.
The commission says the amount is not enough to support a revolving fund.
Through the lottery, the commission intends to raise Sh500 million annually, which it would then loan to local film and television producers at rates lower than what financial institutions offer so as to boost the development of local programmes.
Peter Mutie, the chief executive officer, said the commission is yet to get an approval from the BCLB but intends to partner with several media houses and telecommunication firms once it gets the license to run the lottery.
“Kenya has lots of talent that can generate good television programmes. However the biggest challenge is how to raise the production costs,” Mr Mutie says.
“We (Kenya film) have applied for a lottery license that will enable us set a revolving fund since the funding we get from the Treasury is not enough to meet such initiatives.”
Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) regulations require television stations to allocate 40 per cent of their time to local programmes.
However, the high cost of production has forced television stations to source movies from Nigeria or Mexico, stifling the local creative industry.
To produce one episode of a local programme costs between Sh300, 000 and Sh1 million compared to the cost of airing one episode of a foreign programme, which ranges between Sh24, 000 and Sh80,000.
The demand for local programmes is expected to increase as the country switches to the digital broadcasting television.
With the switch to digital broadcast, one analogue frequency will be able to give 12 extra channels meaning more pipes for broadcast and demand for programmes to fill them.
The demand is expected to create employment through areas such as film creation, television adverts, movies and video on demand among others.
Kenya was expected to migrate all broadcasting frequencies from analogue to digital by 2012, ahead of the global deadline of 2015 but this deadline has now been revised due to various policy changes that have slowed the process such as the change of technology for the set-top boxes.