Aboubacry Ba, General Executive Director of CIS Medias “Copying models is not the best thing to do in Africa”

Africa FootGoal : Hello M. Aboubacry Ba, we would like to hear your opinion on the relevance of this topic on football and commercial rights …

Aboubacry Ba : This is a hot topic so thanks for the question. It’s an important theme. You’ve heard of it because ultimately it all goes and all comes back to these affairs of rights and the interpretation of rights. I was talking during the panel about my experience, I went a little bit to the other side, but I said to myself somewhat that we lost a lot of time, maybe even us journalists, by not taking an immediate interest in these questions of rights. Professor Sakho (panelist on the same topic) spoke during the panel about a news item that has become almost a chestnut tree for us. Every time when there is a competition it’s the same questions, who should sell, it’s expensive, who should buy, but I think there are prerequisites that have been forgotten in Africa today. I’m not a panelist but I might still like to raise this issue now as a media manager, which is the sale and distribution of TV rights in Africa.

Africa FootGoal : Is there a right model for Africa?

Aboubacry Ba : I think we are copying models that are not suitable for Africa. Take the example of CAF competition rights. It will perhaps seem a little ridiculous for Riad (panelist on the same topic), the sums which I will give. Today we ask an African television, African national television, to pay 1,700,000 euros for the CAN. But what we forget to say is that it’s not just the CAN that they buy, they buy all the CAF competitions. Over two years, that represents a total of 268 games. There is not a single public television in Africa that can consume 268 games. This is not possible with all the imperatives, the television news, the activities of the Head of State, etc. I had applauded with both hands the arrival of the UAR, because Professor Sakho speaks about it, but I think that the weakness today of the UAR and the marketing policy of the UAR, is to have privileged the public televisions. Today it is national televisions. They cannot consume these rights. What I had, and what I’m trying to make understand to the UAR but more mainly to CAF, which has the right to market its own matches, is to try to see today that they need 1,700,000 per country. Instead of saying that we need 1,700,000 per broadcaster, they can say that we need 1,700,000 per country. So that today, if national television, and this is legitimate, can consume the rights of the matches linked to the national team, they will pay a sum, say 800,000 euros, and there is a series of private televisions which can pay 100,000, others pay 200,000, the third another sum adding up to 1,700,000. Which leads to one, all CAF competitions will be seen in that country, and secondly, the national televisions which do not have this money will not bleed themselves dry and consequently the private televisions will also have access to this rights market. So somewhere there is a reflection today to be done. The old model where Africa was, each country with only one television channel, it could work at that time, but the very rapid evolution has meant that today we have to break up these rights in order to be able to take into account precisely what you spoke about earlier, the streaming aspect, broadcasting on social networks. Broadcasting on mobile platforms can only be dealt with fairly if we manage to squeeze out these rights. We centralized everything, we entrust it to a single television which spends a lot of money and which cannot consume all these rights. So I think that there are avenues for reflection today that we should really ask by trying to adapt and that comes down to what the Professor was saying during the panel and what all the speakers were saying, there is a question of knowledge, there is a question of training to be really done so that the reflection can be beneficial to everyone.

Africa FootGoal : Thank you Aboubacry.