Angola launches TV Zimbo

2008-12-15 09:49

Luanda - Angola launched its first private television channel on Sunday, marking an end to the state stranglehold on broadcast media in the southwestern African nation.

TV Zimbo will go on air for several hours a day during a three-month test phase before it becomes fully operational ahead of presidential elections in 2009, and the Angolan-hosted African Cup of Nations soccer championship in 2010.

Owned by local group Medianova, TV Zimbo will compete for viewers and a share of the growing advertising market in the oil-rich nation against state-owned channels TPA1 and TPA2.

"The advertising market is still very small in comparison to other markets, but we expect it to grow substantially in the next year or so," Jose Silva Pedro, head of TV Zimbo, told Reuters, referring to the elections and soccer championship.

"TV Zimbo will help develop the media sector as a whole."

Fast-growing economy

Angola, which rivals Nigeria as sub-Saharan Africa's biggest oil producer, emerged from a 27-year civil war in 2002 as one of the world's fastest growing economies. It is expected to open a stock market in Luanda next year.

The country has attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment to rebuild roads, bridges and ailing communications after the war.

The government still holds considerable influence over the media, controlling TPA1 and TPA2, the only national radio station and sole daily newspaper, Jornal de Angola.

However, Medianova, which linked up with Portugal's leading television channel TVI for the launch of TV Zimbo, recently launched a weekly newspaper, O Pais, and a radio station, Radio Mais.

Other groups are also now investing in the sector. Grupo Espirito Santo, which owns Portugal's second-largest listed bank, Banco Espirito Santo, launched a weekly newspaper Novo Jornal at the beginning of 2008.

Local company Score Media is expected to launch a newspaper and a radio station in coming months.