Swazi Television has become the seventh broadcaster to sign up with ABN, the second largest of two advertising-supported, pan-African television networks.

ABN currently has deals with state-owned broadcasters in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Zambia, treating viewers in those countries to daily hour-long bursts of such televisual delights as the Bill Cosby-hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things.

The network, still in its first year of operation, plans to reach eighteen countries across the continent by the end of 2002. It trails TVAfrica, which boasts up to 19 hours of daily broadcasting in thirty countries.

Plans for ABN’s expansion include production of a pan-African soap opera, which could be sold to audiences of African extraction in the UK (where ABN is registered), the US and the West Indies.

Chief executive Savannah Maziva says ABN’s audience is around 100 million viewers, though this is a rough estimate due to the lack of detailed research, something the network wants to remedy with the help of the Pan-African Media Research Organisation. “Only 22% of African ad expenditure goes into TV because of the poor level of research,” said Maziva. “We want to move that close to the world average of 40%.”

News source: AdAge Global