Pacific media successfully adapts to digital

There is only one meeting like this in the region: the Oceanic Television Conference gathers the media from the Pacific during FIFO each year to learn and to get to know each other, as well as to share difficulties and innovative ideas. This 13th conference is optimistic – digital facilitates content sharing and relationships between different partners.

Professionals from Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu, as well as French Pacific Territories met once again at FIFO to discuss, get to know each other and foster and strengthen partnerships. What was obvious at this 13th Oceanic Television Conference is that the digital revolution is taking off and the Pacific is not far behind. There is, for example, Coconut TV, a platform showcasing content across the Pacific, presented by Lisa Taouma, general director and producer of Tikilounge. ‘We were transfixed! This platform enables communities to put content online, it’s very open’, says Gonzague de la Bourdonnaye, conference facilitator and communications and digital strategy manager for Nouvelle-Calédonie la 1ère. It has been available for five years, but it has really stepped up recently. This momentum is also visible in radio for with Wikiradio for example: any community, group of young people, association, etc. can create their own web radio with an application that is very easy to use. ‘It’s a way of easily incorporating content à la carte with a streaming option. It gives a voice to people we don’t hear much, and in addition enables regional languages to be valued,’ emphasises Gonzague de la Bourdonnaye. This tool has already been established in Guyana in particular and ‘it will soon be extended to the Pacific’, advises the conference facilitator. Another example of what digital can help to create in the region to enhance production and content sharing is the digital television channel NoA. Launched last September in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the channel is supported by the local channel France 3, but breaks the codes of traditional television by opening its doors to non-journalists and going where reporters don’t usually go. ‘It’s very unifying and dynamic. It offers a change of perspective while providing personnel seeking new challenges and terrain the possibility to retrain’, stipulates Gonzague de la Bourdonnaye. All these discussions and experiences will definitely be a mutual source of ideas. Thanks to the development of digital cables in the region it is becoming increasingly easy and less and less expensive to create platforms for content and thereby enhance the visibility of the Pacific.

Sharing know-how in training

After this exchange of experiences among participants there was a discussion about potential partnerships, in particular in the field of training. The Pacific Community (SPC) is clear that it will not be funding any more training. Generally speaking, public funding is decreasing, so the channels must find other solutions. Two avenues have been broached: the development of e-learning and sharing of skills. ‘We must rethink mutual aid, in particular in new professions. We have our own resources, we can therefore provide personnel and share our know-how’, explains the conference facilitator. He also announces a new WhatsApp discussion group that will enable conference attendees to be in contact throughout the year with the ability to discuss almost instantly. This will be useful, for example, in the forthcoming weeks for the Pacific Games that are taking place in July in Samoa. Television channels will be able to exchange information via this framework established for the broadcast of this regional competition. We can only hope that more broadcasters from the Pacific join the discussion and attend the 14th conference at FIFO next year.

FIFO – Elodie Largenton