ABMI Innovator Chats 2020


Media in the Time of Rapid Disruption & Transition

The Africa Business Media Innovators (ABMI) is a unique convening that brings together global media owners, c-suite executives, and senior thought leaders from business, government, philanthropy, and civil society. Together, participants share best practices, emerging trends and integrated company strategies that provide unique value to their audiences. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the planned in-person ABMI20 is postponed until next year. This year, the BMIA team will offer virtual ABMI20 Innovator Chats, to examine the immense and unprecedented disruption to the media landscape in Africa and globally due to COVID-19 and other factors. ABMI20 Innovator Chats will take place over two days, with chats and panels in a combination of pre-recorded and live programming.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – 11:00 GMT

11:00 – 11:05  Introduction – Erana Stennett, Director, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

11:05 – 11:10  Welcome – Justin Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media

11:10 – 11:30  Opening Address – Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB) – Welcome remarks and overview of factors facing media and society in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic: global economic slowdown; trade relations (African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA); reversal of gains in reducing poverty; stresses on health and medical infrastructure; fragility of supply chains and interruption to flow of goods and services; loss of travel and tourism.

11:30 – 11:40  Africa Economic Forecast – An assessment of the current global financial markets, with a focus on Africa’s stability and long-term growth, including the outlook for 2021 as many countries on the continent face indebtedness, civil conflict, lower commodity prices, and other factor.
Presenter: Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

11:40- 12:15  Ministerial Conversation – Africa ministers in conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on their economies, the global financial slowdown and the implications for trade, telecommunication and education, and their plans to position their countries for global digital and technological advances, and the knowledge economy.
Moderator: Justin Smith, CEO, Bloomberg News

Panelists: Honorable Pinky Sharon Kekana, Deputy Minister of Communications, South Africa, and Chair, African Union’s Pan African Women’s Business Association; and Honorable Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, Togo

12:15-12:25  Polling – Aguil Deng, Program Manager, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

12:25-12:35  Interval – curated by The Africa Center

12:35-13:15  The Digital Transformation of New Media and the Rise of Disinformation – In the age of 24 hours news cycles, instantaneous access to news and information on blogs, social media and streaming platforms, the public is confronted with an overcrowded information space. Citizens are vulnerable to disinformation campaigns that undermine the integrity of legitimate news outlets and potentially, democratic principles of government. Panelists will discuss the implications of fake content as the need for factual information becomes increasingly vital, particularly during an international public health crisis.
Moderator: Matt Winkler

Panelists: Uzodinma Iweala, Author & CEO, The Africa Center; Joel Simon, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists; Pamella Sittoni, Executive Editor, Nation Media Group PLC; Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

13:15-13:25  Q&A – Aguil Deng, Program Manager, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

13:25-13:35  Intervals

13:35 – 14:15  Accelerated Transition to Digitalization and Monetization of New Media Models –COVID-19 has upended industries, including a media sector already reeling from the loss of billions in ad revenues as companies transitioned to digitalization. And the pandemic accelerated the loss of the remaining ad dollars for the print media worldwide. This panel will discuss how media companies can survive and thrive in this environment, examine successful models and investment opportunities, and explore whether going it alone as a media company is a viable strategy.
Moderator: Scott Havens, Chief Growth Officer & Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Bloomberg Media.

Panelists: Tomiwa Aladekomo, CEO Big Cabal Media; Rich Antoniello, CEO, Complex Networks; Tshepo Mahloele, Chairman and Founder, Lebashe Investment Group; Zach Seward, co-founder and CEO, Quartz

14:15 – 14:25  Polling

14:25-14:35  Interval


Thursday, December 10, 2020 – 11:00 GMT

11:00-11:10  Summary and Highlights of Day 1

11:10-11:20  Economic Overview on the Impact of COVID-19 in Africa – An assessment of the financial impacts of COVID-19 on the formal and informal economies on the continent, including sectors such as health and medical infrastructure, agriculture, food security, and on small and medium-sized enterprises. With a vaccine on the horizon, can Africa reinvigorate its popular tourism industry?
Presenter: Boingotlo Gasealahwe, Africa Economist, Bloomberg News

11:20 – 12:00  CEO Media Roundtable – In the digital age, media company CEOs must confront serious challenges such as, the loss of trust due to disinformation, the need for a rapid transition to digitalization, low-performing and outmoded business models, lack of investment capital, changes in consumption patterns, and global competition. CEOs from leading international publications will discuss how they are successfully implementing strategies to address these disruptions at a time when the entire industry is being upended.
Moderator: Justin Smith, CEO Bloomberg Media

Panelists: Styli Charalambous, Publisher and CEO, Daily Maverick, South Africa; Dr. Edith Dankwa, CEO, Business and Financial Times Limited; Almar Latour, CEO, Dow Jones and Company

12:00-12:10  Q&A – Aguil Deng, Program Manager, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

12:10 – 12:20  Interval – curated by The Africa Center

12:20 – 13:00 Innovative Partnerships and Revenue Generation – At a time when most of the media are struggling, where are the new and successful partnerships? Where are media companies finding new sources of financing? Who are the innovators and trendsetters, and what are the key building blocks to make media products financially viable in today’s business climate? How are media companies reducing costs and creating new and different offerings to build their brands, increase audience and grow profits?
Moderator: Yinka Ibukun, West Africa Bureau Chief, Bloomberg News

Panelists: Heba Aly, Director, The New Humanitarian; Max Okeyo, Head of Strategy and Innovations, Nation Media Group PLC; Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, Premium Times Newspapers; Anya Schiffrin, Director of Technology, Media, and Communications Specialization, Columbia University

13:00 – 13:10  Q&A – Aguil Deng

13:10 – 13:50  Media Management, Data Privacy and Security – Managing a media house today requires a new set of skills and resources as employees migrate to remote working, and management faces the need to ensure that their staff, subscribers, clients and audience’s data is secure, and protected from sophisticated attempts to gain unauthorized access to highly personal and valuable third party content. This panel will examine new approaches to media management post COVID-19 to ensure companies are equipped to handle data privacy and security.
Moderator: Paula Fray, CEO, frayintermedia

Panelists: Samuel Attah-Mensah, Managing Director, Omni Media Ltd; Teresa Clarke, Chairman & CEO, Africa.com; Koketso Moeti, Executive Director, amandla.mobi

13:50-14:00  Q&A – Aguil Deng

14:00 – 14:10  Interval

14:10 – 14:50  The Future of Streaming Services, Live Events, and Ad Revenue – Before the pandemic, OTT was on the rise, competing with cable, broadcast and satellite televisions or platforms. However, due to COVID-19 traditional platforms and streaming services have suffered significant losses in advertising dollars. For example, according to ESPN, in the United States alone, it is estimated that revenue losses in sporting events will exceed $12 billion, $2 billion of that in television revenue. This panel will examine the short and long-term impact of COVID-19 on streaming and live events, including sporting events, lessons learned, and its implications for the future.
Moderator: Anthony Osae-Brown, Nigeria Bureau Chief, Bloomberg News

Panelists: Dan Finch, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer, Simplestream; Nigel Mugamu, Founder, 263 Chat; Scott Havens, Chief Growth Officer and Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Bloomberg Media.

14:50-15:00  Q&A – Aguil Deng

15:00-15:40  Beyond the Pandemic: African Media of the Future

15:00-15:10  Presentation and Q&A: How is Africa Covered in the Media? – Africa No Filter is a donor collaborative that supports the development of nuanced and contemporary stories that shift stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa. Through research, grant-making and advocacy, Africa No Filter aims to build the field of narrative change-makers by supporting storytellers, investing in media platforms, and driving disruption campaigns. Africa No Filter recently commissioned a research project to examine how African newsrooms cover other African countries in their outlets, these findings will be presented during this session.

Presenter: Moky Makura, Executive Director, Africa No Filter

15:10-15:40  Panel and Q&A: African Media of the Future: Our Stories Our Voices – Due to revenue losses and the pandemic, media organizations are shrinking at a time when accountability and access to information are critical. Community and independent media is often the only sources of credible, fact-checked, timely information and news for rural and remote communities. It also serves as an advocate for marginalized communities. How has the sector managed during the pandemic, and what is its future? How do we expand the field of narrative change-makers in Africa? What are viable investment models?
Moderator: Dugan Fraser, Director, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, University of Witwatersrand

Panelists: Paul McNally, co-founder, Volume Africa; Nanjala Nyabola, Author and Host/Executive Producer, Things Fall Apart Podcast Series; Bilal Randeree, Program Director for Africa and MENA, Media Development Investment Fund

15:40-15:50  Polling – Aguil Deng, Program Manager, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

15:50-16:00  Closing Remarks – Justin Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media and Erana Stennett, Director, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa

16:00  Networking & Entertainment – Music Provided by Eli Fola

For more information on ABMI20 Innovator Chats, please contact bmia@bloomberg.com

Underwritten by

Africa Business Media Innovators (ABMI) 2019

“We found it hugely productive and valuable, having made important connections and engaged in a number of really useful and informative sessions. Overall it was a great experience, and we are appreciative of the attention and care that went into it, and making it valuable for all of us who attended.”
–Tomiwa Aladekom, CEO Big Cabal Media

“This had been a fantastic event and I feel so special and honored to have been invited and to have been on a panel! I think BMIA has and are continuing to convene a special event where it isn’t too big or too small, but with enough new and fascinating people to allow for new connections and learning.”
–William Bird, Executive Director, Media Monitoring Africa

“It is about people, we invest in businesses but ultimately we invest behind management teams.”
–Louise Stewart, Mergers and Acquisitions Executive, Naspers Limited (What Investors Want)

“The way we approach journalism and the business at the New York Times has fundamentally shifted and in the past three years it has accelerated to emphasize on visual journalism and enterprise, that is, deeply reported investigations.”
–James Bennett, Editorial Page Editor, The New York Times (What’s Next in News)

“When you think about subscriber growth, it is not just about the acquisition of subscribers, but also retention; retention comes down to the quality of your content. Are people going to come back and pay to access what you have to offer? The answer is to make content that is sticky enough.”
–Funa Maduka, Former Director of International Original Film Acquisitions, Netflix (The Art of Immersion)

“…Overall though, this is easily one of the best media conferences/events. Precisely because you have the mix and number and length to spot on. Well done!”
–Survey respondent