Due to the explosion in digital technologies and the resultant need for those in broadcast to understand the entire broadcast value chain, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking has created a Broadcast Management Division.

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Dr Melanie Chait
With the division set to offer courses from February 2010, Dr. Melanie Chait, the school�s director, said: �It has become increasingly necessary for managers in the broadcast environment to understand the entire broadcast value chain and how to co-ordinate and manage multiple-channels in an ever growing and changing competitive media landscape.�

Dr Chait, who was previously an SABC board member, was instrumental in establishing a one year honours course in Broadcast Management at Wits University in 2001, which she described as �industry related and very popular.�

When she left Wits, the course stopped and people continued to approach her about running this again.

Describing the new unit, she said: �I believe it is unique � I don�t know of any other comprehensive courses.  There is a 5 day course held at Rhodes University locally and a two week course in Holland.  If anyone else knows of anything, I would love to know.�

The training addresses the alignment of the broadcaster�s value chain, from strategy to the content commissioned, acquired, scheduled, audiences, revenue and how to get it on air in an all inclusive manner. 

�It incorporates the whole array of what is needed to be an effective and efficient channel manager, be it IPTV, terrestrial or digital broadcasting,� she said. �The unit�s individual components are broken down into advanced level for people already working in broadcasting, and introductory and intermediate for succession planning and for those wanting to become involved in broadcast management.�

Courses on offer include General Management, Radio Management, Broadcast Engineering and Final Content Control. Also covered are an Introduction to the Broadcast Value Chain, Broadcasting in the current Technological climate, Formulating Broadcast Strategy, Content Strategy and Management, Commissioning, Acquisitions, Scheduling, Marketing and PR, as well as Advertising Sales & Sponsorships.

Entry requirements for advanced level courses recognise prior learning of at least 3 years working for a broadcaster.

For introductory level, one requires a minimum undergraduate degree and /or TV production experience, with proof of passion and a general understanding of broadcasting/content/programming among others.   For operational training, production experience is needed while for intermediate level, some form of broadcast internship.

Dr. Chait is confident that her school�s graduates will be able to contribute to transforming broadcasting both in South Africa and on the continent.  She envisages the graduates, through being creative with problem solving skills, will contribute a new way of being effective, efficient and economical in raising the bar within the broadcast sector.