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Quality TV for Angolans near and far

Article - September 14, 2012
TPA produces and broadcasts relevant programming for Angolans both at home and living abroad
State-owned Angola Public Television, or TPA using its initials in Portuguese, has been broadcasting programming around the country for decades. In recent years the company has undergone a transformation, adding a second channel in 2000 and more recently receiving government investment to help it reach more Angolans and with more and better news and entertainment.

“In many parts of our country, television is the access window for information, to knowledge and to contact with other parts of the world,” explains Antonio Henriques da Silva, TPA’s CEO. “Therefore, when this window of access is made with quality, and when it supplies what people recognize today as a priority, it can only bring benefits.”

“television is the access window for information, to knowledge and to contact with other parts of the world.”

Antonio Henriques da Silva,

The broadcaster was founded in 1973 as Radiotelevisao Portuguesa de Angola in Luanda by the then-colonial government. When Angola gained its independence from Portugal in 1975, the new government wasted no time in giving the company its current name. At first the station was only broadcast in Luanda, and it wasn’t until 1979 that other cities began receiving TPA’s signal. By 1992 the entire country could watch the company’s programs.

In recent years the government decided to make major investments to improve TPA, because the station was no longer the only source of information and entertainment for Angolans. Through the Internet and satellite television, Angolans were already being exposed to a much broader range of high-quality programming.

“The TPA, as the main portrait of the day-to-day life of Angolans, could not provide a product in terms of quality close to what Angolans were seeing on [foreign Portuguese-language networks such as] Globo or RTP,” Mr. da Silva said. “This imposed a new situation that forced TPA to mobilize quickly in order to overcome some insufficiencies that we had identified as being harmful to the positioning that we wanted to give to TPA.”

One area that is receiving much investment is TPA’s new production center, located just outside of Luanda. The center is creating domestic programming, including news and entertainment, and is intended to cooperate in joint productions with producers in other countries, especially those where Portuguese is spoken as a native language.

The center makes programming for both TPA 1 and TPA 2, and also for TPA International, the station that was set up in 2003 and that in 2008 began satellite broadcasts to Europe. Now the international station has set a much broader and more ambitious goal of reaching Angolans all around the world, though without losing sight of its principal audience, says Mr. da Silva.

“We are directing our programming first to the Angolan Diaspora in countries of Europe, South Africa, Latin America and Brazil, and then in function of the interests that may exist in some paid TV networks,” he says. “But our focus remains on the Angolan community abroad that is mainly concentrated in Europe and it’s for them that we already have our platform available.”

A destination for future investment will be the development of a digital broadcast network. In keeping with TPA’s mission of providing a useful and educational service to Angolans, one of the goals will be to provide greater interactivity on that network, in order to help provide a public service to remote areas of the country that don’t have schools.