Newsgathering in Myanmar: a personal view by Glen Felgate, a media professional who has spent the past 15 years setting up TV channels and digital newsrooms in Asia
Myanmar is a very fragmented media market with a variety of media channels catering to many different tastes and demands. There is everything from state broadcasters to up-and-coming commercially orientated online entities which means that there are many different means and equipment for producing news.
Having been in the country for almost three years I have seen mainstream broadcasters such as Skynet using professional Sony cameras, but I have also seen online news portals broadcasting and posting using DSLR cameras and mobile phones.
Until 2014 there was little in the way of internet. However, with the opening up of the mobile phone sector international operators entered the market and began offering data services alongside the already established MPT. The advent of these services created a huge overnight demand for online and social media news. Newspapers took their offerings online and were able to reach millions of mobile phone subscribers – and, of course, with the demand for online and social media news, came the demand for ‘mobile’ news clips and programs.
In addition to online broadcast, the government also began issuing digital TV licences to private companies. As of 2019 five commercial digital TV licences had been issued to media and other commercial entities. With these licences came a demand for some of the latest equipment.
So, to summarize, there are many media channels in Myanmar using a variety of different equipment that includes OB and SNG trucks and vans, LiveU backpacks, social media platforms for delivery, and professional broadcast cameras, prosumer cameras, DSLR cameras and mobile phones for coverage.
Facebook has exploded in Myanmar – as it has in other developing markets – which has created a new demand to go live to the social media platform. However, major news and sporting events are also covered and distributed using professional broadcast equipment.
One thing for sure is that there will be an ongoing demand for entertainment through terrestrial free-to-air TV, pay TV, OTT, VOD and online that will drive the demand for newer and more advanced equipment for the foreseeable future. However, how much is spent on that equipment and how much is bought, will invariably depend on the commercial success of those media organisations competing for attention in what is becoming an increasingly cluttered market.