The Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh (OON), believes Nigeria’s switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting will improve the nation’s economy.
Mr Momoh, who is also the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), said this on Friday at the launching of the digital switchover process in Kaduna State.
“The take-up of digital is likely to boost sales of television sets and digital video recorders — and digital TV could lead to positive upstream benefits in terms of increased time spent watching TV and it will be a boost to the nation’s economy,” he said.
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Kaduna, Plateau, and Kwara (where the switchover was also launched two days ago), are among the states selected by the government for the pilot phase of the process.
Addressing an audience in Kaduna, the Channels Media Group boss highlighted the benefits of the switchover to broadcasters and the broadcasting industry.
“We expect an increase in the capacity of broadcast transmission networks by improving spectrum efficiency; in other words, more data can be transmitted to units,” Momoh said.
“We expect the provision of better signal quality which increases robustness to interference in picture degradation, the support of HD services and interactivity, potential reduction in transmission network energy usage.”
According to the BON Chairman, digital switchover provides an opportunity for terrestrial broadcasters to address the challenges posed by paid television operators among others in a competitive environment.
On the part of consumers, he said the benefits arising from the switchover are widely recognised and enormous.
He added that they would take effect relatively quickly and would be driven primarily by increases in programming and quality.
“There are also broader benefits to society in the fact that the potential use of digital broadcasting will narrow the digital divide,” he said.
Mr Momoh, however, stressed the need for government to facilitate DTT take-up and minimise consumer destruction at analogue switch-off, saying it would provide time for regulators in the industry to address coverage and content related issues.
He also listed consumer awareness and affordability of setup boxes as some of the factors that could cause delays and recommended engagement of all stakeholders to tackle such issues.
He further asked the government to spearhead the digital switchover process and called for proper regulation on the part of the legislature.
“The digital switchover only works if it is government-led and there has to be a clear legislation regulation and overall coordination body in place.
“I am happy to note that this is happening but I must emphasise that government must, and I repeat, government must fund the DSO process; anything short of this will make us go round in circles,” said the award-winning station’s CEO.
The event was attended by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, and Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, among other stakeholders in the media industry.