Lack Of Funds Is Delaying Digital Switch Over – NBC

The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr Modibo Kawu has said that lack of funds is responsible for the delay in the switchover to digital broadcasting.

Mr Kawu explained that broadcasting is expensive and requires a lot of funds and the lack of it has been responsible for the slow pace of action.

He made this known during the inspection of the digital station in Kwara State in the company of the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed.

According to him, the government is trying to prioritize its funding especially because Nigeria just recently recovered from a recession.

“We are going to be launching in phases, that is the decision we took because a digital switchover in a very huge country like this requires a lot of funds and when Nigeria is just moving out of recession.

“The country has to take a decision between putting money in infrastructural development, hospitals and what not and also having to put a huge amount of money into digital switchover. I am sure if the Nigerian government says we are putting all the money into digital switchover, you will be the very first person to complain so the government has to prioritize its funding.

“The national digital switchover will come in phases,” he added.

This comes less than a week after the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria Mr John Momoh warned that if the Federal Government does not review the digital switchover process, the deadline for the switchover will not be met.

He said this at the maiden edition of the MTN F.I.R.E Series where he was the inaugural keynote speaker.

Also speaking during the 68th General Assembly of the BON in Abuja, Mr Momoh had accused the regulator of being silent on many critical issues affecting its members.

According to him, Chief among the issues was “the compensation that should accrue to broadcast organisations who will be vacating frequencies in accordance with the White Paper on DSO.”

He, however, noted that the issues have been raised to the office of the Minister of Information and Culture and expressed hope that before the end of the year 2017, some of them would have been favourably resolved.

Digital Switch Over: BON Chairman Seeks Road Map For Implementation

The Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) Mr John Momoh, has said that the organisation is yet to have a clear road map for the implementation of the Digital Switch Over in Nigeria.

He made this known at the 68th General Assembly of the BON in Abuja on Monday, while stating the need for its immediate implementation.

Mr Momoh noted that although there has been massive growth in the industry, broadcasting is under threats from digital predators, hence the need to re-strategise.

“To say broadcasting has changed since the establishment of BON three decades ago, would be grossly understating the dynamic nature of our industry. The correct statement would be that broadcasting has changed radically.

“The keyword today is Disruption – a complete disturbance, disordering, disarrangement, and disarranging of the way we do our business. Suddenly, new markets are created, with new set of values that now threaten existing markets. In a nutshell, broadcasting is under threat from Digital Predators like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and other “Over The Top” players.”

He explained that asides dealing with such disruptive innovations, the industry has to contend with numerous problems which act as a clog in its wheels.

The BON boss expressed disatisfaction over what he described as a huge disparity in licence fees between public and private licencees. He said private companies are compelled to pay a 1.5% levy on gross income even when they make a loss.

READ ALSO: We Must Create More Universally Acceptable Content – BON Chairman

On the issue of the Digital Switch Over, he said: “We are yet to have a road map to the implementation of the Digital Switch Over in Nigeria.

“The regulator is silent on many critical issues affecting our members; chiefly among which are, the compensation that should accrue to broadcast organisations who will be vacating frequencies in accordance with the White Paper on DSO.

“The fee to be paid to Signal Distributors after the switch over – And what would or should happen to Pay-TV services currently operating on the DTT platform,” he questioned.

“As if these problems aren’t inhibiting growth enough, broadcasters are having to contend with dwindling advertising revenue in the face of increasing operating expenses, mounting an unresolved industry debt, and a mandatory reduction of transmitting power, while still paying the same licence fee for the original power,” he stated further.

Mr Momoh noted that the issues have, however, been discussed with the NBC as well as the office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

“We’ve discussed these challenges with the National Broadcasting Commission and in fact have now escalated them to the office of the honourable Minister of Information and Culture.

“It is my fervent hope that before the end of the year 2017, some, if not most of these issues would have been favourably resolved,” he said.

NBC launches Digital Broadcasting In Kaduna

The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has launched the Kaduna phase of the Digital Switch Over (DSO), signalling the commencement of the full roll-out of digital broadcasting across the state capital and environs.

Speaking at the DSO launch in Kaduna, the Director General of NBC, Suleiman Kawu who described the launch as revolutionary in the Nigerian broadcasting ecosystem, said 30 free channels would be made available for residents upon the switch over.

He added that Set-Top Boxes (decoders) will soon be provided for the commencement.

Before now, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had given Nigeria a deadline of June 2017 to switch from analogue to digital across the country.

But the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has at last edged the country into the league of the digital world.

The journey started on April 30, 2016 in Jos, the Plateau State capital, when the Minister of Information and Culture launched the pilot phase of the Federal Government’s digital transmission project that kick started the digitization process in the country.

Kawu says although the DSO will not take place in one fell swoop across the country, the Federal Government remains resolute in its commitment to meeting the 2017 deadline for the DSO.

With the successfully implementation, there are renewed hopes for content providers to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.

Digital Switch-Over: BON Chairman Initiates Stakeholders’ Meeting

BON Chairman Meets With Information MinisterAhead of the June 2017 deadline for digital switch-over, the federal government is hoping to facilitate a meeting of players in the broadcast industry to resolve issues affecting digitization in the country.

During a meeting with the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed in Abuja, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Mr John Momoh, suggested that the meeting be held to aggregate the challenges affecting digitization and proffer solutions to them.

He told Channels TV that the digital switch-over was on course but there were gray areas that need to be resolved.

He said: “He (Minister) has an ear to the ground and knows what he is doing as regards the digital switch-over and he welcomed the idea of a stakeholders’ meeting which I put forward.

“The stakeholders’ meeting will be such that will get (together) people like the fiber companies, the broadcasters, the platform carriers, signal distributor, content aggregators and producers as well as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) who should actually be one of the stakeholders since they monitor the kind of setup boxes that would be manufactured in the country.

“We will all come to the table and address the issues confronting the DSO.”

The Minister admitted that the meeting was necessary and should be held regularly until the target date.

He hoped that the meeting would be called soon as it would “not only discuss issues that are strategic and important to the process”.

“We are talking about channels owners, setup box manufacturers, the distributors, the aggregators; everybody.

“We need to meet regularly so that as we move forward, we would ensure nobody is left behind,” the Minister said.

Abuja Joins The Digital Switch Over Train

Abuja, Digital Switch Over Nigeria’s journey to full transition from analogue to digital broadcasting appears to be gaining momentum as Abuja, the nation’s capital city, joins the moving train.

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory, now have access to 30 free-to-air channels, with nearly 70 per cent local content on their television sets, following the Digital Switch Over that took place on Thursday.

According to the federal government, six more states from each of the nation’s geo-political zones will be switched over in the coming months.

The President, represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said the Federal Government was also determined to ensure a seamless roll-out of the DSO in all the states of the federation because of the multiplier effect of the benefits.

“Technology is transforming our lives and livelihoods daily, in new and more dramatic ways. Perhaps more important are the doors opened by digital transition”.

According to him, the the successful launch of the pilot scheme in Jos in April, has “clearly demonstrated the gains of Digital Switch Over.

“Let me restate for emphasis that this government is irreversibly committed to meeting the June 2017 deadline for the switch over in the West African sub-region and also to the roll-out of the DSO in all the states of the federation.

With this move, the Federal Government has made good on its initial plans to launch digital broadcasting in December.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, had earlier stated that the process of digitization would also provide over a million jobs for Nigerian youths within the next two years.

He further stated that digitization of broadcasting offers Nigeria a lot of opportunities with multi-faceted and very far-reaching benefits especially in the areas of economics, politics, education, entertainment, science and technology.

 

Former Gov. Osoba Tasks Media Practitioners To Be Objective

Former Gov. Osoba Tasks Media Practitioners To Be ObjectiveA former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, has tasked media practitioners in the country to be objective and always consider the national interest in their reportage.

He gave the advice in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital at the 2016 World Television Day celebration, organised by the Broadcast Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN).

The former governor said journalists, whether in the broadcast or the print media must hold the truth, objectivity and national interest as hallmarks of their reportage, as the watchdogs of the society.

He said, “Whatever you are doing as a journalist, you must allow objectivity, truth and national interest to always prevail as the watchdogs of the country.”

Osoba, who was represented by a former member of House of Representatives, Adekunle Adeyemi, at the event said that as a journalist himself, he would continue to associate with good causes by media practitioners.

The guest speaker at the event, the Head TVC News Nigeria, Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, who considered television as a powerful medium, lamented that news reportage in many privately-owned stations in the country has been commercialized, in order for the owners to make profit.

Kolade-Otitoju who spoke on “Media Commercialization and Objectivity in Television News and Programmes in Nigeria” insisted that overwhelming influence of such media proprietors on news managers had made it difficult for them to be in tune with the code of ethics of the National Broadcasting Commission.

He said: “It is quite painful that in many privately-owned television houses, news is a commercialised product, because the owners of the television stations want to make profit.

“They fail to follow the rule of the National Broadcasting Commission on the requirement that a differentiation be made between news and commercials.

“Television stations now present those commercials as news.”

Kolade-Otitoju also noted that it was due to the crave for survival that has made many television stations to engage in “strategic mutual partnerships” with state governments, which he said, involved only reportage of positive stories about them.

He, however, advised the media practitioners not to lose focus on their responsibility to the society, as watchdogs.

The Coordinator, Mass Communication Department, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Dr. Yemi Obalanlege, who spoke on the theme: “Digital Switch Over and The Future of Television News in Nigeria,” urged Nigeria to ensure it meets the digital switch over deadline in broadcasting to avoid being a dumping ground for other foreign countries.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr.  Dayo Adeneye, also appealed to the media to always put professionalism and patriotism into consideration in their reportage.

The State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, who considered the media as strategic partners in nation building, urged practitioners to always put the peace and tranquility of the country into consideration in their reportage.

The President of BJAN, Kazeem Olowe, assured that the broadcast journalists would continue to be people’s advocate and promoter of truth, fairness, justice and equality.

He said, “We will continue to write credible reports, serve as watchdogs in the society and remain committed to promotion of professional standard.”

FG Targets 70% Local Content For Digital Switch Over

lai mohammed, Digital Switch Over The Federal Government has set a target to generate 70% local broadcast content as Nigeria prepares for the Digital Switch Over in June, 2017.

It has also unveiled plans to create more jobs and earn one billion Dollars in annual revenue from the broadcast industry.

These were some of the projections made by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, while speaking at the 2016 edition of the AFRICAST in Abuja.

He further stated that digitization of broadcasting offers Nigeria a lot of opportunities with multi-faceted and very far-reaching benefits especially in the areas of economics, politics, education, entertainment, science and technology.

Stating other benefits, the minister added that digitization will increase the number of the current 450 TV stations in Nigeria.

The three-day conference and exhibition for players in the broadcasting industry, was organised by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

FG Meets UK Team Over Switch To Digital Broadcasting

Lai Mohammed, Broadcast DigitisationAs Nigeria moves forward in the switch over from analog to digital transmission, the Federal Government says it is learning from the experiences of the United Kingdom.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, said this after meeting a team from the United Kingdom on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Minister explained that the essence of the meeting was for Nigeria to be enlightened on the basics of a successful digital switch over.

He added that following the successful take-off of the pilot scheme in Jos in central Nigeria, there would be a full roll over in the entire Plateau State and the Federal Capital Territory.

Digital switchoverThe National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had failed to keep to its promise that the June 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for the digital switch over was sacrosanct.

Former Director-General of the NBC, Mr Emeka Mba, had extended the switch over by 18 months, explaining that three years into the process of digitisation with zero allocation and myriads of challenges before the NBC such as aggregate content development, distribution and production and availability of set top boxes, the June 17 deadline was uncertain.

However, the pilot phase of the switch over had Kicked off in the Plateau State capital, signalling the beginning of the process which would spread across states.

Mr Mohammed noted observed that the broadcasting industry at the local, state and national levels was being revolutionised to provide viewers better visuals and sound quality.

Pilot Phase Of Broadcast Digitisation Commences In Jos

broadcast DigitisationThe pilot phase of the switch over from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria has commenced with the switch on in Jos, signalling the beginning of the process which would spread across states.

Performing the switch on ceremony on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, observed that the broadcasting industry at the local, state and national levels was being revolutionised to provide viewers better visuals and sound quality.

He said it would also promote varieties of television stations channels across the country without spending much.

“The journey that started in 2006 when International Telecommunications union Council adopted revolution 1185 on transition from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting is finally nearing its destination,” the Minister told the gathering.

Biggest Free Television Market

He enumerated the benefits of going digital and the functionality of the set top boxes which the government had subsidised.

“With the switch over we are revolutionising the broadcast landscape architecture and the local, state and national economy.

“More importantly e are democratising the right to know, the right to knowledge and the right to be informed,” the Minister stated.

The Chairman of Set Top Boxes Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, explained how the box should be used for maximum performance.

“In other regions of the world, such as the Caribbean or south-east Asia, some people in those regions will experience digital broadcasting after most Nigerians.

“In a way, Nigeria is significantly ahead when compared with many other countries,” he said.

A representative of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, Shola Taylor, also emphasised the benefits of the switch over to Nigeria, emphasising that it would add greatly to good governance with more channels made available to Nigerians to watch.

The ceremony was held at the State Government House, with Mr Mohammed leading the digital team in switching on the pilot phase.

Previous attempts of switching over from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria had failed.

At the event in the capital of Plateau State were technical crew, management staff of the broadcast industry in Nigeria, satellite equipment dealers and government functionaries.

With the pilot phase of the switch over to digital terrestrial broadcasting in Nigeria taking off eventually, the industry is expected to open up more job opportunities and market for set top boxes manufacturers, with the government targeting 30 million viewers across the country, which will make Nigeria the biggest free television market in the world.

FG Sets April 30 To Commence Digital Switch Over

Broadcast-Digital-Switch-OverThe Federal Government has announced plans to commence the ‘pilot phase’ of the digital switch over by April 30.

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Lai Mohammed, gave the date on Wednesday at a meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“As you all know, we have a deadline of June 2017 which is just a little more than a year to achieve the digital switch over.” he said.

The Minister explained that the initiative would help perfect the process of the digital switch over after three previous attempts.

He hinted that the ‘pilot phase’ has been scheduled for Plateau State, which would take place at the end of April while giving assurance that the set date would not be missed based on the efforts made so far.

Mr Mohammed added that the government would not only carry the broadcast firms along but would also provide them with updates on the process.

He admitted that the government was aware of the concerns that had been raised by some broadcast firms over the process, assuring them that they would be addressed in due course.