Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has expressed move to make affordable to the public television decoders at a retail price of N1,500 under the proposed transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The Minister Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the announcement yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 11th international conference for African Broadcasters (Africast 2016) in Abuja, adding government has provided about 200,000 free decoders for the pilot scheme to encourage inclusiveness.
The conference which ends on Thursday with exhibitors from Japan, Israel, UK, Sweden, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Italy, USA and around Africa, will explore relevant issues in the broadcast industry under theme: ‘Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting: Financing Quality Content.’
Nigeria will transit to Digital Switch Over by December while the process of migration from analogue broadcasting for the entire country would be finalised by June 2017.
Mohammed said government’s perception of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is one where contents will be provided on Free to Air platforms instead of mandating pay per view subscriptions from the public before television programmes including news, business, sports, documentaries, fashion show, entertainment and other contents can be assessed.
The minister said viewers can access many free to air contents in 30 channels once they acquire the cheap decoders.
He added further that with digitalisation, government revenue will be raised by over $1billion in a year through the television industry while the number of TV stations in Nigeria which currently stands at 450 will increase.
Mohammed also noted that the transition would offer Nollywood a safe and profitable distribution channel direct to 24 million homes through the Set-Top Boxes with no piracy risk in addition to $250million per annum of extra income for the local movie industry.
He noted that apart from value added services that comes with the digital migration many young Nigerians who form the bulk of the demographics in the broadcast industry and other ancillary industries will be offered uncountable job opportunities.
“The digitization of the technology of broadcasting is rapidly changing broadcasting and offering fresh opportunities for broadcasters to embrace platforms for diverse content and media tools with continuous access to content throughout their business. The reality though is that the motivation apparently is that as broadcasters engage new platforms, the market opportunities are increasing, providing new revenue streams,’’ Mohammed said.
The Director General National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, said the exhibition of services and latest broadcast equipment and software, would afford the participants on first time visit to Nigeria, a chance to positively experience the country and change the stereotypes they haboured about the country.
Kawu also said Nigeria intends to leverage on Africast by becoming the hub for Africa in content production and impacting on development of the continent and the world.