Operators Decry Misinformation in Broadcast Digitisation Process


Ndubuisi Francis and Udora Orizu in Abuja
Cable Channels Nigeria Ltd (CCNL), an amalgam of cable operators in Nigeria has lamented what it described as frivolous and unfair misinformation in some quarters designed to discredit its contributions in the transition to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.

CCNL is a conglomerate of several cable operators in Nigeria, and the official Nigerian licensed content aggregator for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Digital Satellite (DSAT) free-to-view platforms with the responsibilities to manage, market and promote to the final consumer as a part of the Nigerian National Digital Switchover (DSO) strategy.

Speaking in Abuja at an interactive session weekend, the Chairman of CCNL, Mr. Kunle Afolabi, said it had become necessary to correct the erroneous impressions and undeserved attacks being meted out on the company, and to further enlighten the public on the role played by CCNL at various levels of the digitisation process in the country.

He stated that since its incorporation in 2009, CCN had transited to digital broadcasting, a situation which made them the preferred choice as content aggregator (to buy rights for broadcast in Nigeria) when digital broadcasting was launched in Jos and Abuja respectively.

According to him, “When we came in, we discovered that digitisation is very alien to our society and thus we’ve been helping out in the entire digital ecosystem switch over to educate Nigerians about the whole idea. Our responsibilities centres around platform management, content management, consumer audience measurement, signal contribution, promotion and branding among others.

“At the commencement of DSO (Digital Switch Over), we designed and developed the Free TV set boxes and distributed them, we also provided strategic consultation services to NBC, we interfaced with all the stakeholders ranging from channel owners and signal distributors, we asked them for standard for the format of sending their signals and we helped with distribution g the set boxes to users.

“We undertook training sessions to ensure that installers are trained on the complete installation of Free TV decoders, produced and distributed retail training packs with essential information for DSO and organised ‘town storming’ activities to educate end users the digitalisation process.”

However, the company he noted, ran into troubled waters when some of the players in the industry, owing to selfish and pecuniary interests began to believe that they could do more than they were assigned to do.

He added that such a development had the effect of creating monopoly of the whole process.
He said: “National broadcasting as a regulator granted all stakeholders licence and someone is coming out to say another person is not supposed to be there. I don’t know why some people find it difficult to understand that the role CCNL is playing is to ensure the sustainability of DSO.”
According to him, CCNL was the anchor of the whole process and had contributed immensely to the digitalisation echo system

“There is a lot of misinformation by people who doesn’t even know anything about the broadcast industry and it is only right that members of the public are not misled.”
“People coming out with the idea that CCNL was created by the National Broadcasting Commission as a conduit for syphoning government money, that CCNL collects charges on behalf of signal distributors and not recognised by the white paper on digitisation and that it should be expunged,” he stated.
He assured that CCNL was ready to continue to contribute in ensuring the success of the DSO drive.