NBC Code: Exclusivity Ban, Product of Ignorance, Says Communication Expert

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A United Kingdom-based communication consultant, Dr. Opeyemi Erinfolami, has described the provision on exclusivity in the new National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code as a product of ignorance.

The code produced by the NBC was launched in Lagos last week by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Erinfolami, who made his views known in a series of tweets, said what the NBC has done is akin to plucking a regulatory provision from the air

Speaking on the provisions of the code affecting the broadcast of foreign football matches, which mandate rights holder to sub-licence to other broadcasters, the communication expert explained that those who drafted the NBC code have shown unfamiliarity with how the broadcast rights to English Premier League (EPL) are bought and sold.

“Those provisions are mainly targeted at EPL broadcast rights because the league is popular in Nigeria, and they are based on poor understanding of the rights acquisition process. The NBC cannot control rights it didn’t pay for. It can only determine how what it paid for is used, not what others have,” he said.

Erinfolami further explained that rights to the games of the EPL are not necessarily sold as a whole to broadcasters. The rights, he said, are usually sold in packages, with those sold to satellite broadcasters different from those sold to broadcasters on other platforms.

In what was a surprise, Erinfolami claimed that fans of the EPL in Nigeria have access to many more games than fans in the United Kingdom.

“In the UK, games aren’t broadcast live between 2p.m. and 6p.m., as this will be a disincentive for fans to the stadiums to watch matches. If that was not the case, the stadiums would be empty and such will rob the clubs of revenue gate receipts,” he explained.

The expert described NBC’s claim that it introduced exclusivity provisions to counter monopoly, as a pretext to fight certain broadcasters.

“I visit Nigeria regularly and I’m familiar with the local broadcast industry. It is clear that they have something against the biggest industry player, which they consider a monopoly. But I can tell you that what the NBC will do with the code is to rob the industry of plurality,” he stated.