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Digital Switch Over: Broadcast media to rake in $400m

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Digital Switch Over: Broadcast media to rake in $400m

Broadcast media will make $400m as a result of digitalisation,  which kicked off in Abuja yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria is “irreversibly committed’’ to meeting the June 2017 deadline for transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting.

The President spoke at the roll out of Digital Switch Over (DSO) spearheaded by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The June 17, 2017 deadline for transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting in West African countries was set by the World International Telecommunication Union Council.

With this roll-out, Federal Capital Territory residents will enjoy 30 free to air television channels which  will cover entertainment, sports, news, movies, and others.

The country had a pilot scheme prior to the official roll-out earlier this year in Jos, Plateau state, with 15 channels.

Nigeria previously failed in two previous attempts to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting, first in 2012 and in 2015.

Nigerians would face interrupted viewing if it fails to migrate next year.

Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari said with DSO, the country stood at the threshold of exciting time for free TV channels, jobs creation, entertainment and commerce.

He said digitisation would create jobs in the area of contents, software development and production of Set Top Boxes.

The President added that digitisation would provide platform for film producers and musicians to release their production directly to the platform that will substantially curb piracy.

“As the doors open for digital transmission, what is important is that it will liberalise access to and increase the versatility of media information.

“Interactive programming, mobile reception of videos, internet and multimedia base advertising, educative programmes sales and marketing are obvious low hanging fruits,’’ he said.

The President assured that the DSO rollout will continue in the states until the entire country is covered.

He appealed to States and Local Government Councils to be actively involved in the projects because of its advantages to the people.

Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the broadcast media will be raking in $400 million per annum through audience measurement.

This, the minister said is apart from the tens of thousands of job opportunities the switch over will usher in.

He added, “The core principles of Democracy are equality, common participation, total access to information for all citizens, economic empowerment of all participants in the industries and a level playing feed for Nigerian companies and entrepreneurs to build viable businesses.

“ By these, we are expecting to help diversify our economy by properly exploiting our great talent and creative human and natural resources, which we strongly believe are second to none in Africa.”

The transition, the minister also said will create  a 100 Billion Naira per annum FreeTV distribution network for Nollywood.

He explained “We have watched our beloved Nollywood move from VHS tapes to VCD, to DVD and whereas the whole world has moved to digital consumption of content with its attendant benefits and democratisation of distribution, we have been constrained by limited penetration of Internet in our homes. With the middleware in our Stb’s/Receiving equipment, homes will be able to buy and watch the latest Nollywood movies without the need for Internet.  Imagine a film released on Monday morning being immediately available to 24 million plus households at the touch of a button.”

Chairman Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Senator Suleiman Adokwe said DSO would leverage for Nigerians who could not afford Pay-TV.

NBC Director-General Malam Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu said with the launch, TV viewers in Abuja would have access to 30 free channels.

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