Digital Broadcasting Can Fetch Nigeria N300bn Yearly – NBC

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Emeka Mba

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The federal government can rake in N300 billion yearly and generate 55,000 high skilled jobs from digital broadcasting if it succeeds in meeting the new deadline of June 20, 2017, for digital switchover

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Oct 12, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE federal government can generate as much as N330 billion yearly from digital broadcasting, if the country meet the new date of June 20, 2017, for the country’s Digital Switchover, DSO. According to Emeka Mba, director-general, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, said although Nigeria had missed out twice in its DSO plan, with the recent date, being June 17, 2015, the country still has huge opportunity to catch-up with DSO, should government see it as self-sustaining project that would contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

If the digital switchover is properly managed, government can generate N100 billion from digital spectrum sales, N30 billion annually from digital dividend and N200 billion annually from additional advertising, content and Nollywood income streams. In addition to these, there is the estimated 55,000 highly skilled jobs that will be generated, when Nigeria eventually achieve its new DSO mandate.

These lofty objectives remained achievable, owing to the fact that only four million out of the 26 million television household in Nigeria have gone digital. The remaining 22 million that have not gone digital portends a huge market for Nigeria and the federal government stands the chance of generating so much money from digital switchover.

Explaining the extent of preparation by NBC to meet the new deadline for DSO, Mba said arrangements were on ground to re-launch the pilot phase of DSO in Jos, Plateau State, by first week in November 2015, and in other cities of the country before end of the year. He said more than 500,000 set top boxes would be manufactured and channelled to Jos for the re-launch.

“Offshore mass production and delivery of initial subverted boxes for Jos pilot project is envisaged to be completed by the end of October, while the local manufacture of the set top boxes is expected to begin in April next year. By the end of November 2015, we plan to complete the process of setting up the contact centre, which becomes available for all enquiries from members of the public regarding the implementation of the DSO.”

Speaking on the benefits of DSO to consumers, Mba said by the time Nigeria would go digital, Nigerians would receive more than 30 new free to air channels per annum for the price of a N1,500 set top boxes. He said consumers would take advantage of a host of value added services such as news, information and video on demand.

Nigeria’s journey towards the digital terrestrial television broadcasting started in June 17, 2006, and was expected to come to an end on June 17, 2015. In 2007, the federal government approved the digital migration process, and through the NBC, set deadline of January 1, 2015, as the switch off date for the country. A presidential advisory committee on the transition was also inaugurated in 2008 with the mandate to come up with a recommended policy, regulatory framework and a broadcasting model for the process. The committee submitted its report in 2009, with several recommendations one of which was that the country would switch off its analogue broadcasting on January 1, 2015; only time will tell whether the country can face the sanctions of not switching over.

Digital TV broadcasting offers many advantages over analogue systems for end-users, operators and regulators. Apart from increasing the number of channels, digital systems can provide new innovative services, such as interactive TV, electronic programme guides and mobile TV as well as transmit image and sound in high-definition, HDTV, and ultra-high definition, UHDTV. Digital TV requires less energy to ensure the same coverage compare to analogue while decreasing overall costs of transmission. The more efficient use of radio spectrum brought on by digital TV also allows for the so-called digital dividend resulting from the freeing up of spectrum for use by other services, such as mobile broadband.

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