The Nigerian Digital Switch Over, DSO Project has come alive in the commercial city of Kano, North West Nigeria.
Speaking at the Launching of the Kano roll over on Tuesday, the country’s Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed said the Nigerian Government was prioritising the DSO project because it was critical to the post-Covid recovery and prosperity of the Creative Industry.
He revealed that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, working with its relevant agencies like the National Broadcasting Commission and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria – has commenced the process of implementing Audience Measurement, which would go a long way in driving advertising speed to the DSO platform, thus helping the channels to fulfill their obligations to the Signal Distributors.
The Minister said, “We have also instituted a number of reforms, some of them necessitating amendments to the Broadcasting Code which we have since carried out, with a view to encouraging investments in the Broadcast Industry in particular and the Creative Industry in general.
“As I have always said, the absence of a world class audience measurement regime has resulted in under-investment in the sector, which is necessary to foster the growth of the industry.
“The Advertising community continues to rely on subjective factors when making decisions on the content they want, as opposed to how many viewers the content truly attracts.
Consequently, television platforms are subjected to renting out space on their channels to sustain their businesses, and content producers are at the mercy of sponsors, a development which, unfortunately, skews the authenticity of their creative output in favor of a few decision makers, instead of the millions of TV viewers.
“The existing model will never enable Nigeria’s Creative Industry to reach its full potential.
It stunts the quality of the content that can be created and also limits the capacity of television platforms to invest in dynamic contents that consumers will be attracted to.
The Minister stated that the Nigerian Government was also putting in place an Industry Framework that would ensure that content producers receive their just due for the value of the content they create, as well as provide objective guarantees to the Advertising community with regards to Return-On-Investment on media placements.
This according to him will then have the overall effect of guaranteeing greater spend by the Advertisers, who are all seeking to grow their market share.
“The Ministry, through NBC and APCON, has implemented a system to monitor the media purchases and ensure that advertising revenues are earned by the broadcasters in due time.
The collaboration between NBC and APCON is to guarantee zero advertising debt for the broadcasting Industry,” the Minister stated.
Mohammed applauded the efforts put together to achieve the DSO success.
He gave credit to the committee.
“Since i inaugurated a 14-member Ministerial Task Force in February this year to drive the DSO rollout across the country, we have made notable progress.
“Following the approval from the Federal Executive Council and the release of 50% of the outstanding payment, we have since disbursed part payment to all stakeholders who are being owed.
“We have also initiated the process to complete the payment and put the stakeholders in good stead to carry out their obligations to the DSO project.
” he explained.
The Minister however said that, with the termination of subsidy, the funding of the DSO through the establishment and operation of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) made of States and private equity is critical to achieving a faster rollout and introducing new investment into the sector, with shared infrastructure costs.
The Minister made a call for the Set-Top-Boxes or Decoders to be widely available and affordable, and some channels catering for children’s programmes, sports and religion must be encouraged to thrive.
“Those channels are also critical to the success of the DSO, because they have the potential to attract many eyeballs to the DSO platform.
Still talking about Set-Top-Boxes, affordability is a key factor in making digital television available to all.
“Indeed, Set-Top-Boxes represent the very minimum entry point in the world of digital television broadcasting.
At the same time, it is necessary to ensure a reliable supply of low-cost STBs for purchase by the general public.
“I want to use this opportunity to implore state governments to be at the vanguard of providing Set-Top-Boxes to their people.
This is because the provision of Set-Top-Boxes is a social service that will take governance to the grassroots and bridge the information gap between the government and the governed, among other advantages.
“For Kano State in particular, with a population of over 15 million peoples, governance will be revolutionized if each of the 2.
4 million television households can have a Set-Top-Box.
In his remark, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Balarabe Ilelah said the DSO in Kano and Nigeria at large would also help to checkmate signals straying into Nigeria from neighboring countries and its attendant possible security implication.
He also said with a huge population of Kano state, the economic opportunity related to the DSO is huge.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Mansur Liman assured of the organisation’s commitment to the Nigerian DSO project.
He congratulated the Nigerian government on the achievement of the project so far but called on the legislature to amend the constitution to empower broadcasting organisations to collect radio and television license fees instead of local governments’ authorities.
Chairman Set Up Box manufacturers of Nigeria, Godfrey Ohwabunwa said the benefits of the project was enormous.
He mentioned availability of 30 to 60 free channels, freeing up of spectrum for other purposes, collection of tv/radio licence fees, enhancement and availability of internet penetration, sales of redundant spectrum and also general information platform for the citizens among others.
The last DSO launch was in Lagos on April 29th 2021, and it marked the beginning of the second phase of the DSO rollout.
Meanwhile the pilot programme launch was in Jos, Plateau State, on 30 April 2016, then the rolled out took place in the Federal Capital Territory, in Kwara State, in Kaduna State, in Enugu State and in Osun State, next is Port Harcourt the River state capital.
Nigeria’s Digital Switch Over Project Comes Alive in Kano State