Delta, Gombe, 6 Other States to Switch Over to Digital TV Broadcasting in 2018, Says NBC

Mr. Is’Haq Modibbo Kawu, The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)
Mr. Is’Haq Modibbo Kawu, The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

As Nigeria continues to implement its Digital Switch Over (DSO) commitment, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has announced that eight states of the federation will switch over to digital television broadcasting before the end of 2018, noting that the digital mapping of the entire Country will be concluded soon.

Speaking at the first Nigerian International Television (NITV) Summit in Paris, France on April 30, 2018 in a presentation titled: “Overview of the Digital Switch-Over in Nigeria: Investment opportunities of the DSO project”, the DG said “facilities are being put in place now for the switchover in Delta and Gombe states. We are also committed to switching on in six other states before the end of 2018.”

Mr Kawu pointed out that Nigeria recently switched on in Jos, Plateau state; the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Kwara; Kaduna; Enugu and Osun states, after missing some initially scheduled dates for the transition.

However, he reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission, saying: “the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the driving government agency for the project, working closely with Digiteam Nigeria, the implementation Committee, has shown commitment to the transition through the implementation of several critical requirements of the DSO as enunciated by the Federal Government’s White Paper on the Digital Switch Over.”
He added that apart from the eight states which will switch on in 2018, the Commission was also at the conclusion of the digital mapping of the entire country.

Also, speaking on the revenue sources for the DSO in Nigeria, Mr Kawu said: “So far, the DSO process has been able to raise these funds: 1. Lease of Spectrum: N35 Billion; 2.Signal Distributor License Fee: N650million * 2 = N 1.3billion; 3.STB Manufacturers Authorization Fee: N50Million* 7 = N 350Million; 4.Content Aggregator License Fee: N150 Million;” adding that the total expected revenue from TV License Fee is 39 Billion Naira per annum with the expectation of increasing to 333Billion Naira per annum by 2030.

Detailing the implementation of the digitization process, Mr Kawu noted that a total of 13 local set-top-box manufacturers were authorized to manufacture the estimated 22Million Set-Top-Boxes for Nigeria’s television homes in the DSO. “Six of these companies have set-up in-country plants for the purpose of assembly and eventual production of the boxes in Nigeria,” he said.

“The DSO White Paper provided for the reservation of a licence for an independent signal distribution operator to be created out of the Federal government’s Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), leveraging on the existing infrastructure for deployment of the DTT network in Nigeria. That company is already operating as the Integrated Television Services (ITS) Limited. ITS is transmitting DTT signals for Plateau, Kwara, Osun and Enugu states”.

“The second company emerged through an open, competitive bidding process. That is Pinnacle Communications Limited. Pinnacle Communications Limited is already transmitting in the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna states. They are in the midst of installation of facilities now, for the roll out in Delta and Gombe states. The NBC commissioned Inview Limited to provide a Conditional Access System in Nigerian-manufactured Set-Top-Boxes. While our Call Center operators are the Out Source Company, another indigenous company, Cable Channels Nigeria Limited (CCNL) is managing the marketing and aggregation of the 30 channels we are presently broadcasting in two multiplexes, of our DTT proposition,” Mr Kawu noted.

Mr Kawu also talked about the media policy of Nigeria, saying that a cardinal point of the Policy is the promotion of local content in the Country’s creative industry. For instance, he said, “government deliberately instituted a local content ratio of 60-40 percent local to foreign content, to ensure the growth of the local creative industry: music, drama film and television.”

In the same vein, he added, “When government discovered that the valuable family belt of 6.00pm to 10.00pm on television was dominated by foreign content, government instituted a policy requesting television stations to ensure that only indigenous local content was aired at that prime time belt. That also assisted local content to gain traction and to enjoy advertising spend, which was hitherto spent on the foreign productions that used to dominate television in Nigeria.”

With the DSO process, 70 percent of all content in Nigeria would be expected to be local, Mr Kawu declared.