FG targets $1bn annual revenue from digitisation

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

The Federal Government said it can potentially raise a digital dividend of $1 billion from the sale of spectrum as it rolls out digitisation of broadcasting in the country, as it planned self-funding for digital switch-over  programme.

As part of the plans, government hoped that the broadcasting industry and digital economy would grow by $1 billion per annum through increases in advertising, Nollywood income and value added services when full digitisation was achieved.

This was even as it expected that the digitisation would offer uncountable job opportunities for youths who it said form majority of the demographics in the broadcast industry and other ancillary industries.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at the opening of Africast 2016 in Abuja where he stated that the digitisation of broadcasting offered the country a lot of opportunities.

“The benefits are multifaceted and very far-reaching  in the areas of economics, politics, education, entertainment, science and technology and several other ways. Many have said that the impact of digitisation on television will be revolutionary and I cannot agree less,” he said.

The minister noted that with digitisation, the TV industry in the country will be able to  raise over one billion dollars in one year and also increase the number of the current 450 TV stations in Nigeria.

He said that the Federal Government’s idea of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) was one in which there is free digital TV service called FreeTV – based on Freeview rather than requiring pay TV subscriptions.

To that end, he said that the government was providing support to ensure that decoders were affordable at a retail price of N1,500 ($7.50)

Speaking on the benefits of the digitisation, he said, “Nigerian viewers will get a great free TV service with up to 30 channels laden with sports, news, documentaries and other programme types for only N1500. Viewers should also be able to receive all pay TV content through one STB, if they so desire.

“Governments (Federal, State and local) will have an information outlet to every home through the interactive news and information service.

“Nollywood will have a safe and profitable distribution channel direct to 24 million TV homes through the Set-Top Boxes with no piracy risk. This will generate $250 million per annum of extra income for Nollywood.

“So far, the Federal Government has shown commitment to meeting the new deadline of June 2017 for the whole country to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.”

“In order to ensure that the signals of various channel owners are compressed into multiplexes and well packaged before transmission to consumers, and to protect the boxes from hacking and piracy, the Federal Government engaged the middleware operator, Inview Nigeria limited.

“Another indigenous company, Cable Channels Nigeria Limited (CCNL), is managing the marketing and aggregation of the channels on behalf of the content owners and the signal distributors

“In line with the DSO White Paper, which makes a provision for the reservation of a licence for an independent signal distribution operator to be created out of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), a company known as Independent Television Services (ITS) Limited has been created

“These transmission companies will no doubt engage young Nigerian engineers, thus creating job opportunities for thousands of Nigerian engineers.

“This is in line with our deliberate regulatory policy measures to indigenize the entire management and operational structure of the DSO for the future development of the Nigerian broadcast industry.