Broadcast digitisation to fetch Nigeria $1b annually, says minister

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says with digitisation, the broadcast industry in Nigeria will have the capacity to raise over $1billion (about N450billion) yearly.

The minister spoke in Abuja while declaring open the 11th Biennial Conference of Africa Broadcasters (Africast).

Africast 2016 has Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting: Financing Quality Content as its theme is being attended by stakeholders from Africa, America and Europe.

Mohammed said in addition to increased revenue, digital broadcasting would also raise the number of the current 450 TV stations in the country and generate millions of jobs.

“The digitisation of broadcasting offer Nigeria 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,’’ Mohammed said.

He said that there was massive growth in the industry since the 1992 deregulation of broadcasting in the country which allowed private initiative.

The minister reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to meeting the new deadline of June 2017 for the country to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.

According to Mohammed, the transition will open the window for free TV service with up to 30 channels laden with sports, news, documentaries and other programme.

He said the transition would help to curb piracy and encourage a free press and open democracy underpinned by local content channels, among other advantages.

The minister charged regulators of broadcasting in Africa to embrace digital technology and platforms for diverse content.

He also urged them to use the media to serve the people in terms of security, economic well-being and technological advancement.

Sen. Suleiman Adokwe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, commended the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for hosting the conference.

He pledged the support of the National Assembly towards achieving the June 2017 deadline for transition to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.

Africast is a platform for stakeholders in Africa’s broadcasting scene to converge and exchange ideas on content creation and explore the possibilities offered by the new and emerging technology.

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