Federal Government has said that the much talked about digital with over will begin in two days time, April 29 2021. This fact was disclosed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed. The Lai told the Senate that Nigeria will begin the second roll out of Digital Switch Over (DSO) from April 29 in Lagos State. Speaking in Abuja when he appeared before the Senator Danladi Sankara, led Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, “We are kick starting the new roll out in Lagos state on April 29, while Kano will be on June 3, and Rivers on July 8. We will then follow up with Yobe state on July 15 and Gombe on August 12. To date, we have rolled out the DSO in five states and Abuja,”
The Minister who noted that DSO had gone live in the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Kaduna Enugu and Osun states, stressed that the ministry considered the DSO one of its priority projects, given its potential to create jobs, bring governance closer to the people through better access to information, provide quality programming to Nigeria’s estimated 24 million television households, with high fidelity pictures and sound. Mohammed said, “Without mincing words, let me say straight away that for us, the DSO is about stimulating local content and empowering platform owners.” According to him, manufacturing of Set Top Boxes or decoders alone was capable of creating 50,000 jobs, while television production could create 200,000 jobs, adding, ” Film Production can generate 350 to 400,000 jobs, distribution, which entails supplying the market with Set Top Boxes,TVs and Dongles for the internet, will require at least 100,000 wholesalers.!Advertising can create a further 50,000 jobs,”
The Minister who noted that the ministry has taken some steps to create the enabling environment for the DSO to succeed, for local content to thrive, for indigenous producers to be more engaged and for the local advertising market to grow, said that the federal government had carried out an unprecedented reform of the broadcasting industry, given the nexus between the reforms and success of the DSO. He said, “The amendments were necessitated by the need to boost the local content in Nigeria, curb anti competitive and monopolistic tendencies and boost advertising revenues. We have amended the code to curb monopoly and exclusivity of programme content in order to create room for the local industry to grow. For example, the pay tv sector of the broadcast Industry had been controlled by foreign interests, while indigenous efforts to compete have been frustrated or weakened by the established control of the big monopolies.
“It will interest you to know that to date, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has licensed over 30 Nigerian pay tv companies, but only 1, is currently struggling to break through, this is not acceptable. The monopolies exclude many Nigerians from enjoying or having access to premium content, especially in the area of sports and movies. With the amendment to the code, anyone owning any sports rights must make such available to other parties in Nigeria, who may be interested in acquiring these rights.We have amended the Code to stimulate growth in the Advertising Industry. Agencies and Advertisers to offset all outstanding invoices within 60 days related to advert placement and the barring of carriage of adverts of defaulters. This will significantly address the diversion of advert revenue to the wrong hands, address’ lack of accountability in the advertising industry, and ensure significant empowerment in terms of funding for content producers and channel owners in the Nigerian media industry.
“Also, under the new amendment, for a programme to qualify as local content, it must be authored, directed and produced by a Nigerian. In addition, at least 75 per cent of the leading actors and major supporting cast must be Nigerians, a minimum of 75 per cent of its program expenses and 75 per cent of post-production expenses paid for services provided by Nigerians or Nigerian companies. This initiative will considerably develop the skills, expertise and industry of the local content market. This is a redefinition of the old regulation that 60 percent of all programmed aired during prime time must be local content. As part of efforts to make the DSO proposition viable. I have directed GoTV and StarTimes to stop self carriage by the end of June 2021 and migrate to either Integrated Television Service (ITS) or Pinnacle Communication, which are the approved signal distributors in the country.
” To stimulate growth and investment in the advertising sector, the code was further amended to the effect that all television and radio advertisements for airing on all broadcast platforms, pertaining to products and services manufactured, grown, processed, developed, created and originating from Nigeria, shall be wholly produced in Nigeria.” According to him, bills to amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) Act has been proposed to concretise reforms in the broadcasting and advertising sectors, just as he pleaded with the Senators to fast-track deliberations on the bills seeking to amend the acts.