National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed pay television provider Multichoice to sublicense some of its channels to Metro Digital Limited (Metro TV) in compliance with the current Broadcast Code and a recent appeal court judgement. NBC gave the directive to the South African satellite TV network in a letter dated 25 October 2022, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Multichoice and signed by Chief George Obi, Head of Legal of NBC on behalf of the Director General of the commission. The directive read in part, “You are hereby directed to comply with the 6th edition of the NBC Code as amended pursuant to Metro Digital’s request for channels sublicensing as ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal.”
Managing Director of Metro TV, Dr Ifeanyi Nwafor, MD, who has been on a three year legal battle with NBC and Multichoice to do the needful, told Vanguard on Monday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, that the development will end Pay TV monopoly, restore several jobs loss and benefit Pay TV consumers in better service at affordable rates. Nwafor said, “The growth of the broadcast industry in Nigeria has been limited due to monopolistic practices of the dominant player in the industry. AIl indigenous companies licensed in the last twenty years did not succeed because of these practices which includes content exclusivity, warehousing etc.
“Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria realising the inherent danger outlawed foreign and domestic acquisition of contents on the basis of exclusivity, through amendment to the Broadcast Code. Furthermore, licensees and broadcasters are obligated to sublicense channels to other licensees or broadcasters for commercially agreeable fees. In tune with the foregoing, the appeal court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state in an appeal filed by Metro Digital, ordered the regulatory body, NBC to execute its statutory functions in accordance with the provisions of the code. We are glad NBC has complied with the order of the court. The end of monopoly in Nigeria broadcasting industry will enhance competition, innovation and quality of service delivery. The industry will experience rapid growth, consumers will benefit from the competitive pricing that follows.
“We commend the role played by the FG, the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and NBC towards the repositioning of the industry and end the monopolistic practices that have held the industry down for a long time.” Nwafor who said Metro Digital would restore operations in coming disclosed that his organisation has applied to Multichoice requesting to be sublet Metro TV over 50 channels including views delight, the English Premier League on Supersports.