Day three of Africast 2018 began with Toyin Subair of Digital Play Nigeria highlighting the possibilities of IPTV and triple-play media services.
In his speech, the company’s CEO discussed digital switch-over (DSO), which has been a major concern in Nigeria, and the need to transit from analogue to digital broadcasting.
He told delegates at the three-day broadcast business event, held in Abuja, that customers’ needs are being neglected while more time is being spent on other aspects of DSO, which should not be the case.
“It’s been all about subsidies, transmitters, set-top boxes, BON, FreeTV, satellite, middleware for Push VoD, audience measurement and a recent push for content to be put on the front burner,” he said.
“It seems we have left the customer behind. I cannot point to any recent survey to understand exactly what the customers that occupy the approximately 24 million TV households in Nigeria really want.
“It should then not surprise us if, after all our efforts, we find out that customer expectations were far ahead of what we were all knocking our heads together to complete.”
He went further by illustrating that regarding digitisation of television, customers, content and quality of video delivery need to be properly understood because people are interested in watching not just content from TV but also video.
“The landscape has changed. Audiences are fragmented, the competition from disruptors is relentless, the accelerating shift towards mobile continues unabated and a content renaissance has left consumers feeling lost in a sea of available programming,” he said.
“The time to act is now. Media and entertainment companies that want to stay in the game may need to embark upon a holistic, orchestrated and integrated programme of digital reinvention to focus their resources, investments and capabilities on the things that truly matter.”
He claimed that those trying to implement DSO are only concerned about convenience and their immediate economic returns, rather than paying attention to what customers want, what they watch, when and how they want it delivered.
And since they cannot see things from the customer’s point of view, the audience will soon be out of their reach, taken away by smart media entities.
“The problem is that technology is not thinking on those lines and very soon the smart media entities will leapfrog all our plans, institutions and government power and reach the customer, leaving us with empty castles,” he said.
Triple-play offers the best way to deliver services to customers, Subair said. It is not just all about putting together a mix of voice, video and data but about how convenient it can be for customers in terms of price package, reception, purchase and payment.
Subair added: “Nigeria is the leader in raw content in Africa. Nollywood, Afrobeat and our comedians testify to this. But we are hardly the engines monetising them, either through production, distribution or royalty collection.
“In fact, with about over N40bn currently expended on DSO, less than N500m has gone into content. Nigeria has forgotten that television – or, sorry, video – is about content.
“And everywhere in the world video has exploded via on-demand and live streaming. Online TV or subscription services are now the norm – YouTube, Netflix, Iroko etc – and also video is now delivered via social feeds like Facebook, Wechat, LINE etc,” he said.
In an attempt to make money and get a good price, some players urged the government to reduce data connectivity on the DSO boxes and also discard any middleware that will make it easy for customers to have Nollywood at their fingertips.
Toyin suggested that while video is the future of media on the web, DSO had not even focused on any of the above.