A Nigerian lawmaker has urged the international community to invest in the country’s television industry and called for quality to supersede quantity in the market.
“I would urge the international community to look into the TV industry in Nigeria and invest because the potential return is huge. The time to do so is now,” said Marshal Sunday Katung, a member of the Federal House of Representatives for the Zangon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency of Kaduna State for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“The current state of Nigerian TV is where it is because of the lack of investment in the industry. We are looking forward to the fact that with improved investment and content development we can take it to the next level.”
Katung’s role is to regulate and legislate on issues for the digital switchover in Nigeria and ensure a smooth transition from analogue, which has been planned since 2007. His aim is also to ensure local content is promoted, and he added that the project is on course.
“We’ve missed certain deadlines but the government is focused on ensuring the switchover moves in the right direction. The pilot scheme was launched in December 2015. We’re all excited and look forward to the transition in many more states in the country. Eventually, the entire country should be covered in the shortest possible time; that’s our hope and belief,” added Katung.
Nollywood’s popularity is one of the most exciting things to have happened to the Nigerian industry and offers variety for storytellers and producers to draw on, Katung said.
TV series have been successful in keeping viewers “glued to stations,” but Katung maintained that the focus must now to change to quality over quantity.
“We just need to create some finesse. My hope is that people should be able to view TV the way it is in Europe and the West generally, in terms of digital quality as opposed to the analogue system we currently operate,” he said.
“The biggest challenges are the lack of implementation in existing legislation, finessing the quality and more investment. We believe the issues will be addressed in the not-too-distant future, with interest shown from some western organisations and individuals.”
Katung was speaking to Content Nigeria at the recent Mipcom conference in Cannes, France, where delegates and exhibitors from Nigeria held a beachside cocktail party to promote the country’s content.