Tag Archives: Lai Mohammed

Broadcast stations get licence waiver

The Nigerian government has granted a two-month licence fee waiver to terrestrial broadcast stations to ease the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry.

Lai Mohammed

Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed announced the move during a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON). The organisation had asked the government to approve tax rebates for the broadcast stations as well as a one-year moratorium in the payment of annual operating licence fees to the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Terrestrial stations affected include Galaxy, AIT, TVC, MITV, Silverbird TV, NTA, which are all free-to-air channels. A broadcast licence fee in Nigeria costs as much as US$7,661 a year for these companies.

Mohammed said: “While BON members have been hit hard by the current pandemic, they are not alone. In fact, the entire creative industry, which also covers the broadcast industry, has been affected by the pandemic that has inflicted extensive damage on the economy of nations across the world.”

Mohammed also announced the setting up of a committee of creative industry stakeholders to address the effect of the pandemic on the sector.

“Before I announce the terms of reference of the committee, let me say that, in the interim, I want to announce that I have approved the request by NBC to grant a two-month licence fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria.

“The committee will be assessing the expected impact of the pandemic on the industry in general, advise the government on how to mitigate job and revenue losses in the sector, create succour for the industry’s small businesses, suggest the type of taxation and financing that is best for the industry at this time to encourage growth, and advise the government on any other measure or measures that can be undertaken to support the industry.”

The committee members include Nollywood comedian Ali Baba as chairman; TV producer Charles Novia; actor Segun Arinze; FreeTV’s Olumade Adesemowo; streamer Envivo’s Chioma Ude; Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim of the BON; and Anita Eboigbe from the News Agency of Nigeria.

Mohammed added: “We are still expecting the representatives of the fashion, publishing, photography, hospitality and travel sectors, and the committee has four weeks to submit its report.”

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Creative industry committee to take on virus

Nigeria’s federal government has set up a committee of creative industry stakeholders to address the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

Lai Mohammed

During a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), information and culture minister Lai Mohammed announced the appointment of the committee members and outlined the group’s aims.

He said: “The committee will be assessing the expected impact of the pandemic on the industry in general, advise the government on how to mitigate job and revenue losses in the sector, create succour for the industry’s small businesses, suggest the type of taxation and financing that is best for the industry at this time to encourage growth, and advise the government on any other measure or measures that can be undertaken to support the industry.”

The committee members include Nollywood comedian Ali Baba, TV producer Charles Novia; actor Segun Arinze; FreeTV’s Olumade Adesemowo; streamer Envivo’s Chioma Ude; Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim of the BON; and Anita Eboigbe from the News Agency of Nigeria.

Mohammed added: “We are still expecting the representatives of the fashion, publishing, photography, hospitality and travel sectors, and the committee has four weeks to submit its report.”

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Government seeks $500m to digitise NTA

The federal government is seeking a US$500m loan in order to digitise Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) stations in the country.

Lai Mohammed

According to Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, the fund will be used to improve the creative industry in Nigeria as well as create 100,000 jobs for young people.

“The fund will aid in the establishment of a media and cultural training centre which will help train Nigerian broadcasters and filmmakers and also generate revenue for the nation. The International Telecommunication Union has given a dateline for nations to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcast,” he said.

He added that the digitalisation of all NTA stations would help to improve the quality of the nation’s television programmes.

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Mohammed vows to end TV monopolies

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has revealed the government intends to put a stop to the country’s broadcasting monopolies because of the effect they have on the TV industry’s potential.

Lai Mohammed

He made the announcement at a recent a meeting with online publishers in Lagos, adding that he had implemented reforms and inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission reform implementation committee to impose stiffer penalties on those who violate broadcast regulations.

“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable,” Mohammed said.

“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talent and discourage creativity. The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.”

As part of the shake-up, MultiChoice’s current monopoly over the live airing of important sporting events will end.

“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices. You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access. Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out,” Mohammed added.

Although DStv has the monopoly on the live broadcasting of the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League in Nigeria, a source within the ministry suggested the new era of liberalisation is expected to allow sporting events to be accessed by other pay TV and free-to-air platforms.

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Media agencies ‘face financial constraints’

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister for information and national orientation, has admitted that government-owned media organisations are being hit by a lack of funds.

Lai Mohammed

Mohammed was speaking during a session of the Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation attended by media organisations at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

Broadcast organisations at the event included the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission.

“We know what to do to run FRCN and NTA profitably but we have an obligation to provide social services and create employment for Nigerian youth,” he said. “We want to make money but we are constrained.”

Ibrahim Mammaga, director of the News Agency of Nigeria, which used to be 100% financed by the government but no longer receives funds, said his agency remits 25% of the money it generates to the government.

“Our responsibility is to educate, just like FRCN and NTA. We operate in all the states of the federation with 28 district offices,” he said. “Until recently, when we established the multimedia unit, we didn’t generate revenue. What we generate from our subscribers is too small to the extent that it will not finance 1% of our operations.

“We have equipment in all the states of the federation, but the equipment is not working. If not for our laptops and smartphones, we would be in a difficult situation.”

Mammaga noted that even though the agency provided content to its subscribers, little in the way of earnings was generated. He added that it earned only N130m in 2017, which was not even enough to cover its electricity bills.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and public Affairs, Adedayo Adedeye, urged the government to manage information in the social media era and also advised the agencies to generate more revenue to run the stations as well as contribute to the government.

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Government backs NBC code review

New regulations have been promised by Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, to safeguard online broadcasters in the country.

Lai Mohammed

He made the announcement at the inauguration of the seven-member National Broadcasting Commission Reform Implementation Committee in Abuja.

The reforms were recommended by a committee Mohammed had set up at the direction of president Muhammadu Buhari as a result of the unprofessional conduct of some broadcast stations.

The committee, which has been given six weeks to submit its report, is chaired by the director of broadcast monitoring at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba, while the chief press secretary at the ministry of information and culture, Joe Mutah, will serve as secretary.

Other members are Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); Joseph Ehicheoya, director of legal services at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; Binta Bello, secretary general of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; and Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, a member of the NBC board.

The approved recommendations include an increase in fines for breaches relating to hate speech from N500,000 to N5m and the reclassification of divisive comments to Class A offences in the broadcasting code, plus the amendment of the NBC act to enable the NBC to license web TV and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria.

The terms of reference of the implementation committee are: “To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the National Assembly.

“To work out the modalities for competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.

“To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment to the board of the NBC.”

Mohammed added: “I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator.”

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NBC warns broadcasters over standards

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned it will sanction television stations that violate the nation’s broadcasting code.

NBC chairman Ikra Bilbis and director-general Modibbo Kawu made the announcement during the commission’s fifth annual lecture series, held in Abuja.

Kawu said: “The duty of regulating broadcasting becomes ever more challenging as the number of stations being licensed to operate increases by the day.The NBC has to keep up with the growing number of licences, amongst whom are those who believe they should not be regulated, or who regularly air content that leaves much to be desired from the perspective of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”

According to Bilbis, the commission is focusing on a number of initiatives to ensure broadcasting in Nigeria is on a par with the rest of the world.

“We must again ponder at the power of the broadcast media which can affect people’s thinking and behaviour for good or evil. Such a medium with monumental influence on society cannot be unregulated. As you are all aware, the NBC was established some 27 years ago. Its primary mandate was to initiate and promote private ownership of broadcasting in Nigeria, after close to 60 years of government sole ownership of the industry,” he added.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said that he would ensure the broadcast industry and information sector moves to the next level of prosperity.

“Let me reiterate that president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has great respect for the media and still continues to work with them as partners,” he said. “In recent times, our information space has been flooded with content that tests the unity and peace of the country. This content circulates within the social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platforms.

“Some of this content, which is mostly unverifiable, finds ways into the mainstream media in the form of fake news. I will enjoin the broadcast media to constructively make use of social media content with a great sense of patriotism for peace and unity in Nigeria.”

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TV, radio licensing stirs mixed feelings

The recent move by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari to license radio and television stations has sparked a mixed reaction.

Lai Mohammed

While some commentators support the development, saying it will sanitise the online space and stop incendiary web-broadcast sites from fanning the embers of hate and division, others feel the move is inherently wrong.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, defended the move, which is part of wide-ranging reforms of the broadcasting industry. “Web TVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry,” he said.

Online radio and television stations, known as over-the-top (OTT) services, are accessed by most internet users today. The Nigerian Communications Commission is under pressure about how and when to regulate OTT players, which have been described as a serious threat to traditional telecoms operators.

Although the NCC has repeatedly claimed that it will not regulate technology, stakeholders have called on the organisation to look for ways to curb the growing influence of OTT players such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Wechat, Telegram, Viber, Skype and Imo.

Umar Danbatta, the NCC’s executive vice chairman and CEO, has urged mobile operators to restructure their business models to increase revenue in the face of challenges raised by OTT services.

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StarTimes launches DTV in Kpaduma

Chinese-owned pay TV platform StarTimes has launched a digital satellite TV service in Kpaduma, an underdeveloped rural community in Abuja.

Lai Mohammed

The move gives the residents of Kpaduma the opportunity to watch programmes on satellite in the town for the first time.

The project was undertaken by StarTimes as part of an effort to provide 1,000 Nigerian villages with access to digital television under an aid programme that came out of the China-Africa summit in 2015.

Each village is to receive a 32-inch TV and two sets of solar-powered projectors, allowing villagers to watch  local and international digital TV shows.

Yusuf Dio, the prince of Kpaduma, said: “”We are very happy to have this [digital television service] in our household. It has brought so much joy and pleasure to my family.”

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, said: “The implementation complements the efforts of the Nigerian government to democratise access to information and entertainment through the digital switchover for television, which has now been rolled out in several states and the federal capital territory.”

Mohammed added that this would strengthen the relationship between China and Nigeria and urged StarTimes to hasten the installation of the TV satellite system in other parts of the country.

StarTimes – in partnership with Nigeria’s public TV company NTA – has made digital TV available to many Nigerians since 2010.

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NBC to host 4th annual lecture

NBC director general Is’haq Modibo Kawu

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is set to hold its fourth annual lecture this Thursday.

On August 30, the NBC – in conjunction with the Ministry of Information & Culture – will host its fourth annual lecture. This year, it is titled: Broadcasting & Nigeria’s Ethno-cultural & Religious Divide – Bridging the Gap.

The event is scheduled to take place at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja at 9.00 with a number of dignitaries and thought-leaders expected to discuss the future of broadcasting in the nation.

These include: Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari; Kashim Shettima, state governor of Borno; Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information & Culture; and Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general of NBC.

Since its inception, the annual lecture is usually scheduled a few days after the NBC anniversary. It retains the tradition this year as the NBC celebrated its 26th anniversary on Friday, August 24.

During the celebration, Kawu addressed the commission’s staff, stating: “We play a vital role in helping to secure national peace and unity in our country and strive daily to license, monitor, regulate and ensure that all licencees walk the straight and narrow path of the Nigerian broadcasting code.

He continued: “It is a daunting task that we have to carry out on a 24-hour basis and the fact that our institution has gone to this height is precisely because the staff put their all into making the institution what it has become. The importance of today is part of the history of our country, the broadcasting industry in Nigeria and our role as regulator in the industry.”

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First Creative Nigeria speakers named

Lagos-based media agency Think Tank Media & Advertising has announced the first speakers for July’s Creative Nigeria Summit.

The two-day event will see speakers address the issue of digitisation in Nigeria with the theme, Content: The Future of Nigerian Television in a Digital Era. UPDATE: The event will now be held in Lagos on July 16 and 17.

The speakers will include top media executives and broadcast journalists with decades of experience in television and film, many of whom have impacted the industry through innovation.

They include:

• Bada Akintunde Johnson, country manager, Viacom International Media, parent company of MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central

 

 

• John Giwa-Amu, co-founder of Red & Black Films

 

 

 

• Sanjay Salil, founder of Media Guru and one of India’s top media entrepreneurs
 

 

• Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife, a television and film production company

 

 

 

• Avi Armoza, founder of Armoza Formats and one of Israel’s top television producer/distributors
 

 

• Anahita Kheder, senior VP, Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe, FremantleMedia International
 

 

• Jason Njoku, CEO and co-founder of iROKOtv, one of Nigeria’s leading VoD platforms
 

 

• Emma Smithwick, film and TV producer and scriptwriter

 

 

 

• Jeff Kalligheri, CEO of Waterstone Entertainment, a production and financing company
 

 

The speakers will address more than 2,000 media professionals in various sessions at the Summit, which will include masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops.

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, is expected to deliver the welcoming address at the conference.

For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Think Tank Media & Advertising is an independent media planning, media buying and creative agency working for both local and international clients.

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Nigeria to be ‘capital of African TV’

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, has claimed that the country is building Africa’s biggest and most lucrative free-to-air TV platform.

At the recent digital switchover (DSO) launch in Osun State, Mohammed said he is convinced that Nigeria will become the capital of African television within a few years.

“With over 24 million TV households, and being the capital of African creativity in music and film, I am now more than convinced that we will also become the capital of television in Africa within the next few years,” he said.

He urged phone companies to take advantage of the opportunities set before them by getting data across to the 24 million TV households in the country with set-top boxes.

According to the minister, content providers will be paid to have their programmes aired, and this will be done through an audience measurement system. “To Nollywood, your movies can now be sold directly to all homes in Nigeria without the need of a VCD, DVD or even the internet, using the DSO platform to market and sell films,” he added.

Mohammed also encouraged the state government to engage residents in the DSO transitions by creating jobs for them in production and distribution.

“I congratulate the people of this state [Osun], who will now have access to more than 30 digital channels, with crystal clear pictures and hi-fidelity audio, once they procure our most affordable set-top box,” he said.

Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed gratitude to the federal government and the minister for making the DSO transition possible and bringing new opportunities to broadcasting.

However, he appealed to the government for control measures on the Free TV platform to avoid explicit and offensive programmes.

As part of the launch event, Mohammed donated 100 set-top boxes to the state.

Osun State is the sixth to undergo DSO transition in Nigeria. So far, DSO has taken place in five states: Abuja, Jos, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu.

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Mohammed seeks UNESCO media aid

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture has appealed to UNESCO for assistance in growing the country’s media industry.

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed made the request during a meeting with UNESCO delegate Mariam Katagum last week, explaining that media in Nigeria has evolved and people no longer rely on traditional media for news or entertainment.

“There is no gain saying that Nigeria rules Africa when it comes to entertainment and, again, we want the assistance of UNESCO in developing more, especially in the area of content,” he said.

“We have so much content and so many stories to tell the world but we need to assist the creative industry in training the filmmakers to improve on their capacity, technically, so that they can tell their stories on a better platform.”

Noting that social media had become a platform for the dissemination of so-called ‘fake news,’ Mohammed said more needed to be done to tackle the spread of misinformation online.

“With the telephone, everyone has become a journalist, opinion-moulder and information disseminator. The outcome is fake news and misinformation, and the government is more on the receiving end. We, therefore, appeal to UNESCO to review its mode of operation and assist in addressing the issue of fake news through social media,’’ Mohammed said.

Social media and the advent of fake news has been on the minds of many professionals in the media industry recently. During a conference held this week, John Momoh, chairman of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria and CEO of Channels TV, also addressed the issue.

Speaking at the Social Media Week event, held in Lagos, Momoh said the industry needed well-trained young broadcasters who can use artificial intelligence to increase content quality. “Artificial intelligence is to improve our work and not to add to the problem of unemployment,” he added.

According to Momoh, the spread of fake news can be stopped by relying on trustworthy media outlets. He also said broadcasting companies should play their part by evolving with the times and becoming available on the preferred platforms of their consumers.

“The biggest disruption to the media landscape is that, now, you have to go after the consumers to ensure they get what they want. We have to cast our content on all mobile devices. Because the world is changing, you cannot do things the same way,” he said.

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Gov’t plans TV ad revenues boost

Nigeria’s federal government has unveiled plans to increase the country’s television advertising revenues by up to US$400m.

Lai Mohammed

At the digital switchover (DSO) launch event in Enugu state, Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, said an audience-measurement system (AMS) would be put in place as part of the DSO to boost advertising revenues.

The team in charge of the AMS will comprise representatives from media organisations and authorities such as the National Broadcasting Commission, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria and the Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria, plus various signal distributors.

According to Mohammed, the current market evaluation system falls short and requires improvement. “As it is now, the value of Nigeria’s broadcasting advertising market is not proportionate with its population, when compared to the top three markets in the sub-Saharan Africa region,” he said.

“Despite having a population more than three times that of South Africa, Nigeria’s television advertising revenue in 2016, at US$309m, was 76% behind that of South Africa. In both territories, the value and growth rate of the broadcasting advertising revenue is largely influenced by the availability of a scientific AMS.”

Mohammed urged the cooperation of practitioners in the industry, calling on them to push for the progress of this framework by aiding the government.

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BON supports Nigeria’s DSO plan

The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has assured the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of its support for digital switchover (DSO) plans, reports Gabriella Opara.

John Momoh

During a DSO stakeholders’ meeting held last Thursday in Uyo in Akwa Ibom state, BON chairman John Momoh pledged his support to the NBC over its plans to ensure DSO nationwide.

“We are witnessing an era in which the broadcast industry is presenting great opportunities and at the same time facing some threats. Opportunities in the sense that the whole of broadcasting is changing from content platforms like Apple to OTT services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime through to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter,” Momoh said.

“And so many companies are eager to get great content. This is where we, as broadcasters, need the support of the NBC – to ensure that it lays the groundwork for future success. The best way for us to invent the future is to put in place the best possible architecture and give the industry the freedom to thrive,” Momoh added.

At the meeting, NBC director general Is’haq Modibbo Kawu also pledged that all hands will be on deck to ensure the smooth sailing of DSO in 2018.

In December 2017, Kwara and Kaduna states made the switchover from analogue terrestrial broadcasting to digital transmission.

In a statement upon the launch, Nigeria minister for information and culture Lai Mohammed promised more DSO would take place within a few weeks across the states. He also said DSO would generate N100bn annually through the FreeTV distribution network, which has more than 200 channels.

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