Tag Archives: NBC

NBC urges new stations to abide by codes

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has urged operators of newly licensed TV outfits to abide by the nation’s broadcasting codes.

Armstrong Idachaba

Acting NBC director general Armstrong Idachaba recently met with Trefoil Networks MD Onochie Amasiani, who was representing the management of recently licensed broadcaster OurTv, at the commission.

During the meeting, held to formally inform NBC management about OurTv and present its set-up box, Idachaba said broadcasters must abide by the NBC’s broadcasting code and avoid divisive content. He also thanked the management of OurTv for their commitment to promoting local content.

‘‘We commend you for your continued commitment to the broadcast industry. I am quite sure you have invested your resources, time and energy in promoting broadcasting in Nigeria,” Idachaba said.

“We are glad that part of what you are putting up is largely indigenous. I take cognisance of the fact you are already creating jobs for the Nigerian youth.

‘‘Be sure that whatever content you carry promote the image of Nigeria, its culture and conditions. You must bring Nigerians together; you must not bring hate or divisiveness. We hope you become good ambassadors representing us at international hub. When you do that, I can assure you that the current management of NBC, and even in the future, will give you all the support you require.”

Amasiani, meanwhile, pledged to partner with the commission to fulfil OurTv’s corporate social responsibilities.

He said: “OurTv is an expression of local content. OurTv was fully integrated in Nigeria by Nigerians [and is] transmitted on the Nigerian satellite Nigcomsat1R, received by set-top boxes made in Nigeria and managed by a Nigerian company.

“We are here to present the baby that NBC licensed to us a couple of years back and to inform the commission that it is alive and kicking and healthy and ready to go.

“We are the pioneer users of NigComSat because we believe in Nigeria and are confident that this has come to stay. The local content and progress made so far has reinforced our belief that this is the way to go.”

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Flipping the switch

Nigeria’s digital switchover (DSO) was the key topic on the first day of broadcaster FreeTV’s three-day online digital series event. Priscillia Alao reports.

Olumade Adesemowo

The event kicked off on Wednesday with Inview Technology CEO Olumade Adesemowo anchoring a panel focusing on DSO and the future of Nigerian content. Speaking on the panel were Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC); stand-up comedian and actor Ali Baba; Film Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) chairman Emeka Aduah; and 9Mobile marketing director Olayiwola Onafowokan.

Idachaba provided a report on the current status of the DSO, detailing some of the challenges of transitioning more than 30 million Nigerian households from analogue to digital and looking to the future.

“The DSO project is important to the future of the media industry in Nigeria,” he said, explaining that as well as improving picture and sound quality, the switch will result in more channels for creative-minded people to realise their potential.

So far, DSO has been rolled out in Jos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ilorin and Osogbo, as well as Enugu, where the switch has been carried out but not completed across the entire state.

Referring to his fellow panellist, Idachaba continued: “With the bank of content Ali Baba has been able to produce over the years, I wonder why he is not running comedy channels. This is the time to engage content producers, and regulators are ready to create that platform for them.

“Some of us don’t fully understand the potential inherent in the digital transition process and we also don’t realise that the entire value chain will be driven by the content we produce. As regulators, it is time to create the right regulatory framework that will allow creatives to have an entry point.”

Idachaba added that Inview’s partnership with the Bank of Industry meant there would be support for companies involved in licence acquisition and the production and distribution of content.

“At the NBC, there is a renewed commitment to delivering on the DSO project. The vehicles for delivering content are the signal distributors who are willing to commit their resources to the roll-out,” he said.

Armstrong Idachaba

The next places to get the switch will be Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano, Idachaba said, noting that the NBC was also working on partnerships with other corporations.

“We are confident that once the lockdown is off, we will regenerate activities around the DSO,” he added, referring to the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ali Baba discussed the impact the DSO could have on the entertainment industry when fully implemented.

While there has long been a lack of platforms for comedians in Nigeria, Ali Baba predicted that the DSO will lead to a proliferation of opportunities. “DSO is a welcome idea because there are lots of talents who just need the right platform,” he said.

“We are ready and, although platforms had been denied us because we had to pay for airtime, we now have free-to-air options.”

Aduah, whose association has been involved in Nollywood production and distribution since the days of VHS and through to VCD and DVD, outlined what the DSO would mean for the FVPMAN.

“The challenges holding down the distribution of VCD in the market is in the area of piracy, which has not been dealt with. But we are doing our best to curb it to allow VCD/DVD to sell. Everything has transitioned into digital and it is in our best interests to ensure the DSO comes to [fruition].

“When [DSO is completed] in Kano and Lagos, we are looking at the NBC to facilitate the launch so content owners can smile to the bank, because DVD is not selling as expected. This is a digital era – with the DSO, we will be able to make more sales through the use of dongles. We hope we will be able to witness the switchover so we can continue in business.”

Aduah said the NBC had work to do in order to address challenges in the distribution of content, noting: “TV stations play more foreign content than local content.”

Elsewhere during the discussion, 9Mobile’s Onafowokan talked about the importance of TV firms working with telecoms companies in the digital landscape. “Digital TV provides new features for viewers that analogue does not have, but all these depend on collaborations with telecom industries,” he said.

As part of aims to achieve the NCC’s target of 70% broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2025, around N265bn has been invested in infrastructure, with the government investing N65bn and the private sector contributing the rest, Onafowokan said.

“At 9Mobile, we give access, flexibility and mobility to clients so they can enjoy services the OTT players bring on board,” he continued. “We are empowering content owners by ensuring content is fresh and relevant; we have not ramped up our involvement in terms of collaborating with content owners and production houses, but we are providing infrastructure to ensure content is consumed.”

The session concluded with Idachaba highlighting more positives of the DSO. “We are beginning to explore the reality of tech convergence, and the key functionality of the set-top boxes will be affordable, simple, highly functional internet access for more engagements and an additional source for content dissemination,” he said.

Idachaba added that the DSO would create more opportunities for creative people thanks to the set-top boxes featuring technology that will monitor what is being watched, making it easier to identify programming priorities, fill in gaps involving the structure of content production and facilitate inter-creative exchange.

“We are hoping the Nigerian creative industry will cash in on the advantages of the ecosystem, because we believe the future of terrestrial and OTT is strong,” he said.

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NBC warns broadcasters over fake news

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned all broadcast stations against airing programmes about the Covid-19 pandemic that have no verifiable claims.

The NBC has observed a spike in the spread of fake news and misinformation, which is harming the fight against the virus, and has said it would not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on any channels that carries unverifiable claims.

The NBC highlighted sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which states that the broadcaster must ensure every programme is accurate and credible; descriptions, claims, testimonials or illustrations in an advertisement relating to verifiable facts should be easily be substantiated; and that the broadcaster must ensure an advertisement is not broadcast if it contains an offer to diagnose or treat conditions by myth or superstitious beliefs and practice.

According to the NBC: “The coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic and no station shall allow its platform to be used to undermine the seriousness of the virus, and all broadcast stations are responsible for all contents that they transmit.”

Ekanem Antia, assistant director of public affairs, said: “In compliance with the directives of the commission for pay TV to decrypt the signals of local channels on their platforms for one month, in the first instance, to enable viewers get adequate information and directives during the Covid-19 pandemic, free TV has announced unrestricted access for customers during the lockdown.”

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture, said: “If you go by WhatsApp, there are so many myths and cures for Covid-19 today. Some people will tell you it cannot affect Africans or the disease is not even existing at all, while some will say all you need to do is to take garlic or ginger.

“As we speak today, there is no vaccine or medicine for Covid-19. The only weapon to combat the virus is what we call non-pharmaceutical intervention, which largely means sensitisation, advocacy, keeping very good hygiene, social distancing, not shaking hands and not gathering.

“These are the only effective ways to contain the pandemic and that is why governments are declaring total lockdowns. Once it starts spreading, no healthcare in the world can survive it.”

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Pay TV firms told to decrypt local nets

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed pay TV operators to allow viewers to watch local channels via their platforms even after their subscriptions expired.

This directive is aimed at enabling viewers to watch daily updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

“The National Broadcasting Commission calls on all pay subscription broadcasters in Nigeria to decrypt all local channels on their bouquet to enable subscribers to their services in Nigeria access, without hindrances, daily reports and directives on the coronavirus pandemic,” said the NBC.

“The decryption is to last for one month, in the first instance. Further directives on this shall be issued by the commission after detailed assessments of subsequent development.”

The NBC has also mandated broadcasters in the country to dedicate 10% of their daily airtime to informing the public on the pandemic.

“The commission commends broadcasters that have remained steadfast and displayed professionalism this period,” the NBC added.

Referring to its earlier request that broadcast stations ensure timely basic information and updates on Covid-19, the NBC noted that broadcast stations across the country have been providing detailed reporting to educate the public on the global crisis.

 

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Idachaba named acting NBC chief

Armstrong Augustine Idachaba has been appointed acting director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) by the federal government following the suspension of Is’haq Modibbo Kawu.

Armstrong Augustine Idachaba

Idachaba joined the NBC as an assistant chief research/monitoring officer in November 1994. He was later promoted to zonal director of the then Umuahia zone, covering Uyo, Abuja, and Lagos, before becoming director, broadcast monitoring, at the NBC headquarters.

He was most recently director, broadcast policy and research.

Idachaba has previously worked as a features writer for the Nigerian Voice Newspaper and as an artist and presenter for NTA Makurdi. In addition, he has published several books on media, digital technology, theatre, and broadcast regulation.

Idachaba will continue to contribute to the commission’s monitoring and research activities.

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NBC to begin analogue switch-off

The National Broadcasting Commission has revealed that the process of switching off Nigeria’s analogue broadcast signal will begin in Abuja next year, followed by Enugu, Kaduna, Jos, Osogbo and Ilorin.

Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

Announcing the news at the recent general assembly of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria in Lagos, NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibo Kawu said the Nigerian government would release a full timeline for the digital switchover (DSO).

The government is aiming to ensure that a digital signal reaches at least 95% of the population. Information and culture minister Alhaji Lai Muhammed said: “With the DSO, the new broadcasting code will mainly focus on the protection of the creative property of content producers.”

Meanwhile, Godfrey Ohunbunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, expressed concern over the slow pace of Nigeria’s digital transition. “Regulation and funding are crucial to the success of the DSO and, without firm regulation, there would be no clarity of purpose for the DSO,” he added.

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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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Bayero University gets broadcast licence

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has granted a direct satellite broadcast licence to Kano’s Bayero University, enabling it to set up a TV station and train students in broadcasting.

Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

The news was revealed by NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu when he met the management of the university in his office.

“The commission has a tremendous partnership with the university in the area of broadcast journalism,” Modibbo Kawu said.

Bayero University vice-chancellor Muhammad Bello expressed his gratitude to the management of NBC for the licence, adding: “The institution will use the licence properly in accordance with the rules of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code for the good and betterment of the broadcasting industry as well as the development of Nigeria.

“The university has a community radio station which is presently serving the institution and its environ and the TV licence could not have come at a better time, given the unbundling of mass communication in the institution. The licence will be used for the training of students in investigative journalism and broadcasting and it will also afford the students the opportunity to practice.”

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Daar licence suspension lifted

The Federal High Court has nullified the suspension of Daar Communications’ broadcast licence ahead of a court hearing next Thursday.

Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

The suspension imposed on Daar, which owns African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM, was imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) yesterday but has now been lifted by the Federal High Court, led by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

At a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, NBC director-general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu said the reasons for the indefinite suspension included the airing of a presidential election documentary by the AIT, a matter pending before a tribunal, the inability of the company to pay its fees and the use of “divisive and inciting contents from social media.”

Modibbo said: “In their relationship with the NBC, Daar Communications carries on as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the commission. They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due and their broadcast is patently partisan and one-sided and deliberately inciting and heating up the polity.

“The management of the company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.

“Recently, NBC monitoring reports on AIT and Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of Kakaaki, tagged Kakaaki Social, where inciting comments like, ‘Nigeria is cursed,’ ‘We declare independent state of Niger Delta’, ‘Nigeria irritates me’, ‘This country is gradually Islamising’ and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast code.

“Consequently, after several meetings with the management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning, the NBC took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”

Daar Communications had asked the court to order the commission to reverse its ban, claiming that it had not breached any broadcast code.

Justice Ekwo ordered the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and the Attorney General to appear before the court on June 13 to show cause why the motion from Daar Communications should not be granted.

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NBC unveils PlayPVOD service

Olumade Adesemowo, Funmi Adenaike, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu and Ayo Adesanya

Nigerian cable network PlayTV launched its PlayPVOD service on January 30 at the 2019 general elections press conference at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)’s headquarters in Abuja.

The director general of the NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, announced the launch, saying that video-on-demand was part of the value-added service from digital switch-over (DSO).

He added that as part of DSO in Nigeria, NBC would distribute more than 5,000 set-top boxes across hospitals, public institutions, police stations, houses of assembly and other federal premises.

As well as Kawu, the launch was attended by Funmi Adenaike, general manager of PlayTV; Olumade Adesemowo, MD of Inview Nigeria; Nollywood actress Ayo Adesanya; and Kannywood actor Uzee Usman.

The PlayPVOD service offers premium Nollywood movies through the use of a customised memory dongle and brings the latest Nollywood blockbusters direct to a free set-top box.

More than 30 channels will be available on free TV. They will only be available in Abuja and Kaduna initially but will soon be offered in other states.

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NBC boss faces ICPC charges

Charges have been filed against the director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and three others by Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Is’haq Kawu Modibbo

Those charged include NBC chief Is’haq Kawu Modibbo as well as Dipo Onifade, Lucky Omonuwa and Pinnacle Communications. The charges relate to alleged irregularities in the award of a N2.5bn (US$6.9m) digital switchover (DSO) contract.

The suspects are to face trial on a 12-count charge before a federal high court in Abuja, although there is no date for their arraignment yet. The charges were filed by ICPC officials Henry Emore and Adenekan Shogunle on January 14.

According to the charges, Modibbo approved a payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle, owned by Omonuwa, as seed grant under the DSO plan of the federal government of Nigeria, even though he was allegedly aware the company was not entitled to the grant.

This is an offence and is punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Act 2000.

However, Modibbo and Pinnacle deny the allegations levelled against them, stating that the ICPC has no knowledge of the entire process of the contract award.

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BSES to reopen after election storm

The Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) is set to reopen this week after it was shut down by Nigeria’s broadcast regulator the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) last summer.

The service was taken off the air on July 15, 2018 after it made an unauthorised announcement about the results of the previous day’s state governorship election.

The directive was issued by state governor Kayode Fayemi in a statement. It read: “The re-opening is sequel to the submission of a report by the panel set up by the state government to look into the remote and immediate causes of the closure as well as Governor Fayemi’s intervention.

“Following the governor’s engagement with the NBC leadership, the regulatory body agreed to an instalmental payment of the fines slammed on the station.

“Consequently, the governor approved the January 1, 2019 commencement date and directed that all arrangements for the re-opening be concluded within the next week.”

“While appreciating NBC management, under the leadership of Isha’q Modibbo Kawu, for its understanding, Governor Fayemi said the government would put necessary structures in place to ensure that BSES is henceforth run professionally.”

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CCNL sues NBC over licence revocation

Content aggregation company Cable Channels Nigeria (CCNL) has filed a N15bn (US$41m) lawsuit against Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the revocation of its broadcasting licence.

The court hearing has began at the Federal High Court in Abuja. CCNL claims the NBC should pay special damages for revoking its licence without following due process.

Also being sued as part of the lawsuit is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The final sitting was meant to take place on October 30 but none of the defendants or their representatives showed up, so the case was adjourned until November 19 by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

CCNL points out its licence had been in use for over two years and is requesting the NBC pay almost US$5m to cover additional costs incurred, since its claims the revocation was unjustified, unknown to law and liable to be nullified.

CCNL, a consortium of Nigerian cable TV operators, also wants the court to recover its licence fee of N150m which it had initially paid. In addition, the plaintiff is requesting N15bn in damages as well as N20m for its legal fees.

The content aggregation licence issued to the plaintiff in May 28, 2015 for the transition from analogue to digital was said to have been revoked on June 22, 2018 by the NBC via a letter.

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Africast 2018 gets underway

A panel session gets under way at Africast 2018

International broadcast business event Africast is under way in Nigeria, following an opening speech by Mallam Kawu, director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The three-day event runs from October 23 to 25 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Abuja.

The 12th biennial conference and exhibition of Africa broadcasters was attended by many dignitaries and personalities. As well as Kawu, these included NBC board chairman Alh Ikra Aliyu Bilbis; Senator Suleiman Adokwe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values; and the Honourable Olusegun Dokun Odebunmi, chairman of the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.

The event started with a speech by Kawu, who emphasised the importance of this year’s Africast as a platform to keep broadcasters abreast of world class exposition.

NBC director general Mallam Kawu

“Since 1996, the NBC successfully hosted Africast as the destination broadcast event on the African continent for broadcasters, broadcast regulators, communicators and stakeholders from all over Africa and the rest of the world.

“This 12th edition will host a varied participation of over 700 delegates from across the globe and provide a platform for world-class exposition showcasing the best in creativity, innovation and technological advancements in Africa’s broadcast and media ecosystem.”

He claimed that Nigeria’s digital switchover projects had improved the country’s broadcasting. “We have brought the digital television experience to 25.4 million people in those states, with about 3.7 million television homes,” he said.

“The Nigerian digital broadcasting experience has allowed us to unfurl an architecture that has enriched us in knowledge and experience. We now know better how to bring all the components of the digital switchover together.”

On day one, the first session of paper presentations was chaired by Barr Salihu Bamidele Aluko, a member of the NBC board, while the other speakers were Engr Edward Amana, chairman of Digiteam Nigeria, and Martyn Horspool, product manager for TV transmission at GatesAir in the US.

Mac O Emakpore

The second session was chaired by Haija Sa’s Ibrahim, MD of ARTV, and featured Ijeoma Onah, founder of NITV; Shileola Ibironke, MD of Micromedia Group; Abdulkareem Mohammed; and Seamus Gallagher.

Day two featured presentations, interactive sessions, masterclasses, discussions and plenary sessions.

The first session was chaired by Professor Armstrong Idachaba, director of broadcast monitoring. The presentations looked at The Changing Demographics – How to Serve an Impatient and Highly Mobile Youth Audience, by Toyosi Ogunseye, and Digital Future – Closing the Digital Divide, by Clint Brown.

In the heated discussion, Toyosi claimed: “Broadcast has gone through several transformations in the past. Those transformations altered our viewing habits. What we are now seeing is mobile transforming the face of broadcast, allowing several social platforms to compete for our attention.”

Former director of broadcast monitoring Mac O Emakpore chaired the second session on the topic Social Media’s Tsunamic Disruption of Broadcast News and Electronic Journalism, which was presented by Prof Gerard Igyor of Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

He said: “We have seen cases of rioting caused by misinformation on electronic media, most especially social media.”

John Momoh, CEO of Channels Television, said: “Traditional media must use social media for its own good. Social media is not good or bad, it is what you use it for that matters.”

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NBC prepares for Africast 2018

International trade event Africast is set to hold its 12th biennial conference of Africa broadcasters and exhibitors in Abuja this month.

Maimuna Jimada

The international trade conference and exhibition runs between October 23 and 25 in the Ladi Kwali Hall at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers.

The event is aimed at providing a platform for manufacturers of broadcasting equipment with the opportunity to showcase their products and services. It is also a way for broadcast professionals to be informed about the latest trends in broadcasting in the international market.

Launched in 1996 by Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Africast is aimed at professionals, academics and policy makers. Focusing on The Dynamics of Broadcasting in the Digital Era, the 2018 event will also discuss how best digital switch-over can be delivered across Africa.

Nigerian companies at the event will include Channels TV, Zoommobile Telecomms, Viewer Communications, Zuma Radio, BT4 Media Group and Voice of Nigeria.

Maimuna Jimada, coordinator of the event and senior officer at NBC, said: “Africast has fast become the biggest and most comprehensive broadcast and media industry event on the continent and offers a unique platform for knowledge sharing and networking for digital broadcasters, broadcast regulators, communicators, broadcast content providers, equipment manufacturers and vendors, policy makers and other stakeholders from all over Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.

“At Africast 2018, our guests will experience three days of varied participation of up to 1000-plus delegates from across the globe. It is a platform for world-class exposition, showcasing the very best in creativity, innovation and technological advancements in Africa’s broadcast and media ecosystem.”

There will be keynote presentations, discussions, expert roundtables, networking opportunities, masterclasses, a content market with exclusive screenings of African content and an expo showcasing the latest broadcast and media technologies. Exhibitors from countries including China and Japan will attend.

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The Voice US discovers Funsho’s talent

Nigerian singer Funsho won through in style after taking part in the blind auditions for season 15 of US singing competition series The Voice.

Funsho performs on NBC’s The Voice

The 29-year-old Nigerian vocalist sang Bruno Mars’ Finesse and impressed judges Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson, who all tried to get him on their team.

Citing his influences as singers Sade, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill and Outkast, Funsho said: “I’m inspired by people who push the envelope when it comes to visual style, their message and the boundaries of their sound.”

Deciding to be on Adam’s team, Funsho added: “Going into my audition I intended on picking Adam. I’ve always been a fan of Adam and Maroon 5, and I just appreciate his artistry and what he’s done on the show, his tenure, being there since season one.

“I just felt he would be the best person to work with on the show because he knows the ins and outs. He’s been through it 14 times already. And then him saying all the complimentary things only reassured that even further.”

Funsho has released music including a debut album called Love Acoustically, a follow-up called S.H.E. (Sounds Have Emotions) in 2015 and an EP called The Free Love earlier this year. The Voice airs on Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.

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Pay TV in focus at NITV

Emeka Mba, Bamidele Adetunji, Funmi Adenaike, Zachary Wazara & Lindsey Oliver

The first panel session at the Nigeria International Television (NITV) Summit focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s pay TV industry.

Addressing the issue of sustainability and growth in the pay TV business in Nigeria, panelists discussed the challenges and ways in which these can be overcome.

Panelists included Funmi Adenaike, general manager of Play TV; Emeka Mba, former NBC director general and now CEO of Questechmedia Consulting; Bamidele Adetunji, CEO at Montage Media Group; and Zachary Wazara, CEO of Kwese TV. The session was moderated by Lindsey Oliver, CEO of Yanga TV.

The conversation kicked off with an evaluation of the industry as a whole and how it has evolved so far. Panelists agreed that rapid development of technology poses a challenge for pay TV platforms.

“The internet is changing consumer behaviour and business models,” said Wazara.

Meanwhile, despite agreeing that other industries are threatening the growth of the TV industry, Adetunji stated that the challenge to sustainability is a lack of proper recording technology and archiving.

“There was time I wanted to produce an epic Nigerian movie but was told it was unavailable because a recording had been done over the master recording, which basically means it no longer exists.

“And this leads me to ask, who has the rights to TV series like [classic Nigerian drama] Village Headmaster? Where are our formats? Where are our records? There are no local formats, yet international formats still exist,” said Adetunji.

Addressing the issue of telcos encroaching on the TV industry, Mba stated: “There are no level playing fields in an industry that is hugely dependent on technology and data to operate.”

Buttressing his point, Adenaike added: “There are enormous challenges in the industry and some pay TV companies are forced to deliver certain kinds of content because they are working with what is available, which is not much.”

Speaking about the way forward, Adetunji suggested that Nigeria should establish a commercial satellite platform so local pay TV channels don’t have to form partnerships with international satellites and pay “astronomical” amounts to air content. This is especially true when consumers do not understand a pay TV channel’s need for high prices because all they want is content at a low cost.

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NBC lecture focuses on national unity

Is’haq Modibbo Kawu delivering the NBC lecture last week

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of Nigeria held its fourth annual lecture last week, with the focus firmly on the broadcast industry’s role in fostering national unity.

Almost a week after celebrating its 26th anniversary, the NBC hosted its latest lecture on the theme of Broadcasting & Nigeria’s Ethnocultural & Religious Divide – Bridging the Gap. The conference focused on discussions about the broadcast industry and its nationwide impact.

Delivering the welcome address, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general of the NBC, stated that the aim of the lecture is to deliberate on the issues affecting the broadcast industry and how it can address the question of ethnicity and religious division in the country.

“Ethnicity and religion have become a recurrent and ever-present issue in the Nigerian polity. Broadcasting is critical to them. How we use the broadcast media can affect our ethnocultural relationship positively and negatively.

“Today, I challenge our industry to use the broadcast media to promote healthy religious propagation, religious unity, respect that is built on a faithful and credible religious foundation using our religious diversity as strength and not weakness. Our religion and culture should unite us not divide us,” he said.

Kawu further explained the role each broadcast company is expected to play in moving the country forward, particularly during the upcoming 2019 elections.

“I enjoin broadcasters to use their medium not for selfish gains but for unity and growth of the country,” he said. “We should promote healthy debate and give voters education and enlightenment so they can make informed choices.”

He further stated: “The broadcast media belongs to all of us. It is a sacred medium, not for abuses and hate speeches.”

Kawu disclosed that Nigeria has over 700 broadcast stations and the most active broadcasting industry in the African continent. He also said the NBC is determined to finish the digital switch-over (DSO) it actively re-embarked on in 2017.

The event took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, with a number of dignitaries and industry leaders present. They included the Minister of Information & Culture, Lai Mohammed (represented by Priscilla Ihuoma); Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor (represented by Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawon) and Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari.

Keynote speeches were delivered by Professor Isaac Mbachu, Political Science Nigeria Defense Academy; Professor Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, national commissioner at INEC; and Dr Armstrong Idachaba, director of broadcast monitoring at the NBC.

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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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