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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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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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The Sing-Off hits right note in Nigeria

The Sing-Off was adapted by SABC in South Africa

US talent show format The Sing-Off is set to be adapted in Nigeria after Montage Media Group acquired rights to the property from Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

The Sing-Off is an ‘a capella’ singing contest aired on NBC in the US between 2009 and 2014. It offers a platform for vocal groups to compete and showcase their skills with a chance to win a recording contract.

Bamidele Adetunji, CEO of Montage Media Group, said: “We are pleased to be in partnership with one of the biggest names in global media and entertainment business.

“As a responsible corporate, we are determined to bring the best of the world into the Sub-Saharan African market through our various content, production and technology collaborations to ensure the growth of the media and entertainment landscape, particularly in Nigeria; the nation that hosted the first television infrastructure in Africa.

“Talents and their discovery isn’t the problem in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, but the issue is what becomes of them after they’ve been discovered. Through this relationship, we want to nurture discovered talents and provide them with a global platform to thrive in an increasingly competitive media and entertainment landscape.”

John Rossiter, exec VP of distribution and networks, CEEMA at SPT, said: “We can’t wait to bring action-packed series The Sing-Off to African audiences and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Montage to deliver many more exciting projects in the future.”

The Sing-Off began airing in the US, where it ran for five seasons on NBC, produced by SPT, Outlaw Productions and UA Media Group. It garnered nearly 10 million viewers before being adapted in countries such as China, France, the Netherlands and South Africa. It is produced and internationally distributed by SPT.

Montage Media Group is a media consultancy and investment company with a focus on delivering quality services in the pay TV, mobile TV and content acquisition and production.

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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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NGO calls for NBC chief to go

Nigerian digital rights body Paradigm Initiative has called for the removal of Modibbo Kawu, director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), over a social media message.

Mallam Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu

The non-governmental organisation made the request through a letter to NBC’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo, claiming Kawu recently made provocative and tribalistic comments on a WhatsApp group that could incite hatred.

As Paradigm Initiative pointed out in its letter, the NBC monitors all Nigerian broadcast stations and sanctions them if they breach the national broadcasting code.

However, NBC’s director general seems not to abide by the same rules, Paradigm Initiative alleges.

“We do not believe that Mr Modibbo has the moral compass to continue to administer the affairs of the NBC. This country deserves leaders who not only promise the rule of law and the observance of democratic principle but also administer it, not only during office hours but every day of their lives,” the company said.

Boye Adegoke

Boye Adegoke, programme manager at Paradigm Initiative, added: “Given the sensitive nature of Mr Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the director general of the commission responsible for, among other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. It will be hypocritical for him to remain in office and continue to determine what is broadcast and what is not.”

Further details are yet to be disclosed about the complaint or any responses to it.

The NGO’s request comes days after Tony Akiotu, MD of Daar Communications, said the NBC’s recent sanctioning of Daar’s TV station was “inappropriate.”

Paradigm Initiative is an indigenous organisation that aims to ensure that the rule of law and human rights are adhered to in the digital age.

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Broadcast regulator closes ESBS

Nigerian regulator the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has shut down the Ekiti State Broadcasting Service (ESBS).

The closure of the broadcaster comes just days after NBC fined ESBS a total of N500,000 (US$1,380) for breach of the Nigerian broadcasting code regarding the appointment of a political spokesman as acting director general.

According to NBC, it ordered the closure of the state’s broadcast service because, despite several warnings, ESBS aired the “unauthorised declaration of the governorship election results by the state governor Ayodele Fayose,” it said.

Fayose is said to have also made malicious comments against the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Nigerian Police and the Department of Security Services while on air. These acts forced NBC to shut down ESBS until further notice.

In a press release, NBC emphasised that broadcast stations should conduct “proper gate-keeping and professionalism in all programmes transmitted on their stations.” If these warnings are ignored, NBC is able to impose sanctions on organisations that breach the Nigeria broadcasting code.

NBC also stated that social media is not a recognised source or platform to announce election results. Thereby, broadcasters are expected to follow due process, acting according to the nation’s broadcasting code.

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NBC fines nets for code breaches

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has issued fines to two TV stations, ITV in Jalingo and IBC (Orient TV) in Owerri, for breaching the country’s broadcasting code.

Maimuna Jimada

The channels were fined N100,000 and N50,000, respectively.

NBC’s head of public affairs Maimuna Jimada said the stations were being penalised for their breach of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and for airing programmes that feature vulgar lyrics, hate speech and unverifiable claims.

According to Jimada, all of these breaches were committed in the third quarter of 2017. Poor training of staff and editors was partly to blame for these breaches of ethics and the broadcast code, the NBC exec added.

Many staff at the stations are either untrained or undertrained and don’t know which words, videos and claims are off-limits for broadcast, leading to uncensored music videos, talkshows and movies that breach the broadcasting code.

Part of NBC’s duty is to organise regular training and refresher courses for staff at TV stations.

Speaking at a press conference, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “The nation looks up to the NBC to restore sanity to the broadcasting industry. The Commission cannot afford to do any less at this critical time. It cannot afford to fail the nation.”

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