Government targets MultiChoice monopoly
The Nigerian government has moved to end pay TV group MultiChoice’s monopoly on broadcasting sporting events in the country.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the country’s minister of information and culture, has issued a directive to end the group’s exclusive right to air high-profile sports events and also urged the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to re-position the broadcasting industry.
In line with a report approved by president Muhammadu Buhari, the minister has instructed broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share previously exclusive rights with other broadcasters.
“This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly, market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcaster in the television and radio markets,” he said.
The move has “removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” Mohammed added.
The breaking up of the monopoly will boost reach, maximise the utilisation by all broadcasters of premium content and grow their platforms and investment in other content, he said.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity. 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,” said Mohammed.