Tag Archives: DSO

Nigeria ready to complete DSO process

The federal government of Nigeria is gearing up to conclude the nationwide digital switchover (DSO) process.

Lai Mohammed

A 13-member ministerial task force has been assembled to handle the conclusion of the DSO process across the country.

As well as information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, members of the task force include Armstrong Idachaba of the National Broadcasting Commission, Edward Amana and Tunde Adegbola of government DSO body Digiteam, and Hajia Sa’s Ibrahim of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.

Mohammed said that with the release of about N9.4bn (US$24.6m) by the federal government for the conclusion of the DSO process, there should be no excuse by the ministerial committee for not swiftly rolling out DSO across the country.

“We have studied the trend and it is clear that we have to reduce government involvement in the DSO ecosystem and allow the private sector to take the lead, on purely commercial terms,” Mohammed said.

“With the devastating effects of Covid-19 and the fall in government revenues, the federal government can no longer afford to subsidise the programme, especially set-top-boxes and signal carriage, which ordinarily can and should be highly competitive commercial ventures.”

Mohammed continued: “In order to begin the commercialisation of DSO, we need to create a structure and an ecosystem that is self-sufficient, self-reliant and able to generate revenue that will drive strategic growth in key areas. The details of that structure are for the task force to explore.

“My decision to set up the ministerial task force to drive the DSO process is hinged on the fact that a successful digital switchover is a massive job creator and a huge revenue generator. This process is capable of creating over one million jobs over the next three years.”

According to Vanguard Nigeria, the minister broke down the jobs that could be created by the DSO into the manufacturing sector (between 40,000 and 50,000 jobs), television production (over 200,000 jobs), film production (between 350,000 and 400,000 jobs), distribution (over 100,000 jobs), television and online advertising (about 50,000 jobs), as well as others.

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Kano state goes digital

Lai Mohammed (right) at the unveiling of the Kano state digital switchover

The digital switchover (DSO) has launched in Kano state after an official event at the Coronation Hall in the state’s Government House.

Edward Idris Amana, chairman of Digiteam, a group of stakeholders set up by the Nigerian government to coordinate the country’s migration from analogue to digital, said the move was another milestone in Nigeria’s journey to full digitisation.

“This journey started in Jos in April 2016 with the launch of the pilot scheme. This was quickly followed with successes in Abuja, Enugu, Kaduna, Ilorin, Osogbo, Lagos and now in Kano,” he said.

Amana added that the next point of call would be Port Harcourt, confirming that plans had reached an advanced stage to make sure the launch in Port Harcourt is a success.

“All the successes achieved so far couldn’t have been possible without the untiring efforts and leadership of the honourable minister of information, Lai Mohammed, together with his team, members of the Digiteam, ministerial task force and others,” he said.

John Ugbe, CEO of pay TV company MultiChoice and chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, commended regulator the NBC for the switch from analogue to digital, adding that he had no doubt the NBC has dedicated staff who have the capability to achieve a successful switchover.

Mohammed said the DSO is aimed at creating a more equitable, just and people-centred information society that will connect underserved populations and remote communities, thereby bridging the digital divide. “The federal government is vigorously implementing a nationwide process of transitioning from analogue to digital TV broadcasting,” he said.

Looking back at efforts made so far with the launch in Lagos, Jos and other states, the minister added: “The journey may have been slow but it has been steady and we will keep it so.”

He added that with DSO, there will be improved picture and graphics, enhanced information services, improved digital services in remote areas, availability of over 60 digital channels, movies, and the transmission of free TV, which is readily available throughout the country.

The federal government is promoting DSO because it is critical to the prosperity of the creative industry, the minister added.

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Gov’t halts DSO subsidies

Nigeria’s federal government has announced that it will no longer offer digital switchover (DSO) subsidies for either set-top boxes or signal carriage as it prepares to resume rolling out the switchover.

Lai Mohammed

Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed revealed the news during a meeting with various DSO architecture stakeholders.

He noted that although the government was looking for money to pay outstanding debts and restart the DSO roll-out, the process would be fully private sector-driven and self-sustaining.

He said: “On our part, we have made tremendous progress in our efforts to get the much-needed funds for the DSO process, in particular to pay outstanding debts that will ginger stakeholders to resume the roll-out and bring the massive benefits of the DSO to Nigerians.

“As I speak, we are putting finishing touches to a memo we plan to send to the federal executive council as part of our relentless efforts to secure the funds to restart the process, and we are very optimistic that our efforts will pay off soon. The analogue to digital switchover must not be delayed any longer than absolutely necessary.”

Following the successful DSO in April 2016 in Jos, Plateau State, the government announced the reduction of the price of set-top boxes from the N10,000 to N1,500 in order to make them affordable to all Nigerians. In addition, around 200,000 boxes were given out free of charge, while the Plateau government announced subsidy plans for its citizens and promised to distribute 300,000 boxes to them.

Mohammed said that moving ahead with the DSO was critical to the post-Covid prosperity of the creative industry. He recalled the enthusiasm that greeted the DSO in Jos, noting that the process had been delayed by many factors, especially lack of funds.

“After the launch of the pilot phase in Jos, the launch train moved fairly quickly to Abuja on December 22, 2016, then to Ilorin, Kwara State, on December 20, 2017, and Kaduna two days later,” he said.

“We then proceeded to Enugu on February 12, 2018, and finally to Osogbo, Osun State, on February 23, 2018. Over two years later, we have not launched the DSO in any state, even when we have 31 more states to cover.

“The bottom line is that we need to think out of the box if we are to complete this process. Nigerians have waited far too long to enjoy the benefits of digital television,.”

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Government to resume DSO roll-out

Nigeria’s federal government has revealed that it will soon resume digital switchover (DSO) across the country.

Lai Mohammed
Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed made the announcement at a ceremony during the unveiling of the new amendment to the sixth edition of the broadcasting code.

He said DSO was put on hold after it was launched in six states and reiterated the commitment of the government to spreading the benefits of digital television to the people, stressing that it was the fastest way to create jobs.

He assured stakeholders they would hear from the government on the resumption of the DSO roll-out in the coming weeks.

“The government had been implementing policies and programmes to reposition the creative industry and one of the major recommendations of the post Covid-19 initiative committee on the creative industry chaired by ace comedian Ali Baba was a restructuring of the industry,” said the minister.

He said the government would soon set up a committee looking at the implementation of the recommendations to move the industry forward. He also reiterated its commitment to assisting the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria in securing the N10bn Nigeria Media Intervention Fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The roll-out of DSO began in Jos, Plateau in April 2016 and moved to Abuja, Ilorin, Kaduna and Enugu in Oshogbo in February 2018 and Benin City in 2019.

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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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DSO offers 30 new channels

Over the Christmas season, 30 or more local and national TV channels were made available on Nigeria’s FreeTV platform, thanks to digital switchover (DSO).

Lucky Omoluwa

The extra digital bandwidth made available by DSO has meant more television channels can be offered to homes with the right digital TV equipment.

Lucky Omoluwa, chairman of Nigerian tech firm Pinnacle Communications, said Nigeria’s population is now “more informed about the country’s events and issues” since DSO has been implemented in the country.

According to Omoluwa, the switch from analogue broadcasts in Nigeria has immense benefits on its citizens and the country as a whole. His comments were made as part of his annual Christmas announcement.

Pinnacle is reportedly the only private licensed national signals distributor as part of the DSO Nigeria programme.

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Free set-top boxes in Enugu

Ten thousand Enugu residents will receive free set-top boxes as part of the digital switchover (DSO) in the state.

Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

The giveaway was revealed by state governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi during a meeting held to mark the launch of the DSO in Enugu at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) headquarters in the state.

Ugwuanyi expressed his delight at the transition and said the boxes would be given to low-income families.

“As a state, we are fully conscious of possible discomfort that economically challenged families will face when they experience disruption in accessing free-to-air television,” he said. “This, in our judgement, is the major reason the federal government has committed to produce and subsidise 10 million set-top boxes for distribution to poor households in Nigeria.

“We are keen to encourage the federal government to make good this promise so that this unique service will be available to most Nigerians, especially the rural poor.”

Also present at the launch meeting were Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, and NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu. Mohammed urged Nigerians to support the ongoing revolution in the broadcast industry.

Enugu is the first state in Nigeria’s southern region to undergo the DSO. The switchovers in Enugu and Osun were announced by Modibbo Kawu at a DSO forum in January, when it was also revealed that Delta and Gombe would experience the transition before the first quarter of the year ends.

So far, the DSO has reached five states: Abuja, Jos, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu. NBC plans to carry out the switch in 12 more states before 2018 ends.

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Subair: take back control of our TV

Toyin Subair, exec chairman of media company Digital Play, has called out to the federal government to regain control of Nigeria’s TV industry from foreign companies.

Toyin Subair

In a recent interview with newspaper The Nation, Subair said Nigeria has the biggest creative industry in Africa but is unable to monetise its content because of the invasion of foreign TV companies. These control the TV infrastructure and dictate what is broadcast, he claimed.

According to Subair, home-based infrastructure is what is needed to help the industry thrive. “We need to fight the infrastructural battle. We need to own the platforms. We need to get the right kind of funding,” he said.

“We need to ensure that our stories are told the way we want them to be told and that they are not bastardised by the ones controlling it. Somebody else is deciding what goes on and what doesn’t, when it should go out and how it shouldn’t go out. You don’t want that; you don’t want people to take our creativity out of the country.”

Subair, former CEO of now defunct Nigerian pay TV outfit HiTV, said the digital switch over (DSO) transition will be instrumental in the nation’s control over its content, with the advent of set-top boxes ensuring content creators have access to more than 24 million TV households.

However, he pleaded with the Nigerian government to ensure that DSO is not taken over by foreign companies.

He also claimed that while DSO is lucrative it needs to be funded. “They say there is no money, but how can you say there is no money? The very essence of DSO is that you free up spectrum that people can use to go and sell data and make data cheaper via LT 4G 5G.

“So, 16 analogue TV channels find that if they move to digital, they will only need a fraction of it and then you can take the rest and sell it. With regards to the funding of DSO, we are sitting on it ourselves with no transaction being done properly to free it. It’s like a chicken and egg situation.

“You are sitting on the money but you need to monetise it. You just need a few smart people in one room, create a model where it is used as security to fund the rest of DSO, and then once it is funded and you remove the people, you use the asset and sell it off to monetise the investment. Now, what I just said looks simple; we make it difficult for ourselves.”

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