MultiChoice Nigeria’s recently launched talent-search initiative, the MTF Academy, has received a number of book donations for its library.
Those who have donated include Emeka Mba, former director general of the National Broadcasting Commission, who provided 300 books; and movie producer Lilian Amah, who gave 10 copies of her most recently published book.
Meanwhile, professor Abraham Linus, former dean of Ghana’s National Film & Television Institute, donated two copies of his book on visual literacy, while the Committee for the Relevant Arts has provided 100 books.
The wide range of books includes autobiographies, novels, biographies and topics such as the arts. The donations are an attempt to ensure a reading culture among students at the MTF Academy.
Mba said: “MultiChoice, through the MTF project, has rewritten the narrative of the creative industry by investing in the students of the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy.
“Sharing ideas and knowledge is key, and knowledge is the only thing that you share and it grows. You cannot be a good lawyer if you don’t read cases. So, if you want to be a good filmmaker with impactful stories to tell, you have to read.”
Former Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) director general Emeka Mba tells Content Nigeria about the challenges that come with the digital transformation of telcos.
Partnerships and collaborations are key to evolving and widening any company’s scope, and in the content industry, telcos and broadcasters have often partnered to launch VoD and OTT services to their customers. This has recently been the case in Nigeria, but the rise of OTT services has brought its own challenges.
At the recently concluded Creative Nigeria Summit, Georgiev Stanislav, head of media broadcasting at A1 Telekom Austria Group, moderated a panel session featuring Toyin Subair, exec chairman of Digital Play, and Emeka Mba, the former director general of the NBC. The panellists discussed the digital transformation of telcos and the resulting challenges.
In this exclusive interview with Content Nigeria, Mba sheds more light on some of these issues and offers solutions.
What are the regulatory challenges facing Nigeria and do you think regulators are holding the industry back?
I wouldn’t say they’re holding back the industry wilfully; no, it’s the way the regulatory environment is set up. The world is converging but, as far as digital media is concerned, they don’t know that. They still operate within a certain scope.
In this country, telecommunications operators are separate from broadcast and satellite; there is not enough synergy between them. Realistically speaking, when technology and consumption patterns are converging, the operators and regulators do not collaborate.
Therefore, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a separation will occur, a tear that causes a backward shift in terms of investment.
The regulatory environment is so unclear that these companies fear that if they lean in too much, they might run the risk of heavy fines. So everybody wants to pull back and hedge their bets. Rather than coming in directly, they prefer to look for gaps and loopholes. They avoid making the right investments. These are where the challenges lie.
I’ve been a regulator in broadcasting and film and I know the challenges. I was one of those who opposed convergence. I said to leave the NBC alone, leave the Nigerian Communications Commission alone, leave the film and music censors board alone, they don’t need to merge.
Now, I’ve come to realise the reality: there would be no link-up if there were no formal discussions, some sort of structure, some kind of talks other than the frequency management council where, they meet and discuss sharing of spectrum and so on.
There should be a body that harmonises these other bodies, especially the business models that are merging. These discussions need to be had.
What solutions do you suggest?
We need to find the best way to create this by having what we call the ‘convergence regulator.’ This could be in the form of an institution or some level of informal discussion with the CEOs of these bodies. They can discuss how these business models are beginning to affect their own industries on a day-to-day basis. That’s important and should be done as regularly as possible, either quarterly or biannually.
Would you say anything has been done correctly in terms of convergence?
Oh yes. Look at what some of the telcos are doing – you have big players like MTN experimenting with video, things like MTN Laughs. They have different apps that they are pushing and that’s quite innovative. Airtel and Globacom are trying to do the same thing. They are doing it but there’s a certain weariness on their part to do it on a grand scale because of the uncertainty of regulators, and that’s what needs to be cleared up. Once it’s cleared up, bigger decisions can then be made.
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.