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.
“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.
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.”