Nigeria’s digital switchover (DSO) will power growth across the country’s TV industry and fuel a surge in production, according to the CEO of the company overseeing the roll-out.
The country began its switch to digital in April 2016 in the state of Jos before expanding into Nigeria’s administrative capital Abudja later that year.
Rajiv Mekkat, CEO of Cable Channels Nigeria (CCN) (left), told C21 the roll-out to-date had involved 600,000 government-backed set-top boxes being activated, with more than 450,000 subscribers now active.
Mekkat said the boxes were being well received by viewers and were beginning to generate numerous production jobs as the new channel operators sought additional programming.
“We’ll need more content, of course, and that means more production companies having to generate more of that content, and that goes back to more jobs and all the associated opportunities.”
Nollywood and Bollywood programming would remain major fixtures on the new platform, Mekkat said, but he added that other genres would be likely as the DSO project expanded.
“It’s more movies and telenovelas, they’re the main things going on now but I’m sure we’ll move into panel shows and reality series – at the moment there are only one or two. We’re not there yet but we’re catching up.”
The CCN boss admitted the roll-out to-date had been “a little slow” but said that once completed the DSO would mean “plenty more Nigerian content and allow OTT’s and other new media opportunities for international customers.”
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission licensed CCN to work across the switchover, with a remit to develop platform offerings and work on content for free-to-air and DTH services.
Mekkat said that the manufacture of the boxes would also create employment, with the intention of producing all the country’s set-top boxes in Nigeria rather than importing. “That will boost up employment and should give many Nigerians a job,” Mekkat added.