Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, has claimed that the country is building Africa’s biggest and most lucrative free-to-air TV platform.
At the recent digital switchover (DSO) launch in Osun State, Mohammed said he is convinced that Nigeria will become the capital of African television within a few years.
“With over 24 million TV households, and being the capital of African creativity in music and film, I am now more than convinced that we will also become the capital of television in Africa within the next few years,” he said.
He urged phone companies to take advantage of the opportunities set before them by getting data across to the 24 million TV households in the country with set-top boxes.
According to the minister, content providers will be paid to have their programmes aired, and this will be done through an audience measurement system. “To Nollywood, your movies can now be sold directly to all homes in Nigeria without the need of a VCD, DVD or even the internet, using the DSO platform to market and sell films,” he added.
Mohammed also encouraged the state government to engage residents in the DSO transitions by creating jobs for them in production and distribution.
“I congratulate the people of this state [Osun], who will now have access to more than 30 digital channels, with crystal clear pictures and hi-fidelity audio, once they procure our most affordable set-top box,” he said.
Osun State governor Rauf Aregbesola expressed gratitude to the federal government and the minister for making the DSO transition possible and bringing new opportunities to broadcasting.
However, he appealed to the government for control measures on the Free TV platform to avoid explicit and offensive programmes.
As part of the launch event, Mohammed donated 100 set-top boxes to the state.
Osun State is the sixth to undergo DSO transition in Nigeria. So far, DSO has taken place in five states: Abuja, Jos, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu.