The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has instructed broadcasters and licensees to refrain from acquiring foreign sporting rights that will exclude other broadcasters in Nigeria from sub-licensing them.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the NBC, told a press briefing in Abuja that the decision to amend the NBC code is key to repositioning the broadcasting industry and making it more responsive, to protect it from monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior and stimulate advertising revenue, and by extension, the local creative industry.
Acknowledging the mixed reaction to the release of the amendment, he said the commission would take this into consideration.
“Only recently, on March 27, I announced the release of some amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition). The commission wishes to reiterate the fact that the objectives of the amendments are in our national best interest,” he said.
“We currently have a highly rated and hugely talented creative industry in Nigeria, but the fact remains that content producers are unable to harness the benefits of their creative endowment due largely to monopolistic restrictions and anti-competitive behaviour. There is no doubt that the Nigerian broadcasting industry is facing a series of challenges. These include inability for the broadcasters to generate required funds from advertising and programming.
“Local producers of content are no longer able to create content for television. This has led to an influx of foreign production companies, some of them unregistered and unlicensed by the Nigerian government. These companies have taken over the local content production space and, by extension, the advertising and broadcasting space, relegating local entrepreneurs to oblivion. The commission believes in the broadcasting industry but this must be done with a noble philosophy to promote our own national dreams and vision.’’
Commending all those who have contributed to the debate about the amendment, he added that the change to the code will improve investment in Nigeria and benefit media entrepreneurs and audiences.
“We know that broadcasting is dynamic; so are the challenges to regulation. The commission has noted all the concerns and observations, especially on 9.0.1 and 6.2.8. Section 6.2.8, which clearly points that, ‘Exclusivity shall not be allowed for sporting rights in the Nigerian territory and in furtherance thereof, no broadcaster or licensee shall license or acquire foreign sporting rights in such a manner as to exclude persons, broadcasters or licensees in Nigeria from sub-licensing the same.’
“Similarly, on 9.0.1, the point is that a broadcaster or licensee shall immediately after the coming into force of this amendment be prohibited from effecting informal agreements, written and oral agreements, explicit or implicit understandings or implementing concerted practices either exclusively or between market players that have as their object, intent, effect or purpose the restriction of competition, abuse of a dominant position or of substantial market power or create barriers to entry in the broadcast media industry in Nigeria.”