By Zika Bobby
Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, has said that Nigeria needs an adequate regulatory and legal framework as well as a buy-in from all stakeholders to make a successful transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting. Ugbe who stated this in a keynote address delivered at the 3rd Digital Migration Summit, organized by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), which held in Lagos said the company’s investment in Nigeria between 2011 and 2015 was above the $1 billion mark, adding that part of the investment during the four-year period was the $36 million spend on licensing fees and production of sports programmes.
He equally disclosed that the company has invested over N15 billion in the production of local content over the last 10 years. While noting that the country is a late starter on the digital migration journey, Ugbe said it can learn from the experiences of countries that have achieved digital migration and avoid the mistakes from previous exercises.
“Using the United Kingdom, Kenya and Rwanda as case studies, one common denominator is that they all opted to make Free-to-Air (FTA) cost-free in each country. Another key lesson learnt is that they all had adequate regulatory and legal framework in place and ensured that there was buy-in from all stakeholders. Everyone had a role to play – from making Set Top Boxes (STBs) affordable and partnering with the private sector which brought in investment,” he said.
Digitization, he explained, will ensure better transmission quality and make more channels available. As a result, there will be a need for compelling content.
“It is crucial to make content as engaging as possible, otherwise we will lose our audience. Compelling content is expensive to achieve as it affects cost of equipment, production and distribution, to mention a few,” he explained.
Along with digital migration, he further explained, will come a more effective use of spectrum, with a move from one analogue channel per frequency to over 20. While noting that digital migration offers many benefits, Ugbe stated that it is also accompanied by challenges.