From Uche Usim, Abuja
Hopes of having 12 states migrate from analogue television to digital satellite broadcasting by December 2017 may have been dashed as stakeholders in the business are singing discordant tunes, currently creating some in-house squabbles that may further retard the momentum of the project.
One of the stakeholders, Cable Channels Nigeria Ltd (CCNL), a cable aggregation company and owners of Free TV, at the weekend, registered its dissatisfaction over what it termed gross misinformation and blatant lies aimed at discrediting its efforts in engineering the transition to digital broadcasting in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the company, Kunle Afolabi, at a press briefing in Abuja, debunked rumours that it collected N20 billion to produce set up boxes to facilitate the migration process. He also appealed to relevant authorities to hurriedly assist players with needed incentives to make the migration a success.
He insisted that CCNL, as a conglomerate of several cable operators in the country, was the official Nigerian Licensed content aggregator for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Digital Satellite (DSAT) free to view platforms with the responsibilities to manage, market and promote to the final consumer as part of the Nigerian National Digital Switchover (DSO) strategy.
Afolabi said despite the sustained attacks, CCNL, since its incorporation in 2009, has transited to digital broadcasting, a situation which made the company the preferred choice as content aggregator (to buy rights for broadcast in Nigeria) when digital broadcasting was launched in Jos and Abuja respectively.
“When we came in, we discovered that digitalisation was very alien to our society and thus we’ve been helping out in the entire digital ecosystem switch over to educate Nigerians about the whole idea. Our responsibilities centre around platform management, content management, consumer audience measurement, signal contribution, promotion and branding, among others.
“At the commencement of DSO, we designed and developed the Free TV set boxes and distributed them. We also provided strategic consultation services to NBC, we interfaced with all stakeholders ranging from channel owners to signal distributors. We asked them for standard for the format of sending their signals and we helped with distribution of the set boxes to users. “We undertook training sessions to ensure that installers are trained on the complete installation of Free TV decoders, produced and distributed retail training packs with essential information for DSO and organised ‘town storming’ activities to educate end users on the digitalisation process.”