FG eyes N330bn from digitisation

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Stories by ADEDEJI FAKOREDE

THE federal government can generate as much as N330 billion yearly from digital broadcasting, should Nigeria achieve the new date of June 20, 2017 for the country’s Digital Switchover (DSO), according to National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Digital switchover is the name given to the process by which analogue terrestrial television is being replaced with digital terrestrial television. It is sometimes referred to as the “analogue switch off”.
The director-general, NBC, Emeka Mba said although Nigeria had missed out twice in its DSO plan, the recent date, being June 17, 2015, the country still has huge opportunity to catch up with DSO, should government sees it as self-sustaining project that will contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mba said if properly managed, government could generate N100 billion from digital spectrum sales, N30 billion annually from digital dividend and N200 billion annually from additional advertising, content and Nollywood income streams.
These, he said, were aside the estimated 55,000 highly skilled jobs that would be generated, when Nigeria eventually achieve its new DSO mandate of June 20, 2017.
He said the amount remained achievable, owing to the fact that only four million out of the 26 million television household in Nigeria, have gone digital. He explained that the remaining 22 million that have not gone digital, portends a huge market for Nigeria and that the federal government stands the chance of generating so much money from digital switchover.
Explaining the extent of preparation by NBC to achieve the June 20, 2017 new deadline for DSO, Mba said arrangements were on ground to relaunch the pilot phase of DSO in Jos, Plateau State by first week in November, 2015, and in other cities of the country before end of the year.
He said over 500,000 set top boxes would be manufactured and channeled to Jos for the relaunch.
“Offshore mass production and delivery of initial subverted boxes for Jos pilot project is envisaged to be completed by the end of October, while the local manufacture of the set top boxes is expected to begin in April next year'” Mba said, adding “By the end of November 2015, we plan to complete the process of setting up the contact centre, which becomes available for all enquiries from members of the public regarding the implementation of the DSO.”
Speaking on the benefits of DSO to consumers, Mba said by the time Nigeria would go digital, Nigerians would receive over 30 new free to air channels per annum for the price of a N1, 500 set top boxes.
He said consumers would take advantage of a host of value added services such as news, information and video on demand.
To corroborate Mba on the benefit of consumer over video on demand, Ericsson’s latest edition of the annual Ericsson Consumer Lab TV and Media Report, revealed that consumers were embracing video on-demand services like never before, with the current viewing rate, reaching 35 per cent.
The report reveals a 71 per cent increase in watching video on smartphones since 2012, which, is nearly two thirds of teenagers’ total TV and video viewing time spent on a mobile device.

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