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Anti-competition: Nigeria outlaws Multichoice’s DSTV exclusive rights

Isola Moses

The Federal Government of Nigeria has outlawed exclusivity rights in broadcasting sporting events in the country.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information and Culture, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja, Thursday, January 9, 2020.

Mr. Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister for Information and Culture made the statement available to newsmen.

ThisDay reports the statement has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately implement measures aimed at sanitising and re-positioning the broadcast industry.

The Minister explicitly directed the NBC to implement a new regulation mandating broadcasters and exclusive licencees to share such exclusive rights with other broadcasters.

“This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets.

“This is so, having removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

Mohammed said the new regulation was contained in the report of the committee which he set up to work out the modalities for implementing the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to re-position the broadcast industry.

Reports say the Minister inaugurated the NBC Reform Implementation Committee October 10, 2019, and the Committee, chaired by Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, submitted its report on November 19 same year.

Meanwhile, the Minister has stressed that the break in monopoly will boost reach and also maximise utilisation by all broadcasters of premium content, in order to grow their platforms and investment in other content.

Recall that Mohammed, last year, said that the Federal Government was determined to end all forms of monopoly in broadcasting because “it is detrimental to the actualisation of the immense potential in the industry.”

“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity.

“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices,” he emphasised.

According to the Minister, “you cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access.

“Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out.

With the new directive, television viewers, especially lovers of sports may witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of high-profile sporting events.

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