Digital Switchover in Nigeria

Nigerian Government approves N9.4bn for completion of Digital Switchover

*Digital Switchover is now real, and the economic effect of it will be the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in content production, channel distribution, Nollywood and electronic appliance productions to service about 20 million Nigerian homes ─Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information and Culture

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N9.43 billion to complete the Digital Switchover (DSO), which Nigeria had missed the deadline set for implementation several times.

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the Council meeting Wednesday, February 10 in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.

The Minister said of the oft-postponed DSO by the country, that “as you know, the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) had two cut off dates, one in 2017 another in 2020, where nations were supposed to completed their movement from analogue to digital. Regrettably, we were not able to make it.

Alhaji Mohammed stated: “But with the approval of this memo today, we would be striving to switch from analogue to digital.

“We will now agree on a date for a launch in the biggest cities like Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. And we will start the switch off in the already switched on states.

“The effect of the move today is that, digital switch over is now real and the economic effect of it will be the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in content production, channel distribution, Nollywood and electronic appliance productions to service about 20 million Nigerian homes.”

According to him, “at the end of the Switchover, we will have created the biggest free to air TV platform in Africa.

“I will be announcing a ministerial task force that will execute the Council’s resolve either this week or next.”

ConsumerConnect recalls that Mohammed, on the DSO project, inaugurated the Task Team on Audience Measurement June 2, 2020, in Abuja.

The Minister charged the team to develop an industry framework that would serve as a catalyst for putting in place a robust Audience Measurement System that meets international standards for the advancement of the creative industry in the country.

“The absence of a world-class measurement regime has resulted in under-investment in the sector, which is necessary to foster the growth of the industry,” he noted.

The advertising community, he said, continues to rely on subjective factors when making decisions on the content they want, as against how many viewers the content truly attracts.

Mohammed also emphasised the need for an objective and scientific Audience Measurement System that articulates the value of the content to consumers, while creating value of the audience to advertisers, especially in the television sector.

For the Digital Switchover (DSO) in broadcasting to be effective, he said that there has to be a robust Audience Measurement System to make it sustainable for Signal Distributors, Channel Owners, TV Content Producers and Advertisers.

He added: “The Digital Switchover (DSO) of our television from analogue is now well underway, and we are set to announce a new, accelerated agenda, in order to ensure that the DSO becomes a veritable tool to help lift the Creative Industry out of the crippling effect of COVID-19.”

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