Digital switch over, new dawn in TV broadcasting – Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting is a new dawn that
will revolutionize television broadcasting in the entire West African
sub-region.

Alhaji Mohammed stated this in Abuja while addressing
journalists on the roll-out of the pilot phase of the Digital Switch
Over (DSO) in Jos, Plateau State, on Saturday.

He said that with this development, television broadcasting will no
longer be the same.

“As I said earlier, the Digital Switch Over (DSO) roll-out last
Saturday was nothing short of a revolution in broadcasting. The DSO is
an evolving media landscape that affects us all and how we receive,
watch, monetize and develop television and production going forward.
Therefore, what happened in Jos at the weekend is momentous, the dawn
of a new era for Government, TV Channels, Producers, Advertisers and,
most importantly, the Nigerian TV customer,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He underscored the political will mustered by the Buhari
Administration to record such a feat, saying before the advent of this
government, the nation had missed the transition deadline twice,
thereby eroding the confidence of investors and the public in the DSO

“When we came in about six months ago, a cloud of uncertainty and
confusion hung over Nigeria’s digital transition. There were no
Set–Top Boxes, without which the transition could not be kick-started;
there was no established Signal Distributor on ground. There were no
software and security devices for protection of the boxes. The banks
had cancelled the Letters of Credit that were granted for the
importation of Set-Top Boxes and no one could say for sure if indeed
we will meet the third deadline of June 2017 to fully switch on
digital broadcasting and switched off analogue broadcasting.

“But we swung into action, setting up an inter-ministerial task force
to drive the process, in a show of political will. After a series of
meetings and concrete actions to resolve knotty issues, investor and
stakeholder confidence was restored and we were firmly set on the path
that led to last Saturday’s roll-out,” the Minister said.

While enumerating the benefits of digital broadcasting, Alhaji
Mohammed said 15 channels with high-resolution pictures and hi
fidelity sound were unveiled at the initial stage and that after the
full transition to digital, over 30 TV channels will be watched by
over 30 million viewers, making Nigeria one of the biggest markets for
free to air TV in the world.

The Minister said unlike the analogue broadcasting, the digital
broadcasting technology is not limited to the delivery of television
programmes only but there are value added and interactive services
such as Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), television shopping, weather
forecasts, electronic newspapers etc which can also be accessed on the
television set by the viewer, ushering in a new television viewing
experience.

In addition, he disclosed that movie and music producers will now have
a unique opportunity to release their works directly to TV households,
which will be a big blow to those who pirate their works.

Alhaji Mohammed also spoke on the economic gains of the DSO, saying:
“In terms of the economy, all licensed Set-Top Box manufacturers have
been mandated to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria.