Commonwealth body may fund Nigeria’s digital broadcasting migration, Sec-Gen says

Commonwealth body may fund Nigeria’s digital broadcasting migration, Sec-Gen says

Commonwealth body may fund Nigeria’s digital broadcasting migration, Sec-Gen says

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Mr. Shola Taylor, Secretary-General of Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) has told Technology Times that the influential technology body will offer assistance, including funding, for Nigeria to meet the 2017 digital broadcasting migration deadline.

The Nigerian-born Taylor and the Secretary-General of CTO says the group will help Nigeria, and other member countries that are facing challenges in transiting from analogue to digital broadcasting, so they can beat the 2017 deadline set for the digital transition.[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]According to Taylor, successful migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa will trigger a paradigm shift which will see content creators being paid by broadcasters for their contents, rather than them paying for airtime to broadcast their contents as it is today.[/quote]

The CTO chief, Taylor, disclosed this Friday in an interview with Technology Times at the closing ceremony of the three-day Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 organised by CTO and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos, Nigeria.

Mr. Shola Taylor, Secretary-General of Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016
Mr. Shola Taylor, Secretary-General of Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016

CTO has proposed how funds will be made available to countries that need help for transition, having heard their experiences on technical and funding challenges, he says underscoring the importance of the ongoing digital broadcasting transition for member nations of the commonwealth body.

“We were able to have countries who shared experience with us, the technical challenges they are having, the funding issues and we have proposed how funds will be made available to countries that need help for the transition” Taylor says.

“We have a capacity-building programme, which is the framework we use to assist countries and our activities are country-focused. We assist countries to solve the challenges they are having. What we offer Ghana will be different from what we offer Uganda or Fiji for example. So every country has their own specific challenges and that is what we are trying to do at CTO, to help countries in those specific challenges”, the CTO chief says.

The CTO Secretary-General explains that the body may not be able to provide all of the funding a country needs, but the body would be able to fund the basic things that each country may want to do to accelerate the transition process.

According to Taylor, successful migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa will trigger a paradigm shift which will see content creators being paid by broadcasters for their contents, rather than them paying for airtime to broadcast their contents as it is today.

“Currently, the big broadcasters today may be charging local content producers to fill the airtime. As time goes on, the reverse will be the case. They will start chasing those who have contents because when you have compelling content and it can be valued, you will start finding broadcasters who will now want to have a hold and exclusive agreement with local producers”, Taylor adds.

Attendees in group photo at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 in Lagos
Attendees in group photo at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 in Lagos

“So the challenge also is for local producers to start producing what can be compelling contents. What can be attractive to broadcasters and things will change. I am very confident about that”, says Taylor who is also impressed at the digital transition underway in Nigeria.

Taylor says he personally witnessed the Nigeria’s pilot launch in Jos and was impressed with the structure and the scheme of things which has been put in place.

The challenge now “is for those set-up box manufacturers who are supposed to start manufacturing to ensure that their line of production is active and very aggressive in order to meet the deadline the Minister has set.”

According to Taylor, “Nigeria is focusing on meeting the deadline ECOWAS has set next year and the exchange of experience which they had at this forum will definitely help them to address challenges they are having currently.”

Also speaking with Technology Times at the event, Alheri Saidu, the acting Director-General of NBC described the CTO Forum as a “fantastic one” that came at the right time.

Alheri Saidu, acting Director-General of NBC at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 in Lagos
Alheri Saidu, acting Director-General of NBC at the Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum 2016 in Lagos

“We in Nigeria have already had our pilot launch in Jos and you can see here that many countries in Africa are yet to transit successfully. But I know that by the time we come for next year, virtually if not all but half must have transited”, according to the NBC acting chief.

Saidu adds that “this forum is obviously going to help us because we have seen the mistakes other countries have made and we will make sure we don’t make such mistakes. We were also able to see what efforts they make and from that we will be able to accelerate our own efforts. I am sure that with what we have learned here, we will be able to beat the deadline.”

The forum which reviewed the current state of digital migration in Africa for three days starting from Wednesday 11th May, 2016 came to a close with votes of thanks by the CTO Secretary-General.

He thanked the NBC for a successful collaboration in hosting the three-day forum. The visibly delighted Taylor says he was particularly pleased with the focused attendance for the programme and equally thanked the attending countries and the sponsors of the event.

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Donatus Anichukwueze Technology Journalist at Technology Times Media Phone No: 08074016066 e-mail: donatus.anichukwueze@technologytimes.ng

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