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Enugu to Distribute Free Setup Boxes as FG Launches DSO



Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has offered to distribute 10,000 setup boxes valued at N15 million, for free to low income households in rural areas to enable them access digital television.


Ugwuanyi made the disclosure in Enugu on Monday at the launch of Digital Switchover in the state by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information.


The governor described the launch as a `landmark’ in television broadcasting in Nigeria.


He said that the gesture was to ensure that low income households were not denied opportunities of accessing digital television contents.


Ugwuanyi said that the setup boxes which were the major accessory that would, henceforth, enable television viewers in the state watch more channels, would be distributed immediately.


The governor said that the state government was fully conscious of the possible discomfort economically challenged families would face as a result of disruption in accessing free to air television contents.


“This, in our judgment, is the major reason the Federal Government has committed to subsidise 10 million setup boxes for distribution to poor households in Nigeria,” he said.


Ugwuanyi said that Enugu had the distinction of being the first state in Southern Nigeria to be switched on to the digital terrestrial television broadcast.


“As a government, we have intervened on behalf of our people by purchasing 10,000 setup boxes which will be distributed free to low income households identified in our rural areas.


“Our goal is to enable less economically endowed families to continue to receive even more television channels after this ceremony.


“The boxes will be distributed after this ceremony in such a manner that it will reach all the 475 autonomous communities in the state,” he said.


The governor said that local government councils would also cease the opportunity offered by the process to increase the internally generated revenue.


Ugwuanyi thanked the Information Minister for donating 100 setup boxes to the state government, adding that the boxes would in turn be distributed to security agencies in the state.


He said that it was gratifying to bid farewell to analogue broadcasting in the state.


“This underscores the pragmatism the government and leadership of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) have brought to bear in broadcasting industry,” Ugwuanyi said.


Earlier, the Director General of the NBC, Mr Is’haq Kawu said that the digital switch-over would enhance the broadcast value chain and open up jobs for Nigerians.


Kawu said that the switch-over would afford television viewers watch new generation of Nigerian contents.


The DG said that it would also address poor reception of television signals especially in rural areas.


The highlight of the event was the official switch-over from analogue to digital television broadcasting at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Enugu by Ugwuanyi in company of the minister and NBC DG.


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Kwesé Buys Stake in iflix to Broaden SVOD Offering



Pan-African entertainment company and Econet Wireless subsidiary Kwesé has acquired ‘significant’ stake in Malaysian-based entertainment services firm iflix Africa for an undisclosed amount to strengthen its Streaming or Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) service in sub-Saharan Africa.

Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Group Founder and Executive Chairman, remarked: “We are thrilled to deepen our operating partnership with iflix to lead the transformation of media in Africa. Our companies share a mutual passion for innovation, along with a deep understanding of the culture and evolution of digital businesses.

“Mobility in content consumption has grown exponentially in Africa and by partnering with iflix Africa we are ensuring that we are not only taking part in the evolution, but are leading the movement.”

Mark Britt, iflix Group Co-founder and CEO said: “The strengthening of our relationship with Econet Group is a huge milestone for iflix. Following the initial phase of building our business in Africa, we have seen tremendous growth across our operating markets, far exceeding our expectations.”

The pay-as-you-watch pay-TV service is currently available in 13 countries and its Free Sport offering in over 25 countries.

“The operating partnership will see iflix drive Kwesé’s go-to-market mobile delivery in each of its territories,” reads a statement.

In October last year, Kwesé launched its satellite TV service to move more aggressively within the on-demand services space.

The company also confirmed its intention to roll out Over the Top (OTT) services and partner with telecom companies to expand streaming services.

Neo Lekgabo, Chief Marketing Officer at Econet Media said the company had established retail agreements with mobile network operators including Safaricom, Vodafone, MTN, in whose shops the firm would sell its boxes.

iflix entered the African market in June 2017 and has set up operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa.

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DStv Rules as TSTV, Others Chase Shadows



Over the past decade, various pay TV newcomers have tried to take on DStv, the digital satellite service owned by Multichoice, an arm of South African media giant, Naspers.


It is in a battle for a share of the 23 million subscribers that make up Africa’s fast-expanding pay TV market. So far, none has been able to win.


According to Quartz, the very authoritative digitally native news outlet, said that the latest to try is TSTV, a startup pay TV company that’s just launched in Nigeria.


Perhaps in a sign of concerns around DStv’s dominance as a premium TV distribution platform, Nigeria’s government has already given TSTV its backing by promising a three-year tax holiday to help it get off the ground.


From a programming perspective TSTV’s hopes of traction are largely hinged on offering popular premium sports content, one of the key elements satellite and cable TV distributors have used to build loyal (and at times, resentful) subscribers around the world.


But there’s just one problem with TSTV’s ambitions: it’s unclear if the company has any agreements to broadcast the most popular content of them all, the English Premier League (EPL).


TSTV lists beIN sports channels (which broadcasts the EPL in North Africa) as part of its programming package but that’s been shrouded in controversy with a purported letter from beIN refuting any agreement with TSTV making the rounds on social media in Nigeria.


beIN did not respond to Quartz’s emails seeking to clarify the authenticity of the letter but TSTV has denied infringing on beIN’s rights.

TSTV did not respond to Quartz’s email enquiries.


But despite the latest competition in Africa’s largest market, DStv is likely to retain its hold there as it has elsewhere.


Its dominance is down to a mix of its diverse content portfolio which range from exclusive rights to popular sports leagues to long-running investment in entertainment and movie content.


Backed by Naspers, Africa’s most valuable company with a market cap over $100 billion, very few competitors can match DStv’s deep pockets.


With more than 12 million subscribers DStv’s market share exceeds 50%, says Sa Eva Nebie, research analyst with Dataxis, a market research firm.


Its hold on broadcast rights of the EPL, arguably the most watched sports league in Africa, is an example of this. As the the value of EPL’s broadcast rights has risen sharply along with its global popularity in recent years, that cost presents a barrier to gaining market share for new entrants.


DStv has no such problem. Last year, it paid £296 million to secure rights to broadcast EPL in sub-Saharan Africa from 2016 to 2019, and, in April, it extended its agreement until 2022.


Its hold on the rights have even come under government scrutiny: in Kenya, regulators have unsuccessfully tried to get the company to resell its rights to local channels to “level the playing field.”


But soccer is not the only thing keeping DStv ahead. Its significant investment in original local content, especially the hugely popular Nollywood, through its Africa Magic channels, have also proven a major draw with subscribers that aren’t crazy about soccer.


Just as important are its broad offering of high-profile Hollywood content including movies and series as well as popular Indian soaps and Mexican telenovelas.


DStv’s dominance is also down to its wider reach and retail infrastructure—thanks to its 20-year head-start in the pay TV business.


One way competitors have looked to challenge DStv is by targeting the mass market many of which cannot afford DStv’s more expensive subscription prices.

StarTimes, a Chinese-owned pay TV company, has grown rapidly since the turn of the decade by offering cheaper monthly subscriptions (it’s most expensive bouquet is currently four times cheaper than DStv’s).


With prices as low as $2.50, the company has garnered 10 million subscribers across 30 African countries.


But DStv has since responded by launching GOtv, a less expensive pay TV company with monthly packages as low as $1. StarTimes offers a mix of news, entertainment and sports content (it will broadcast the FIFA soccer World Cup next year).


TSTV isn’t the first Nigeria-owned company that’s tried to test DStv’s hold on the Nigerian market. Back in 2007, newly-launched HiTV beat DStv to EPL rights and looked to build its subscriber base using football as its crown jewel. But that proved inadequate as, with much of its other content considered second-rate, many Nigerians maintained their DStv subscriptions. By 2011, HiTV had shut up shop amid allegations of high-level mismanagement.


As sports rights inflation rises quickly and many major African currencies crashing versus the US dollar in the last two years, it has forced DStv, like other African businesses, to raise their prices fairly frequently. This has engendered a lot of resentment with consumers who feel they have no choice but to use the satellite service with all the top programming. Some have called for tougher regulation of DStv.


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TVC to Open New Radio Station in Abuja



Andrew Hanlon, chief executive of TVC Communications, has said that his company will open a new radio station  in Abuja in April.


Hanlon who disclosed this when he visited Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture on Tuesday in Abuja.


TVC Communications, based in Lagos, owns TVC Nigeria, a national station, Radio Continental and Adaba radio station in Ondo state.


Alhaji Lai Mohammed, urged the media to contextualize their reporting so that looters who destroyed Nigeria would not be made to look like its messiahs.


The minister did not mention any specific looter.


However, he noted that “the same people who presided over yesterday’s looting of our treasury are today posing as would-be saviours of Nigerians””.


”We are on a rescue mission. However, the way a section of the media is reporting the challenges facing the country today does not reflect that understanding.


“They are making a corrective administration to look like the culprit, to give the impression that the rain started beating us in Nigeria only from May, 29 2015, to play down the challenges that this Administration has faced and which it is successfully tackling.


”For example, we did not get to where we are today in just three years. It has taken successive decades of bad governance, unbridled corruption, and lack of probity, a culture of impunity and a near state of anarchy.


” These are the ills this Administration inherited and which it has set out to tackle, and this is what the media must reflect in their reporting,” Mohammed said.


The Minister said the situation of the country was prevented from becoming worse because of the prudence, probity and the anti-corruption stance of the present administration. He added:


“Instead of recession, Nigeria could have had a total collapse of the economy and the power grid could have collapsed.”


Mohammed further said that the manner in which the government handled Boko Haram, prevented the insurgents from overrunning Abuja just as it did major towns in the North East.


He also said that the country’s “food imports could have tripled what it was pre-May, 29 2015 and the Naira might have been worse hit.”


The minister, therefore, challenged the media to do more to educate Nigerians that it was hard to build but easy to destroy, noting that “the same people who presided over yesterday’s looting of our treasury are today posing as would-be saviors of Nigerians.”


He said it was the responsibility of the media to educate Nigerians about efforts being made by the administration to rebuild the nation “almost from the scratch with 60 per cent less revenue” while corrupt ones paint the government bad.


According to him, apart from low revenue and deflated foreign reserve, the Buhari administration came into being when the Federal Government was borrowing to pay salary and 27 states were owing workers salaries and unable to pay contractors for years.


This, he added, was apart from poor infrastructure, low power generation, trillions of naira wasted as fuel subsidy, empty treasury and most parts of Borno under total control of insurgents.


”Today, the trend is being reversed and the results are showing as Foreign Reserves is now $42.8 billio, inflation has fallen for 12 consecutive months to 15.13%, N108 billion has been saved from the removal of maintenance fees payable to banks pre-TSA.


” The nation is saving N24.7 billion monthly with the full TSA implementation, the elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation N120 billion, capital inflow reached $1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2017, almost double the $908 million in the first quarter.


“While Nigeria’s stock market is one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent.


”Nigeria has also jumped 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.


“The administration has repeatedly given bailouts for states to pay salary. “The administration’s Agricultural Revolution is a huge success, with agriculture export up year-on-year by 25%, rice import from Thailand dropping 644,000 metric tonnes to 22,000 metric tonnes and rice farmers growing from 5 million to 12.3 million.


” The Home-Grown School Feeding Programme has created jobs for 61,352 cooks, and it is providing 6.4 million school children in 33,981 schools across 20 states with one meal a day,” he said.


Mohammed also said that the N-Power programme has employed 200,000 graduates, power generation had reached an all-time high of over 7,000 megawatts and that infrastructural development was going on at a massive rate across the country.


He said a free press was indispensable to democracy, and assured that the Buhari administration would not do anything to stifle the press.

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