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NBC, ITS Renew Hope of Digitization of Broadcast Industry

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The long awaited digital switch-over (DSO) in Nigeria has become a reality as stakeholders are putting finishing touches for its take-off in Kwara. In March, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), had listed six states, one from each geo-political zone of the country, for DSO.

The states are Kaduna in North-West, Kwara in North-Central, Gombe in North-East, Enugu in South-East, Osun in South-West and Delta in South-South.

Nigeria transited from analogue to digital television viewing on April 30, 2016 in Jos, Plateau State capital after the Federal Government launched the pilot phase of the digital transmission project.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture,  also recently attributed the success of the DSO to the collective effort of stakeholders namely, Digiteam Nigeria, Broadcast Signal Distributors, Set-Top-Box manufacturers, channel owners, partners such as CCNL and In-view Technologies and Call Centre Operators.

Mr. Musbau Rotimi Salami, general manager of Integrated Television Services (ITS), one of the signal distribution companies for Nigeria’s DSO implementation and handlers of the Ilorin switch-over project, speaking with Sunday Vanguard at the NTA Ilorin Transmission Station, Ganmo, during the visit of the National Assembly ad-hoc committee on DSO, called for the review of the current business model arrangement put in place by the NBC to allow for more favourable operating and cost maximisation.

ITS, which came into being as a result of the report from Presidential Action Committee Report on Digital Migration in Nigeria, has done the needful by taking on the infrastructure of the FRCN, NTA, etc to ensure digital distribution to Nigerians. Salami explained that the organisation had been ready since May 22, 2017, when they began to expect the NBC contractor to install the equipment on their platform.

His words,’’ We of the ITS have been ready since May 22, 2017, but the way the platform is designed by NBC is such that they provide the equipment, the conditional access program, the EPG. They have a contractor who does this and we have informed them since, to come and integrate those systems on our platform. So, we are ready, but the NBC needs to be ready too’’.

The ITS GM explained further that the assignment of his firm is to build a transmission platform that, “will receive and transmit signals both from national, regional and local here in Ilorin”.

 He went on: “We have been able to receive signals on the DCS platform, those signals belong to the NBC”.

“Right now, there are about 22 of them, but they need to program signals specifically for Ilorin, they need to create programs specifially for Ilorin, they had to complete national signals and local insertions.

“For now, we are concentrating on those infrastructures of NTA that we used for signal broadcast.

But unfortunately, what we can only inherit from this transition is the mast and the transmitter hose. NTA’s transmitters are obsolete, they are analogue and they are not even supported by the equipment manufacturers anymore, so they are not useful in the new process.

“So, the only benefit we have here now is the mast, the transmission hose. Like Ilorin, their antenna is obsolete, their antenna is VHF, while we are operating on UHF; so virtually, the only thing we have gained here is the mast”.

He also said that for the process to be completed, the NBC needs to make the EPG system available, saying that it’s the signals that would be used to activate the decoder for the receivers at home.

Above all, Salami stressed the need for the NBC to make the set of boxes available and affordable for residents.

The ITS boss, who said the review of the existing business model is imperative to allow for equitable benefits for operators and stakeholders, noted that the business model has been a bone of contention for so long, especially for signal distributors.

“Already the Minister of Information and Culture has called for a review of it. We are eagerly awaiting the review as this will discourage the current situation where those who operate at the fringes and contribute minimally from reaping so much at the detriment of the major stakeholders”, he said.

Salami also assured the visiting NASS members that the Ilorin project met the requirements for the launch and commissioning but only waiting for the team from NBC to put its technical inputs.

Speaking on the significance of the National Assembly members visit, he asked it afforded the ITS the opportunity to explain its side of the story, adding that everything done at the Ilorin center had been to standard of global broadcasting equipment installation.

The ITS boss dismissed the claim that the equipment used at the Ilorin centre was obsolete.

He said such claim was misplaced and amounted to a lack of understanding of the technology behind the equipment used. He used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians on the need to put the nation first in every aspect of business relationship.

“We must ensure that national interests come first above personal and parochial interests. Integrated Television Services is conscious of the history behind it and will work to protect the interest of the Nigerian television consumers and the entire broadcasting industry in Nigeria.”

On the quality of the DSO, he said: “When fully operational, the ITS will have on its platform over 30 channels on its Free TV bouquet, thus delivering unbeatable state of the art quality television experience and pocket friendly plan to the people of Kwara State”.

The members of the National Assembly, after the inspection of the equipment and interaction with stakeholders, told journalists that the digitalisation of broadcast industry was a done deal.

According to the leader of the six-man team, Hon Chris Emeka Azubogu, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation,” we have seen the level of readiness and asked critical questions and they provided answers.

“We are sure from what they have said that they are ready, we have seen that the equipment are there, they are well and ready to hit the ground running.”

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TSTV Battles DSTV with Pay-as-You-Consume

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TSTV which stands for Telcom Satellite TV, is here in Nigeria to battle with DSTV. It is coming prepared with “Pay-As-You-Consume” plan which every other operator said was not possible in Nigeria before now.

“Pay-As-You-Consume” plan already praised for its simplicity will allow subscribers of TSTV pay for only programmes watched.

DSTV, no doubt, has served Nigerians for a very long period of time. But, TSTV’s entrance is a test of strength and will prove if DSTV has been receptive to the yearnings of subscribers.

DSTV shows live English Premier League matches, which gave it mirage in the market over the years, TSTV has promised to deliver same too. You can also enjoy Live La Liga and Champions League matches on TSTV.

TSTV is partnering Europe-based television station, ABS Global, to launch into the Nigerian Broadcasting Service a Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite TV from October 1, 2017, with a message centered on ‘Buy Naija and Grow the Naira’ and pay as you use (PAYU) subscription plan.

When fully launched, the pay TV satellite would cover all sub-Saharan African countries and would provide over 200 TV channels to their audience.

Bright Echefu, managing director of TSTV, during the signing of the multi-transponder agreement with their ABS partner disclosed that their services would offer viewers the experience of HD and SD video, internet services, broadband, TV and radio at a very affordable rate.

According to him, “what makes the project unique is that it would start with 100 channels of local, regional and international in Yoruba, Igbo Hausa, Ghanaian, Sierra Leonean, Liberian Languages among others. It would also provide news, entertainment, education content”.

He argued that TSTV has the right content and premium product to satisfy the growing demand of Nigeria. “It would assist ABS take Nollywood and Sport to great height. Their sport channels is the bomb! EPL, La liga and Champion League is amazing!”

Highlighting on the technology, Echefu said that the station is based on the HBB TV tech, which is a combination of satellite and internet service for TV service.

TSTv will run on 4.5g network every subscriber will get 20G of data for N3,000 monthly, the data can also be used for video calls conferences with camera and wifi.

The TSTV decoder will have 50GB hard disk to record TV programs and a pause/play function.

“With TSTV, you don’t need to pay subscription monthly or periodically. You pay as you consume.

“It is the first Nigerian TV to launch a Pay-as-you-use so you can pause your subscription whenever you are traveling. It is just N5000 for the decoder and dish and subscription prices ranges from N200, N500, N1000, N1500 and N3000 respectively”.

TStv Africa aims to cover the 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but will launch first in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Kano.

TSTv shows Live Sports like Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League and so much more. Some Sport Channels on TSTV Africa are bein Sport 1-10, Fox Sport HD, and Ts Sports.

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ACF Unveils Ambassadors as NFVCB Pledges to Rid Industry of Piracy

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Organisers of the Africa Cinematography Festival (ACF) has presented to the public the brand ambassadors and resource persons for the Festival in a well-attended Unveiling event held in Lagos on Monday.

The 6-day event is schedule to hold between November 5 and 11 this year across six venues in Lagos, the nation’s entertainment capital.

Among those unveiled are Nigerian actor, Ramsey Nouah, British-Ghanaian multi-talented actress, Ama Konadu Abebrese, Actress Sandra Seghers Mushid from the DRC, the Cameroonian duo of Lizzette Benz and Ayuk Thambi Atem-Ebai and Beninoir actor, singer and model, Serge Parick Laleye and Guinean Model, Bintu Sylla. Others are Liberian actor, Major Owusu Danshaw, Nollywood actress, Oghenekaro Itene,  Vanessa Swert from South Africa and Nollywood actor and Rycardo Agbor.

The resource persons include Dr. Iyabo Ajibola, Adeniran Makinde, Akin Lewis, Kingsley Nwosu, Prof. Hygeniu Ekwuazi, Prof. Chukwuma Okoye, Dr. Tunde Bakare, Alex Gansallo, Yinka Smart Babalola, Prince Kojo Hilton, Dr. Alphonsus Orisayemi, Michael Mulutombo, Frank Adekunle Macaulay and Nwendamutswu Maanda.

Speaking at the unveiling, the founding matron, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Africa Cinematography Festival (ACF), described the ACF as “a roadmap into the future of the film industry cum economy” of both Nigeria and the African continent”.

Mrs. Alakija noted that the ACF shares a “common optimism which speaks to our collective desire for a better future guaranteed under a system run by a new generation of stakeholders whose distinctive qualities are not primarily tied to age but rather bother on their commitment to professionalism, promotion of industry growth over self-gratification and in their ability to harness potentials to drive the economic growth of country and continent”.

Mrs. Alakija also revealed that the ACF will feature training in such areas as sound production, light design and lighting, script writing, production design, make-up artistry, costume design, directing, motion and still camera, lens handling, editing and film-making among others.

Also speaking, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, the managing director and chief executive of the Nigerian Films Corporation, while lauding the initiative assured on the commitment of his agency to providing the enabling environment that will enhance the development of the industry.

“The NFC has and shall continue to initiate, provide and champion the required policy environment that will support the accelerated growth of the industry. The increased film production activities within the industry across the country, its acceptance by the citizens of Nigeria, and lately, its contribution to the growth of the nation’s economy are indication that there are opportunities that are yet untapped,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Films and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has pledged to rid the industry of piracy and all other forms of rights infringements that hinder adequate returns on investment for stakeholders.

Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, the executive director of the NFVCB, who stated this at the Unveiling said that the board was not only committed to providing an enabling environment which will facilitate global film content production but also ensure that film and video investment is guaranteed through structured distribution and right protection.

His words, “This is why we took the fight against unlicensed distribution, distribution of unclassified films and video works, the unapproved release of film and video works and illegal export and import of film and video works to Alaba in August and we were able to rid the market of films and video works worth over 100 Million Naira.”

 

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TV5MONDE Expands Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa with SES Video

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TV5MONDE, one of the world’s leading television networks, has recently signed a long-term distribution contract with SES to broadcast three major free-to-air channels to the French-speaking and Francophile public in sub-Saharan Africa.

As part of the agreement, TV5MONDE will use the SES-5 satellite to broadcast three channels: its main channel TV5MONDE Afrique, as well as two themed channels, the youth channel TiVi5MONDE and the lifestyle channel TV5MONDE Style HD. The three signals will be relayed to the satellite by the SES Video team.

Located at 5 degrees East, SES-5 provides optimal coverage for sub-Saharan countries. The video position 5 degrees East is a fast growing neighbourhood, made up of renowned TV platforms and more than 500 local and international channels, including 65 French-language channels.

“Thanks to Africa, the French language is being offered a new opportunity to broaden its reach, which is all the more decisive in a digital world where language is becoming increasingly important,” said Yves Bigot, directeur général of TV5MONDE. “This partnership with SES Video offers us ideal coverage to reach our numerous viewers and a recognized expertise to broadcast our three channels”.

“We are delighted to help TV5MONDE extend the distribution of its channels across sub-Saharan Africa and, in our own way, contribute to the spread of the French language on this continent,” said Ferdinand Kayser, CEO of SES Video.

“TV5MONDE’s decision demonstrates the quality of our infrastructure and assets in these countries. Thanks to its powerful and robust coverage, our SES-5 satellite will allow TV5MONDE to distribute this new content offer in an optimal manner to cable and IP networks in the region, as well as reach the 3.8 million TV homes equipped with direct reception at 5 degrees east.”

 

 

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