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SES, CWG Launch Maiden Digital TV Platform for West Africa

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(L-R): James Agada, Chief Technology Officer, CWG PLC; Stéphane Goebel- Head, Sales Africa and Middle East, SES Services; Jean-Pierre Kabanda, Vice-President Business Development, Africa SES; Wilfried Urner – CEO, SES Platform Services (APS) and Dayo Abegunde- Associate Vice-President, CWG PLC during the Broadcast Summit in Lagos yesterday.

SES, a global satellite company, in cooperation with Computer Warehouse Group Plc (CWG), a leading pan-African ICT company, launched a new digital television platform, on SES’s ASTRA 2F satellite, at 28.2 degrees East that would provide access to a greater number of stations to households in Nigeria and across west Africa, at a relatively low cost.

The Launching which took place alongside the Broadcast Summit, 2014 at the intercontinental hotel in Lagos yesterday witnessed the attendance of broadcasters, IT professionals, advertisers and administrators from different parts of the country.

In his opening remark, Mr. James Agada, chief technology officer, CWG Plc,  noted that true to her vision, “CWG Plc is evolving away from the traditional IT Company in the Nigerian context to becoming a utility enabler, under the CWG 2.0 initiative. 

According to him, “The brand new digital ‘Direct To Home’ (DTH) free-to-air platform is ultimately designed to help accelerate and alleviate the challenges broadcasters and content owners face in the digital migration process. The platform is packaged as an innovative approach in order to address the challenges of the cost of migration, operation, operational and support challenges, platform agility and flexibility and platform neutrality”.

The digital TV platform is a product of a collaborative effort of SES and CWG. SES will provide the space segment and specific ground services, while CWG will manage the teleport services required to project the signals to users, using high operational standards.

According to Russell Southwood, CEO, SES Balancing Act, “SES shares a partnership history with CWG that spans about ten years and CWG has proven to be a dependable teleport partner for this project”.

The SES Television platform will be the country’s first free-to-air (FTA) DTH digital TV platform.

According to Theodore Asampong, SES sales Director, Africa, “All that the subscriber is required to pay for is the cost of acquiring a decoder and installing a dish to receive broadcast signals. After this, they will have access to all channels available on the platform, without subscription fees”.

In addition, the new digital TV platform will afford broadcasters the opportunity of reaching a broader audience; millions of satellite homes in West Africa that receive broadcast signals with their dishes facing 28.2 degrees East.

This will in-turn extend their frontiers of influence and enhance their bargaining chances with prospects advertisers.

Speaking on the importance of the project, Mr. Austin Okere, founder and chief executive officer of CWG Plc, said, “For years, the majority of households in West Africa has been shut out of the digital broadcasting experience. Together with SES, we are excited to enable broadcasters to deliver their content cost-effectively, and in excellent technical quality to millions of households across the region.” 

“With the technology and platform  that SES is bringing  to Nigeria and West Africa, content can be made available to millions of household and with this system we will have over 400 channels available from the existing hundred and ten” , he said.
 
Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES, said, “Broadcasting via satellite provides High Definition (HD) picture quality and a100 percent coverage of even the most remote areas and regions. The long-term partnership with CWG will open up new possibilities for local and international broadcasters and allow them to drive digitalisation and reach their audiences across West Africa quickly and cost-effectively.”

The platform offers end-to-end contribution, ground and space services to local, regional, national and international TV broadcasters across West Africa at cheap rates. It will also afford broadcasters the privilege to migrate from analogue to digital TV to meet the digital migration deadline of June 2015.

Moreover, the inception of the SES TV platform will have broader social impact on the region.

According to Andy Anderson, Marketing head for Africa, SES, the project is also aimed at providing employment for unemployed youths who will be trained to install the dish needed for signal reception, for free.

According to him, “being able to perform physical activities and communicate effectively at a minimal level is all an individual require to qualify for the training”.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform Available on Amlogic’s Set top Box Chipset

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Next-generation TV operators can cost-effectively take their customers to new levels of personalized consumer experience satisfaction as a result of collaboration between Ericsson Media Solutions and Amlogic to make Ericsson’s MediaFirst middleware available via Amlogic’s chipsets.

Supported by its high performance central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU), the integration of Amlogic’s S905X chipset solution enables consumers to speedily access content, including High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, across MediaFirst set-top-boxes.

Operators can also provide increased choice of content, as well as boosting engagement and personalization experiences for customers.

Ericsson Media Solutions is a leading provider of personalized and converged multiscreen TV solutions for pay TV operators.

Amlogic is a leading provider of System-On-Chip (SOC) for video streaming and smart home devices. Amlogic’s S905X chipset is operational in OTT and IP scenarios with major operators worldwide, offering high-end features at an optimized price. The integration with the MediaFirst middleware provides more choice and flexibility to operators.

The solution will be demonstrated by Ericsson Media Solutions at NAB Show 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, from April 7-12. It offers advanced media processing that enables operators to deliver high quality user experiences by utilizing complex HDR schemes alongside its high-performance CPU and GPU.

Advanced security technologies ensure that high value content is securely managed to meet the needs of content owners worldwide. The solution is already commercially available through most MediaFirst set-top-box manufacturers.

Ericsson Media Solutions’ MediaFirst TV Platform is an end-to-end media platform for the creation, management, and delivery of next-generation Pay TV. Built using leading-edge cloud-based architecture, it enables operators and content providers to deliver seamless, personalized and intuitive TV experiences to consumers anytime, anywhere and on any device.

James Xie, VP, Corporate Business Strategy, Amlogic, says: “The S905X chipset is ideally designed to meet operators’ requirements and to enable a high-quality user experience with MediaFirst. MediaFirst takes full advantage of our SOC capabilities to deliver a seamless TV experience to operators at price points not possible using current solutions.”

Marc Stauffacher, Head of Solution Area TV Platforms, Ericsson Media Solutions says: “Amlogic chipsets deliver an excellent user experience across all MediaFirst use cases, including Pay TV in-home and OTT services.

By pre-integrating the MediaFirst TV Platform client with Amlogic we are adding more choice and value to Ericsson Media Solutions’ holistic MediaFirst ecosystem, enabling our global partner operators to rapidly go to market.”

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NCC Asks COSON to Comply with Directives or Face Sanctions

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Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has asked the Governing Board of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, (COSON) to comply with its directives regarding the disputed chairmanship of the organisation or face sanction.

 

This was contained in a statement signed by Afam Ezekude, director general of the NCC, and made available to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.

 

According to the NCC boss, the Commission had earlier directed the management of COSON as follows:

 

“a. Not to give effect to resolutions taken at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 19th December, 2017, except the resolution on distribution of royalties to members, which was within the legitimate process of the meeting;

 

  1. To convene its annual General meeting (AGM) within 60 working days and elect Directors/Governing Board in line with the provisions of its articles of association; taking into account the relevant articles in respect of qualification of directors;

 

  1. To appoint a competent Professional who shall henceforth be the Company Secretary/Secretary of the Governing Board.”

 

Ezekude said: “the Commission has also noted with concern that its directive issued to the Management of COSON in respect of the purported resolutions at the Extraordinary General meeting held on December 19, 2017 has not been complied with by management of COSON.

 

“Instead, some members of COSON have taken to social media platforms to peddle falsehood as well as other negative campaign against the person of the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude.”

 

The statement further reads: “The development in its entirety does not augur well for the development of copyright administration in Nigeria. Aside undermining the efficient administration of COSON, the development affects right owners who may as a result be denied their legitimate royalties and sound protection of their rights.

 

“The ongoing rivalry in the COSON Board, will, without any doubt, hamper its effective performance on its primary mandate of licensing and collecting royalties. The essence of collective management is to bring the benefit of the copyright system to right owners.

 

“Moreover, as COSON is also a member of a number of international copyright organizations, the situation will not only expose COSON, but the entire Nigerian Copyright system to ridicule and embarrassment.

 

“The main function of COSON as a collective management organization is to negotiate and issue licenses to users of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria, collect royalties (money) for such licenses and distribute the monies collected to the owners of copyright in the works which it manages. The monies that COSON collects belong to owners of copyright in music and sound recordings who are both Nigerians and foreign right owners. COSON is accordingly in a position of trust vis-à-vis its members.

 

“As a result of this unique status, the Copyright Act, Chapter C 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Copyright (Collective Management Organization) Regulation 2007 make extensive provisions to regulate the operations of organizations that operate as collective management organizations, including COSON.

 

“As a responsible agency of government, with a clear mandate under the law, the Commission will not allow unnecessary rivalry and personality clashes, which seemingly fuelled the present conflict at COSON, to interfere with the rights of Nigerian Creators to have their rights managed in a transparent and credible manner. Consequently, the Commission shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the directive given to management of COSON is duly implemented.”

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MRA Inducts Voice of Nigeria into FOI ‘Hall of Shame’

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Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has named the Voice of Nigeria (VON) into its Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame, accusing it of failing to promote the FOI Act and ensuring its effective implementation as a public service media organisation as well as non-compliance with its obligations under the Act as a public institution.

 

In a statement in Lagos, Mr. Ayode Longe, MRA’s director of Programmes, noted that the Voice of Nigeria, as a national radio station established to inform the world on national issues and developments, should ordinarily be at the forefront of promoting the FOI Act and seeking compliance with the provisions of the Law by other public institutions as this would evidently enhance its performance of its statutory functions as well as enable it discharge its duties with greater ease and effectiveness.

 

He, however, expressed disappointment that the station not only failed to promote the Act or advocate compliance by other public institutions, but has itself refused to comply with its obligations under the Act.

 

The Voice of Nigeria is the second Federal Government-owned media institution to be inducted into the FOI Hall of Shame since the inception of the programme in 2017, following the conferment of the dubious award on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on September 11, 2017 for similarly failing to promote the Act, ensure its effective implementation and for its non-compliance with its obligations under the Act as a public institution.

 

The objectives of the Voice of Nigeria, as provided in the Act establishing it, are to project Nigeria’s positive image externally, to inform the world on national and African issues and developments, to change the perspectives of the world on Nigeria and the black world, to unite Africa and the black world and to engender positive contribution of Africans in the Diaspora to the growth and development of the continent.

 

Mr. Longe said there was no doubt that the institution’s lack of transparency and accountability had eroded public trust and confidence in it, which would affect its credibility and ultimately, its ability to deliver on its statutory mandate.

 

According to him, “being a national radio network broadcasting in seven languages, including English, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, Arabic, Kiswahili and Fulfulde, the Voice of Nigeria is uniquely positioned to overcome the language limitation that most other media organizations have and be able to promote the Act among Nigerians of different linguistic backgrounds. Instead, this national broadcaster has itself been consistently in blatant disregard of its statutory duties and obligations as a public institution covered by the Act, thereby undermining its implementation and effectiveness.”

 

Mr. Longe stressed that “all public institutions established by Law, including the Voice of Nigeria, are expected to proactively disclose certain types of information listed in Section 2(3) (a) to (f) of the FOI Act, by various means including print, electronic and online sources. But the Voice of Nigeria has not fulfilled its proactive disclosure obligations under Section 2 of the Act as it has not published the itemized categories of information either on its website or anywhere else, as it is required to do by the FOI Act.”

 

He described the failure of the Voice of Nigeria to designate an official of the institution to whom requests for information by members of the public should be sent as well as its failure to proactively publish the title and address of such an officer as an inexcusable breach of the provisions of the FOI Act, particularly in the light of repeated demands by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation issued to all public institutions to appoint such officials and send their details to the Federal Ministry of Justice, which is the coordinating institution for matters related to the implementation of the Act.

 

Mr. Longe also noted that although Section 13 of the FOI Act requires all public institutions to ensure the provision of appropriate training for their officials on the public’s right to access information and records held by the government or public institutions as well as to ensure the effective implementation of the Act, the Voice of Nigeria had not organized any such training for its officials since the Act was passed into Law.

 

He observed that over the last seven years, the Voice of Nigeria has consistently failed to comply with its obligation under Section 29 of the FOI Act, which requires each public institution to submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation, on or before February 1 of each year, a report covering the preceding fiscal year of its implementation of the Act. He stressed that the Voice of Nigeria had not submitted any such report for any year since 2011.

 

Mr. Longe said: “Such egregious violation of the clear provisions of the Law by a public institution which should know better is certainly unacceptable. The relevant authorities of the Federal Government must make clear that they do not condone such acts of impunity and take urgent steps to rein in public institutions such as the Voice of Nigeria, which disdainfully disregard the Laws of the Land.”

 

Launched on July 3, 2017, the FOI Hall of Shame spotlights on a weekly basis public officials or institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions.

 

 

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