Next year, Nigeria is expected to have migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting following the country’s inability to meet the earlier 2012 deadline. According to Labaran Maku, the new date in 2015 was fixed to ensure a seamless transition to digital broadcasting.
He said the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Broadcast Digitalisation had been approved, and the Federal Government is firmlycommitted to meeting the new target.
The migration target was initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and when fully implemented, it would go a long way in enhancing the broadcasting industry in Nigeria with significant improvements audio and visual qualities.
Other benefits of the digitalisation to Nigerians include a more advanced, value-laden digital technology, which would enable consumers, especially those in the rural communities, explore the opportunities of quality signals and choice channels numbering up to 100 on their television sets.
In the industry, the consensual opinion is that the target would afford stakeholders, especially the operators and consumers in the market segment time to exploit these immense benefits, while also providing operators the opportunity to prepare for the challenges the transition might throw up.
But despite of the numerous benefits of the migration, there are growing concerns in its achievement with least optimism in the ability of operators in that market to meet the new deadline.
DigitalLagos.tv gathered that skepticism is hinged on the fact that there seems to be nothing much on ground to suggest that the industry is preparing for digital broadcasting in the next few years.While the race to meet the deadline has been flagged off, curiously, stakeholders believe that the level of awareness concerning this all-important date is still abysmally low.
According to the Manager, Public Relations, Continental Broadcasting Service Ltd, Celestine Umeibe, though the deadline seems to have triggered activities in the nation’s broadcasting industry, only a negligible few are actually aware of the migration deadline or the processes in place to ensure that they are not cut-off from television viewing,
“Though everybody seems to be working towards the date, how sure are they at making the deadline?” he asked.
He said nothing much is being done in creating awareness about the date, while urging the Federal Government, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), under Director General, Emeka Mba, and other relevant regulatory agencies to take up the task of sensitising the people about the date.
A cross section of Pay TV subscribers inNigeria told DigitalLagos.tv they are looking forward to the migration, one of them, Biodun Roberts, said going digital is the best thing to happen in that market segment, since the Nigerian consumer has been taken for a ride for too long.
“We have been subjected to poor quality services by operators. But this development would enable us move ahead at a speed the world is moving in broadcasting. And I believe the body language of some payTV brands in that industry, such as StarTimes, gives one hope that the January 1, 2015 deadline may be achievable after all,” he said.