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"Financial challenges could scuttle digital migration"

25 October 2013, 08:30Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos – The financial challenges that broadcasting companies are facing could stall the country’s transition from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2015, stakeholders warned.

Presenters at the ongoing Digital Broadcasting Summit in Abuja argued that most of the media houses in the country presently lacked the financial capacity to embark on a seamless digital transition.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is hosting the summit under the theme, “Digital Switch-over: Milestones and Bridges.”

Speaking at the summit, the Chairman of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON), Malam Abubakar Jijiwa said that the finance constraints and other challenges in the broadcast sector could make it impossible for some stations to meet the digital migration deadline of January 1.

Jijiwa said the challenges in the broadcasting sector were enormous and urged government to provide loans to the sector to ensure that no station, private of public, would be left behind during the switch-over.

“The challenges in the broadcasting sector are becoming more complex as we move closer to the switch-over date of 2015. We, therefore, want to call for a marshal plan to assist broadcast stations with the needed funds to achieve our goal of transiting seamlessly by January 2015,” he said.

“We are not saying government should give subvention to stations. It should be a loan with a generous repayment arrangement so that our members can have access to funds to address all grey areas ahead of the switch-over date.”

Jijiwa further said that all BON members were committed to the transition programme as outlined by government but would need a lot of support from stakeholders for such initiatives to succeed.

In his opening remarks, Emeka Mba, Director-General of NBC, said the forum was to avail stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the digitisation and assess the work done so far.

He said that despite the financial challenges faced by broadcaster, the deadline was real and that NBC and other stakeholders were set to implement key aspects of the road map to the eventual switch- over to digital broadcasting.

Mba said areas slated for discussion included the mechanism for new content development, signal distribution and other key aspects of digital broadcasting.

- CAJ News


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