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FG unveils new pay TV

The Federal Government on Thursday in Abuja launched a new satellite pay television which it affirmed would yield Nigerians value for money.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, who unveiled the indigenous Nigerian satellite television, Silver Lake Television, at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, said its establishment aligns with the hopes of Nigerians to “reap from the bountiful harvest awaiting investors in the Nigerian economy.”

Akume, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant (Technical), Prof. Babatunde Bernard, said the operators of SLTV, Metrodigital Limited, took a patriotic step in setting up the satellite television.

He noted, “In recent times, Nigerians have been yearning for alternatives to Satellite PayTV that can serve as an alternative to the existing ones.

“SLTV has responded very loudly and clearly, and from the information made available to me, they are willing to give their fellow compatriots real value for their money in terms of service quality and affordability.

“Nigeria is an opportunity that is impossible to replicate or find elsewhere in any part of the world. The Federal Government wishes to assure the management of SLTV of her full backing as they continue to do legitimate business in Nigeria’s broadcast industry.”

On his part, the Managing Director of Metrodigital Limited, Dr. Ifeanyi Nwafor, regretted that the growth of pay TV in Nigeria had been impeded by policies and legal frameworks that promoted monopoly.

However, Nwafor said his firm was encouraged to invest because the government had started to take positive steps to address the challenge. He added that Nigerians can pay upwards of N2,500 for its package hosting TV 55 stations.

“The pay-TV industry in Nigeria has not actually witnessed robust and accelerated growth since its inception, as has been witnessed in other places.

“The reason is the policies and legal frameworks that shape the practice and attitude of the industry participants.

“This allowed the dominant players to introduce monopolistic practices that over the years prevented innovation and growth and led to poor quality of service delivery,” he observed.

Nwafor said it is, however, gratifying that in the last few years, the FG “took the bull by the horns and addressed some of these underlying problems.”

Addressing journalists at the ceremony, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Broadcasting Commission, Dr Charles Ebuebu, disclosed that the commission would consider calls by Nigerian pay satellite television subscribers for the introduction of pay-per-view options.

However, he said that he would be renegotiating existing contracts with content providers.

“Definitely, if it’s applicable, it will be considered. The issue is this: sometimes those discussions also need to start from when the content is acquired because usually, the traditional method of acquisition of content is that you license per month or annually, based on a 30 window.

“So, if you’re going to have to do a pay-per-view, you have to go back and negotiate it. Definitely, we do acknowledge that in some instances, in other jurisdictions, some of those models come under different names that are really applicable, so we’re also looking into it as a regulator,” said Ebuebu.

The NBC Chief assured Nigerians that the commission would consider the menace of overpricing of content, affirming that the general economic situation in the country affects all sectors of the economy.

He explained, “There are two sides to that coin; the first part to it is that with the current economic situation of the country, inflation and all of that, it’s not just broadcasting that is affected, all businesses are affected, so when you have prices being reviewed upwards, it’s not located only within the broadcast sector.

“However, we do acknowledge the fact that in some cases, there has been exploitation in certain areas and as NBC, we’re looking at it.

“As I said, we’re reviewing our policies and regulations so as to create a viable competitive ecosystem in broadcasting where the consumers will be the ones who’ll have to choose and therefore, market forces determined prices and it’s not exploitative.”


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