Address by The Chairman Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, Mr. John Momoh, OON on the occasion of the opening ceremony of The 68th General Assembly




Your excellency the honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,

Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Chairman Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation,

Honourable Olusegun Odebunmi, Chairman House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Ethics and Values, very well represented here today by ,

My good friend E.J., Mister Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, honourable member of the House of Representatives,

Our Keynote Speaker Mister Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,

Vice Chairman BON, Zonal Chairmen, my Colleagues and Fiends,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

What a pleasure it is for me to welcome you all today, to the 68th General Assembly of our great organisation – the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria – BON.

Established over 30 years ago, one of BON’s main objectives is to serve as the voice, for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters, by advancing their interests in federal government, industry and public affairs.

To say that broadcasting has changed since the establishment of BON three decades ago, would be grossly understating the dynamic nature of our industry. The correct statement would be that, broadcasting has changed radically. The keyword today is Disruption – a complete disturbance, disordering, disarrangement, and disarranging of the way we do our business. Suddenly, new markets are created, with new set of values that now threaten existing markets. In a nutshell, broadcasting is under threat from Digital Predators like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and other “Over The Top” players.

This is a wake up call for us all folks, and if you can’t smell the coffee, I can. So what should we do. The answer isn’t far fetched. We need to change our business model. It’s no more “Business As Usual”. It is now Business Unusual.

The worrying thing however, is that as we try to come to terms with this disruptive innovations staring us in the face, we are being made to contend with numerous problems that are inflicted upon us.

➢ Like Disparity in licence fees between public and private broadcasters.
Did I say public broadcasters. Naa. There are no public broadcasters in Nigeria today. We all compete in the commercial landscape for advertising. Which is anomalous.

➢ We are compelled to pay a 1.5% levy on gross income, even when we make a loss and most of us do.

> We Are yet to have a road map to the implementation of the Digital Switch Over in Nigeria. And we are all in quandary.

The regulator is silent on many on many critical issues affecting our members; chiefly among which are;

> The compensation that should accrue to broadcast organisations who will be vacating frequencies in accordance with the White Paper on DSO.

> The fee to be paid to Signal Distributors after the Digital Switch Over.

> And what would or should happen to Pay-TV services currently operating on the DTT platform, the Switch Over is effected.

As if these problems aren’t inhibiting growth enough, broadcasters are having to contend with dwindling advertising revenue, in the face of increasing operating expenses, mounting and unresolved industry debt, and a mandatory reduction of transmitting power, while still paying the same licence fee for the original power.
We’ve discussed these challenges with the National Broadcasting Commission and in fact have now escalated them to the office of the honourable Minister of Information and Culture. It is my fervent hope, that before the end of the year 2017, some, if not most of these issues would have been favourably resolved.

In spite of the numerous challenges we are facing, I am pleased to report some cheering news particularly in the area of manpower development. For example, training programmes covering production, presentation and journalism were held for employees of BON member stations at the the Channels Academy in Abuja.

A Studio and Field Lighting Workshop was held in October at the NTA DOMSAT also in Abuja

And there was a training on Audio & ITU Loudness Control Standard in Abuja and Lagos early this month.

I report with with a lot of excitement the success of our 3rd International Summit on Digital Broadcasting in Nigeria, held between August the 22nd and the 23rd at the Federal Palace Hotel Lagos.

The BON SECRETARIAT is work in progress and I hope that before the end of my tenure next year, we would have at least have laid the foundation stone for the building.

The Licensing of two collecting agencies for the territory of Nigeria has created a big challenge for us in the industry. BON members are at a dilemma as to who to pay. But as you know a committee has been set up to look into this matter and would make recommendations known soon.

Not withstanding these challenges, It is my hope that we will cease the opportunity that this assembly provides, to re-examine our methods, explore new ways of doing business and create opportunities for effective professional collaborations across the diverse representation of the broadcast media entities we have today.

Allow me then to set the tone for a renewed vision for professional broadcasting, by suggesting the following;

1. More content creation. Content is King: far more than a cliche, but a substance and material of quantity and quality. As an expression of creativity, human rights and aspirations, Content will remain what our audiences will consume. So we must continue to make it more universal. Technology has provided the opportunity for the developing world to catch up with the rest of the world. What needs to be of prime importance therefore, is the push for, and the desire of media creativity that has universal appeal.

2. I call for Brave competition amongst media practitioners, that will enhance professionalism, develop talent, and build capacity for the broadcast value chain and the media economy.

3. lets build a critical mass against unprofessional practice. Let’s put a sanctioning process in place to deal with discredited professionals, and let us set up a vetting system that fact-checks and verify content materials.

4. Technology is the backbone of our industry. So as broadcasters we have to understand that technological evolutions are quite fast, with the old rapidly giving way to the new. There will always be a brand new solution for the needs of broadcasters. Relying on old technology and equipment will never be a prudent way of doing things.

5. The media will thrive when there is a good commercial plan behind it. Advertising revenues are waining, but technology is helping us share resources. We can be more effective if we see competition as partnerships in progress.

Finally, I’d like to restate our call on the Federal Government to ensure that the interests of BON members are adequately protected in the Digital Switch Over.

In conclusion, I’d like to cease this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected Zonal Chairmen who would be sworn in and decorated today. I wish each of them a successful tenure.

And for those of you who are handing over the batons, how could I ever thank you enough. We appreciate your selfless service to our great organisation for the past two years. Rest assured that we would continue to call on you, anytime your services are needed.

To the former Chairmen of BON, thank you all for your vision. To the Central Working Committee and the secretariat, a big thank you for your contributions. And to the Management and staff of Channels Television, thank you so very much for pulling out all the stops to ensure a successful hosting of the 68th General Assembly.

Here we are, in Abuja, the nation’s capital city. What better setting can there be for as we come together to meet. Let’s do it.

I thank you all for listening.