The journey towards the Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting in Nigeria commenced in earnest in 2006 with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Radio Conference, which resulted in the Digital Plan for Region 1 of the ITU and the subsequent Geneva 2006 (GE-06) Agreement.
The practical realization of the Transition commenced in Nigeria only with the launch of the Pilot Programme in Jos on 30th April 2016 and the subsequent Roll Out in Abuja on December 22nd 2016.
Currently Jos is offering 21+ Programmes while Abuja is offering 30+ Programmes. At the conclusion of this initial phase of the Transition, when all the Analogue Transmitters are Switched and Frequency Refarming and Re-planning is concluded, it is envisaged that there will be 62+ Programmes on offer on Free TV in Nigeria. These will comprise Local, Regional and National Programmes.
It is hoped that this will transform the TV viewing experience of the populace, create diverse opportunities for content developers and producers. It is not enough to lay several Pipes / Conduits with no Fluids flowing through; in other words, Broadcast Content is the fluid that runs through the Pipes / Conduits of Digitization, without the Content, the entire process will be worthless.
Nigeria with its very diverse urban and rural landscapes is filled with potential TV content components; the stories of our diversity, our evolution as a nation, our languages, music, folktales, food, economy, education, among others can be fully harnessed into Compelling TV Content. To harness and harvest these potentials somebody has to concretize these ideas into a story line and follow through with a Script that can be translated into a Programme.
At this age and time, a country’s identity is summed by the collection of representations on its media space; we must tell our real story and fill our media space with true reflections of ourselves. The Digital Broadcast Environment offers a unique platform of expression of ideas across various genres of programming.
Content will make the difference
The key attractions to broadcast digitization that viewers can easily interpret are guarantees of clearer pictures and sound, more thematic channels to choose from, all at reduced cost. More than ever before, compelling content will become critical to deciding viewership, content developers will be challenged to be more creative and apt in the delivery of broadcast items that will draw ‘eye balls’.
I am sure that it is the desire of every local content producer to see that foreign contents are replaced with local content. Achieving this will not only be by NBC policies alone, but by collective will, desire and determination of stakeholders in the creative industry to fill the airspace that the digital era will provide. Therein lies the relevance of this workshop. It offers us an opportunity to brain storm on the way forward. We intend that this workshop unlike many others before it, would articulate a roadmap on how to fill our TV screens with compelling content. You all have been carefully selected because you have the knowledge and experience to achieve the objective of this workshop. This we hope would mark the beginning of a new era in the broadcast digital ecosystem.
To develop what has often been termed ‘compelling content’ will involve thorough research into viewing habits, lifestyles and cultural practices within a broadcast terrain. In addition to other components of production which include use of high digital resolution cameras, right specs of microphones for clean audio, appropriate post – production software for improved graphics, effects and embellishment, good content must have real substance in terms of clear story and narrative it is telling.
In the new era, the power of the TV remote control becomes more as attention span of viewers is reduced as they flip through the channel options; the programme must be catchy and interesting for viewers to stay on.
At this stage of our national development, it is important to use content to push national philosophy, ideology and agenda. The Transition to Digital Broadcasting offers us a perfect opportunity to actualize this.
This noble and bold initiative by the Digiteam must not be allowed to fail because as far as we in the Digiteam are concerned, our beloved country has a chance to use media content to develop its vast potentials.
On this note, I want to thank you all for making out time to come and on behalf of the other Digiteam members, I wish you all a fruitful deliberations.
Thank you all very much.