By Okoh Aihe
In some desperate situations, some people are better prepared to act. They are innate built with a supersonic sensory system that activates them to take some preventive actions that can improve some unpleasant situations. They do something to draw attention to a developing situation that could be potentially dangerous. COVID-19 caught the world unprepared and we cannot yet guess its extensive but bizarre harvest and the very frightening damage to the nations economy.
The season called on governments, businesses and individuals to embellish their patriotic colors and shine their light at a very dark moment in history, and they were presented in numbers to demonstrate that they pushed the wall, we all demonstrated a Nigerian to overcome every challenge. It doesn’t matter how herculean. It is this Nigeriannes and a bustling aspiration for the best in the face of serious challenges that have been serially abused by successive administrations that do not appropriate effusive energy and diversity of people.
As observed, there are threads of hope that are strengthened. An example in this regard is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which last week presented its performance record to the media. According to my little observation, there is a thread of patriotism that runs through the entire presentation of their activities within the period of a paralyzing block, which seems to boil at the seams.
“Here at the Commission, we have been very active.” This is one of the opening lines of Professor Armstrong Idachaba, who is the Acting Director General of NBC during the media meeting. Part of the activities include: a public presentation of the amendments to the sixth edition of the Broadcasting Code to stakeholders, including BON, NUJ, the Academy and others at a location in Lagos, towards the end of March. The amendments establish provisions for local content in the broadcast industry, advertising revenue for broadcast stations and content producers and deal some form of fatal blow to monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior in the broadcast industry.
To be very clear here, there is nothing new in the Code. The NBC Act empowers the Commission to initiate a Broadcasting Code which, I am told by those who appropriate their profession, is a subsidiary law. These problems have always been addressed since the early days of deregulation of the sector, except that this Code addresses issues in detail. And then it boils with patriotism and begins to sway dangerously.
Interesting things have started. A primary objective under the anti-competitive objectives is “To maintain and promote fair and efficient market conduct and effective competition in the transmission industry in Nigeria or, in the absence of a competitive market, to prevent the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by broadcasters or licensees of facility providers or equipment providers in the transmission industry. “
The opening line in Section 6 says: “It is the policy of the Nigerian government to promote local entrepreneurship in the creative industry in Nigeria. In updating this policy, the broadcasting industry in Nigeria will promote the full exploitation of Sports Rights and other programming content for the broad benefits of Nigerians. Therefore, the exclusive exploitation of the rights, even when acquired, is not permitted in Nigeria. “
Under the Acquisition of Sports Rights, the Code says in 6.2.1 “Nigeria will not be included in the same basket with other countries in the sale of soccer rights.”
This was introduced a few years ago and some of us surveyed it without restriction and it had unexpected consequences and business failures. But this does not strip it of patriotic relevance.
Here are two other sections of the Code that deserve close examination. Section 6.2.5 states: “To ensure fair and effective competition on all platforms at an agreed rate, the owners of the rights of Live Foreign Sporting Events shall offer the rights to broadcasters on the different platforms that They are detailed below: a. Satellite DTH, b. Multipoint microwave distribution system (MMDS), c. Cable (fiber optics), d. DTT (terrestrial), e. Internet, f. Mobile, g. Protocol television Internet (IPTV), and h. Radio.
Let me add Section 9.1.1 under Wholesale Offer. Saying in order to ensure the widest possible distribution and audience of content deemed critical to the success and sustainability of new entrants to the Nigerian pay TV industry, broadcasters will ensure access for all platforms from pay TV to premium content in sports and news genre to generate effective wholesale competition for these genres. “
Following the points raised above, I am under pressure to say that I have reviewed the amended Code and can see a lot of patriotism and good intentions, including boasting of patriotism. Therefore, I will make the following observations:
- * The transmission market is an open market where people buy what they want, just like any open market in Abuja, if the technological equipment is taken away from them.
- * All content is essentially raw until you start building it in attractive packages and channels
- * TV, especially satellite, cable and IPTV, among others, depends on premium programming
- * Broadcasters create premium channels for niche audiences, which are sometimes segmented, for subsequent marketing to advertisers; Niche audiences marketed to advertisers
- * There are business decisions that must be left to business or broadcast partners in order for them to form a relationship.
- * Subscribers and advertisers who pay more for professionalism than for patriotism pay for television services. But know that patriotism can be professionally packaged to attract business interests.
- * Most stations create premium channels to have a special cut of the market. This is not abominable. What is abominable is the fraudulent that wants to hide under patriotism to destabilize the market.
Despite some interesting conclusions, the amended Code is generally an attack on market democracy. This leaves little encouragement for people to analyze why some local transmission companies fail in Nigeria and can barely go beyond our shores while foreigners succeed. What you expect here is that the life of a Broadcasting Code will be two years. It is recommended that NBC not begin to savor a mission accomplished, but immediately begin engaging stakeholders in creating a better industry and working on a robust document that is less discriminatory.