‘StarTimes thrives on innovation, technology, rich entertainment’
Pay TV network, StarTimes Nigeria, says it has continued to grow stronger and expanding its footprint across African markets owing to its dogged commitment to innovation, superior technology and rich entertainment programme for viewers.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Tunde Aina, told The Guardian that the company strives to be an international media giant with global influence, adding, “We have continued to grow stronger and cover more grounds across Africa. Our success story is fuelled by a strong belief and investment in cutting edge technology, life-enriching innovations and quality television entertainment content for our viewing families and households.
“In just seven years, more people can now afford to enjoy digital television that would otherwise have been impossible. We have given opportunities to many local channels to start broadcasting localised content at minimal cost; we have created more than 2000 direct jobs and more than 20,000 indirect jobs.
Before StarTimes came to Nigeria, clean, crisp clear signals could only be enjoyed by the elites as the masses had to make do with grainy pictures provided by the few existing analogue television stations. We have changed this narrative and we intend to continue to provide our services to many more people at an affordable cost. As a platform, we offer local producers and stations opportunities to showcase their offerings to viewers without interference as long as the rules set by the regulators are being adhered to.”
On growth and network spread, Aina said the digital TV network currently has digital terrestrial signals in more than 80 towns spread across 34 states of the federation, adding, “Our next target is to cover the second tier and rhird tier towns and then possibly to the community level. We recently rolled out signals in Daura, Katsina State in December 2016 and we intend to roll out in many smaller towns before the end of 2017. Rolling out services in the rural areas is very challenging as even accessibility is a big issue. Another issue is that because people with relatively lower purchasing power inhabit rural areas, there is less chance of being able to recoup investments. However, because our partnership with the Nigerian Television Authority recognises the need to balance running a business and providing social services, we will continue to extend our services to every nook and cranny of Nigeria.”
While addressing challenges of broadcast business, Aina explained that it is capital intensive and takes a relatively long time to recoup investments while stable policies and regulation on the part of government could give investors the confidence to continue to invest in this industry.
According to him, “The private sector is in a better position to develop the broadcast industry if government can only come up with policies that are acceptable to all players in the broadcast industry. Businesses that require a relatively longer time to be profitable require long term funds at relatively low interest rates. Government needs to enable businesses to have access to this type of funds either through local financial institutions, if they have the capacity or from foreign financial institutions.”
Aina lamented that because his network delivers signals via terrestrial, it is also affected, however, “We are continuously working to improve our signals within the big cities by building more transmitter sites in order to improve signals in identified areas. In Abuja, for example, we are currently building two sites, one in Kuje and the other in Kubwa.”