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Creative Industry Practitioners Embrace New NBC Code

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor 26 January 2020   |   2:23 am

Charles Novia

Creative industry practitioners under a popular WhatsApp group, FILMIC, have lauded the Federal Government over recent amendments to the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

Only on January 9, 2020, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately implement measures aimed at re-positioning the broadcast industry with a view to sanitising the industry, creating jobs, promoting local content, boosting the advert industry and bringing the broadcast industry up to par with the best practices from around the world.

Major highlights of the minister’s directive include new regulations to compel broadcasters to utilise the content and services of Nigerian independent producers, in fulfillment of the regulatory requirements for 70 per cent local content, rather than the current abuse of the rules, which allow many loopholes for the production of such content in jurisdictions outside Nigeria. This will empower local producers with proper funding and investment, enhance foreign collaborations, develop the local industry, raise the standard of local productions and ultimately lead to job creation.

The new regulations will also ensure that producers of content are paid promptly for adverts and sponsored content placed on all TV, radio and broadcast platforms, ensure that the production of adverts are localised to create and promote local production and, where it is not, to attract a charge every time such an advert is aired, with the charge being put into a fund to help develop local expertise in production.

With members drawn from the movie, music, fashion, advertising, media and finance sectors of the Nigerian economy, the group, through members’ daily online discussions and a mini colloquium held in October 2019 at Filmhouse, Oniru, deliberated on the NBC Broadcast Code, and thereafter, met with the minister to present their thoughts on the new code.

Founded by Charles Novia, CEO of the newly established Teen Africa TV, the group, since inception in June 2019, has held monthly screenings of films by producers, alongside two unique events namely: FILMIC Mini-Colloquium and FILMIC Old School Evening.

Reacting to the newly amended code, member and star actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde said, “this is a good development for the content industry. We are all in this together and we must protect our local industry with practices that empower the stakeholders more. We must begin to think Nigeria first for our creative industry and work together to make this work.”

For Obi Asika, a creative industry entrepreneur, “this is long overdue. People give blood and sweat and tears to ensure the creative industry works and aspects of the old code were stifling and we as stakeholders felt that in this new decade, things have to change and it will change.”

Also speaking, CEO of Digital Interactive Media, Sola Fajobi, believes that, “if the agencies are mandated to pre-pay for all ad placements on TV shows, more producers can invest well and in better quality content.”

Another member, Izu Osuigwe, CEO Forest Media Ltd., noted: “The new provisions aims at a comprehensive accretion of value and talent reward within the creative industry space, provided the implementations are effected as expected. However, the immediate, secondary and long-term impacts should be considered with deliberate circumspection, to avoid adverse and unintended consequences, through undue haste, inadequate capacity or overzealousness in applying the provisions.”

On his part, Victor Okpala, Head of Dope 7 Media believes, “we must work to earn what we consume and not wait for it to be handed down to us “This was just as Emeka Ossai expressed the need for prompt implementation. “The new amendments is a very welcome development especially for independent content producers like me. My next prayer is for prompt implementation and monitory for enduring benefits.”

TV content producer, Greg Odutayo, believes that a situation whereby foreign content enjoy better airtime is a disservice to the local television industry.He said: “We all must do what needs to be done to protect our industry, not for you and I because we are fine but for generations to come. Local content is sacrosanct and 70 per cent is not too much. One of the biggest disservices that were done to the TV industry was when this madam in NTA years ago went and bought The Rich Also Cry. We are still crying till today as foreign soaps took over the prime time. The industry fought and got back the prime time through NBC legislation during Emeka Mba’s tenure, I think, that legislated that 7pm to 10pm must be local content. This was the boom period for TV producers. Ask around. Although a lot of stations were not compliant. We all MUST ensure that the rules are respected. This is the only way content can get produced and jobs can be created.”

Odutayo, who is not averse to penalty for producing local content abroad, said: “I absolutely love the bit about paying a fine if you produce your commercials abroad. I have produced in Ghana, next door here. I had a Ghana company and there was a minimum number of Ghanaians that I must employ. Our residence permit allowed us to have only five foreigners. I know the fight that I have done over time to protect jobs in Nigeria when I was NANTAP President… I don’t want to talk about the sports franchise as my knowledge there is somewhat limited, but we must support NBC and the current legislation. It’s a win-win for us all, only if we all support it.”

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