NBC to tackle anti-competitive practices in broadcasting sector
BroadcastTHERE are indications that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is set to tackle the lingering issue of competition within the Nigerian television market industry.
The Guardian learnt at the weekend, that the commission has invited an international team of TV market consultants to undertake an economic baseline study of the sector.
The consultants are expected to specifically undertake a review of current market structures to see if there are any restrictions to content, including premium rights and events, and whether such restrictions hinder the emergence of new services, and platforms, and their ability to compete effectively.
Besides, the consultants will also assess other issues such as: market dominance; network; programme access rules and content exclusivity; impact of the advertising market on broadcast revenue and operations; with particular attention to revenue returns for broadcast stations.
They will also examine whether any current market conduct adversely affects revenue for broadcasting stations in Nigeria. This is of vital importance because the economic survival of the broadcasting market depends on the operations of the advertising market.
Furthermore, the commission is set to institute a team of local and foreign experts to examine the role of foreign sports broadcasting property rights, such as football rights on the cost of pay television in Nigeria as against the development of our local leagues, and its impact on the cost of pay television in Nigeria. The committee which will soon be constituted shall work to reduce the possible impact of such rights on the cost of our local TV rates.
A reliable source at the commission disclosed that in order to adequately deal with some of the issues which has arisen from both the digital transition and the competition crisis in Nigeria’s broadcasting market, the NBC recently set up the DigiGroup Contact Team.
The team is made up of broadcasters, signal distributors, set top box manufacturers, legal and technology experts.
Recently, there was a court action against Multichoice Nigeria Limited (DSTV) on the indiscriminate hike in their subscription fees.
DSTV has a wide range of exclusive pay-tv rights (satellite and terrestrial) for the wholesale supply of premium channels, such as M-NET, the Super Sport channels, KTV, MTV, CNN, Discovery, National Geographic Channel, among others. It is currently the only supplier of premium sports (English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, prime Tennis tournaments and Basketball leagues, among others).
The Guardian also learnt that the consultants may look into the country’s planned analogue to digital transition, which has June 17 deadline, as directed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Already, the Chairman of DigiTeam, Edward Amana, told The Guardian that all the ground work and technical specifications necessary for the transition has since been concluded.
He said that the major obstacle to the implementation is funding, stressing that lots of work which required funding still need to be done, “which we are yet to get from government.”
According to him, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries are in various stages of preparedness for the change over . As at now, he disclosed that Ghana is far ahead in West Africa.
“As soon as the ECOWAS Common Specifications was harmonized, Ghana commenced immediate implementation. As at today, most of the major cities in Ghana have switched over to digital. They are sure to meet the June 17 deadline.
“A number of the Francophone countries are being assisted by France and hopefully will achieve the June 17 deadline. The other Anglophone countries are in various stages of implementation and most of them are striving towards meeting the deadline,” Amana stated.
Speaking on activities in Nigeria, the Chairman of the DigiTeam said the country has successfully conducted the Jos / Plateau State pilot.
Amana disclosed that since the process began, government has not supported it with any funds.
“We are yet to get any funding from the Federal Government towards the transition”, he stated.
Speaking on the implication should Nigeria miss the June 17 deadline, Amana said the implication is that analogue television from Nigeria must not cause any interference to the digital television transmission in any of the neighbouring countries.