The Digital Switch Over (Digital TV) will fetch the Nollywood not less than N100bn through Free TV distribution network annually, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.
Speaking in Ilorin, Kwara State on Wednesday at the launch of digital switch over at the premises of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Alhaji Mohammed said Nigerians have watched Nollywood movies from VHS tapes to VCD to DVD, adding that the whole world has moved to digital consumption of content with its attendant benefits and democratisation of distribution.
He added that Nigerian TV viewers have been constrained by limited penetration of internet in their homes saying; “With the middleware in our Set Top Boxes, homes will be able to buy and watch the latest Nollywood movies without the need for internet.
“Imagine a film released on Monday morning being immediately available to all the households in Kwara at the touch of a button. That’s the kind of experience we are talking about,” he said.
Mohammed added that FreeTV has the capacity to grow TV advertising market by $400m per annum through audience measurement.
He declared that he would be more than willing to his to throw the weight of the government behind the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in its efforts to create a viable currency by which producers of content and channels can be re-numerated.
Digital switch over according to him would create tens of thousands of jobs through Technical and Manufacturing opportunities adding; “Set Top Box assembling and ultimately manufacturing is an irreversible mandate by the government to the industry. We expect this to extend very quickly to local Smart TV and Tablet manufacturing.
“With our strong consumer base, we can quickly become the supplier of these equipments to the whole of West Africa,” the minister added.
Mohammed added that Electronic Programme Guide will also be a platform for App developers to create products that will make life easier for the home consumers.
“For the people of Kwara, we welcome the publishers of Apps to start looking for how to make living easier and commerce easier, using the technology that sits on these boxes,” he added.
Director General of NBC, Mallam Ish’aq Modibo Kawu in his remark said the switch over in Ilorin was the third since its inauguration in Jos, Plateau State.
Kawu said one of the reasons for choosing Kwara in the North Central was because of the presence of old broadcasting house and its closeness to international borders.
He said the switch over will be done in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country, adding that Kaduna will be next to switch over to digital TV.
The DG added that Federal Government imported 600, 000 Set Top Boxes at subsidised price.
He said that when the 600, 000 boxes are exhausted, there will be no subsidy for subsequent ones as the boxes will be manufactured in the country.