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Minister urges owners of TV stations to invest in local content, production


Abuja –  The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged owners of Television (TV) stations to invest more in local content and production.

The minister made the call at the inauguration of a new television station in Abuja, WAZOBIA Max Channel, on Tuesday.

He said that with Digital Switch Over (DSO), television stations would no longer be bogged down with transmission issues, but in beefing up content.

It would be recalled that the minister launched the pilot scheme of the DSO on Saturday in Jos and was expected to cover the entire country by June 2017.

Mohammed said “I was once told that if you check the business plan of a TV company in the analogue era, all their costs are usually made up of equipment and very little on production and content development.

“In fact, television stations have become suck in the short term profitability of air time sales.

“We are expecting this to change, as television channels will lead the way in harnessing the local creative industry to invest in good content.

“This should be done by either the television stations themselves or in partnership with production companies.”

The minister added that with digitisation, the audience reach of any TV station would depend largely on local and rich content, which would in turn attract advertisement.

He then seized the opportunity of the event to explain the importance of the digital switch on.

He said “digital television has more efficient and flexible transmission system than the current analogue system and it will allow broadcasters to offer viewers a range of new and different services.

“While the general gist is to switch from analogue to digital, we have decided to make it much more than that.

“We are recreating the experience and turning it into an empowerment and employment tool for our increasingly bubbly creative industry.

“The value added and interactive services such as Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), television shopping, weather forecast and electronic newspapers can also be accessed on the television set by viewers.’’

Mohammed explained that the digital broadcasting technology would allow for more players to be licenced for more television services.

In addition to introducing 30 free-to-air local and international channels, he said, the DSO would create improvement in the quality and diversity available for the viewing public.

He pointed out that “digital broadcast has a special Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) that will make it easier for viewers to be informed about what they are watching or will want to watch.’’

The EPG would also bring real time information to every home from public service announcements to advertising and to news services, all at the touch of a button, he noted.

The minister said the middleware in the Set-Top Boxes for the DSO would allow film producers to sell their movies directly to customers, who would access them even without Internet connection.

He congratulated the owners of the new TV station and enjoined them to take full advantage of the digital era.

The Managing Director of the new station, Mr Amin Moussalli, thanked the minister for honouring their invitation.

He said that the new television station would be dedicated to youth development and training of mass communication students. (NAN)

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