Next week, broadcasters in the country will clink glasses of champagne to celebrate the golden jubilee of television in Nigeria, and indeed the African continent. Africa's first television station, Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) was established in 1959. From that year, television-broadcasting spread massively across Nigeria motivated by two main factors: politics and education.
Technical and technological reasons should be added as these enabled a very fast proliferation of radio and TV stations in Nigeria during the about last thirty years.
In 1960, a year later, the Eastern Nigeria TV Service (ENTV) was established. The federal government established the Nigerian Television Service (NTS) in Lagos in 1962. The development of television broadcasting reflected the regional versus federal politics and aspirations with each of the 21 Nigerian states opting for its TV station.
Within 25 years, 34 TV stations had been established in Nigeria, at a rate of 1.5 stations a year. Nigeria at this time became the fourth largest TV network in the world. There is an ever -increasing choice of TV channels, and the oil revenues helped to increase the number of TV sets. In the mid-seventies about 70% of Nigeria's urban population had access to TV programmes.
In the years since its invention, television has quickly come to occupy a slot as one of the defining forces of our age. The sheer capacity to inform, educate and in particular, entertain multitudes has spawned immense advantages for purveyors - including owners of broadcast studios, sponsors and television personages - of the television set. Many would be able to recollect the pivotal role television played in creating great brands? How iconic would such events as the World Cup, the Olympics or brands like Guinness, Coca-Cola, and MTN be today if they didn't have a promotional channel like television? Any wonder why CNN, and BBC are among some of the leading influencers of events in today's world.
The public television stations are just in the process of shaking off an image of unabashed government mouthpieces, after decades of inevitable pandering to government whims in the years of Nigeria's military dictatorship. However, Nasir Zahradeen, a top official with the NTA feels the television industry in Nigeria has done tremendously well over the years and has every reason to celebrate its fifty years of existence. “We started 50 years ago with only one television station which is WNTV, now we can boast of 101 stations and 69 of them are transmitting. From that point of view we can say there has been steady progress and development as far as television is concerned.”
Even though most Nigerian viewers feel that TV coverage, especially that of NTA, is nothing to write home about, Zahradeen maintains that NTA's coverage of 95% of the country plays a vital role in entertainment and information dissemination. “Since our establishment, NTA has responded to coverage of major cultural, sports and political events with replenishing vigor and vitality, and we have never failed to deliver in that hour of need when the clarion call is made.” Meanwhile, to some people it would appear that fundamental to the problem of television in Nigeria is the poor management of creativity.
However the emergence of Nollywood has been a silver-lining on the horizon for a number of years, providing some respite in the area of creativity and content for Nigeria's television industry. Rising gradually from initial disdain and cynicism, Nollywood gradually amassed respect for itself. Its practitioners, including its most prolific and visible actors may yet command anything near the mega incomes of their counterparts in Hollywood, but their faces are slowly amassing for them brand status and Nigeria's actors and actresses have become the country's best known ambassadors.
Plenty of credit must go to local Nigerian stations for the support which they have availed the Nollywood industry. With the evolution of many local TV stations to 24-hour daily broadcasts, Nollywood movies became a regular daily feature on these stations, helping the stations meet the need of filling valuable airtime with good content, and in so doing, further promoting the movies themselves. A phenomenon that will have defining impact on the continuing evolution of television in Nigeria is mobile television. This development is being pioneered via a partnership between MTN and Multichoice Nigeria and the launch event took place a few months ago.
Multichoice Nigeria, the company which promotes the DSTV satellite offering across Nigeria, is partnering with MTN Nigeria, the country's leading telecommunications provider, to offer a bouquet of 10 television channels on the MTN network. MTN subscribers therefore, if they possess the appropriate mobile devices (handsets) will be able to watch television from the comfort and privacy of their mobile phones even while they are on the move, and far away from home. The service, both partners say, will initially be available in Lagos and Abuja, but availability will extend to more locations in due course.
Content providers will be challenged to create even more engaging content than is currently available. More engaging television content will generate more revenue streams, better paid content developers, more quality television viewership, and of course more advertising revenues for the television stations. Advertising is one key element that will be revolutionised by this new evolution to mobile TV, which MTN alongside Multichoice are pioneering. To date, advertising despite the radical changes it has undergone in many other parts of the world, remains largely traditional in Nigeria.
The migration of television from the traditional television set to the mobile device will portend a whole new world of opportunity to advertisers wishing to reach customers and prospects and to the entire advertising industry itself.
The main challenge of broadcasting today all over the world and indeed in Nigeria is migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set a deadline for the full transition to digital broadcast for 2015,and Nigeria is a signatory to this agreement, fixing its switchover date at 31 December 2012. Technology has grown rapidly since the analog system was introduced, and the current analog system cannot support future development.
According to engineer, Yomi Bolarinwa of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), there are 24 million televisions in households in Nigeria, four million in South Africa, and three million in Ghana. He said "there are 70 million television sets in homes in the US, and over 50% of this number has access to satellite television."
According to him, discussions about the switchover date from the 50-year-old analog model began in Nigeria in 2004. Bolarinwa stressed that publicity is a key element in the transition, and urged the press to adequately inform and educate the populace on this matter.
He also revealed that contrary to impressions in some quarters, “Nigeria is ahead of most African countries in the march towards the 2012 switchover date, as well as in the state of the industry." Despite the above, what is in the minds of stakeholders today is celebration time. Independent Television and Radio Programmes Producers Association of Nigeria (INTARPPAN) plans to spend about N8billion on a fiesta dubbed TV in Africa at 50. The body is raising the money through support from government agencies and corporate Nigeria to celebrate the first transmission of television signals in Africa. The week-long programme is planned for next week.
I like this post but you should have ,at least,list the numbers of private tv stations in nigeria for accuracy and fact.I know it may be difficult to do the same for states. Posted on 16 Nov 2009 11:58
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