The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said with the with the launch of the Digital Switch Over (DSO), Nigerians may not have to worry about DSTV and other digital pay TV across the country.
The Minister disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at a media briefing on the pilot roll-out of the DSO, adding that the Federal Government has raked in about N1.8 billion from the licenses issued to three signal distributors.
The federal government on Saturday official launched the DSO in Jos, Plateau State.
Mohammed revealed that with the scheme Nigerians will only buy the Set-Up-Box for N1, 500 with no further monthly subscription as the government is meeting the relevant players to ensure the success of the project in Nigeria.
According to him the DSO will revolutionise the country’s scope of broadcast media industry, as it’s the dawn of a new era for the government, TV channels, producers, advertisers and most importantly the Nigerian TV customer.
‘’The DSO is an evolving media landscape that affects us all and how we receive, watch, monetize and develop television and production going forward,” Mohammed said.
‘’For television stations, this will mean a whole new experience, as they will no longer need to worry about signal transmission, thus paying more attention to content. For content providers, this is boom time, as the demand for content will skyrocket, thus allowing our youth to give vent to their creativity.
‘’For viewers, there will be a harvest of channels. The Jos residents who have already acquired the STBs as part of the pilot roll-out on Saturday are now watching 15 channels without subscription, up from the maximum of five which they were watching before.
‘’All the 15 channels provide high-resolution pictures and hi fidelity sound. When we fully transit to digital, over 30 TV channels will be watched by over 30 million viewers, making Nigeria one of the biggest markets for free to air TV in the world.
“This is landmark achievement that will no doubt create employment opportunity to Nigerian youth, this will create massive employment and also ensure the transfer of technology to our people. Also, due to availability of many channels, there will be an astronomical increase in the need for content, and this will fire the creative ability of our youths.
“And this with high quality sound and high resolution picture, which are equal, if not superior to any in the world.
“I am using this medium to call on the local and state government to support the DSO “This project would make more money for the government because 13 companies will manufacture 30 million set boxes with an exponential effect on the economy because we would have technicians to fix, electricians, content creators with availability of many channels.”
He reiterated the digital project must go ahead irrespective of what irregularities had taken place in the past, while assuring Nigerians that the country is determined to meet the June 2017 deadline for digital transmission.
He said: “We do not have a choice than to meet the deadline of 2017, all ECOWAS countries are going through the same stand. “Digitization is publicprivate sector driven initiative; it is democratisation of entire television station broadcasting. Government would end up making more money.
“As we speak, we have licensed Digital Signal Distributors and three of these distributors have paid in as much as N600 million for just being licensed and more are coming. “We have licensed also, 13 set up box manufacturer companies and four have already established their manufacturing plants in Nigeria already in Calabar and Port Harcourt.”