When the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) released it’s amended 6th edition of the NBC Code a few days ago, some industry observers agreed that the anti-competitive objectives of the revised document, which is to maintain and promote fair and efficient market conduct, conforms to international standard.
The observers lauded the efforts of the Federal Government through NBC to protect Nigerians from what they described as modern colonization imposed by owners of PayTV firms on Nigerians. They insisted that the PayTV, especially the ones owned by foreigners, have fleeced Nigerians over the years without ‘meaningful rewards’.
What the amended code says
A part of the code (220.127.116.11) states that “In furtherance thereof, a Broadcaster shall offer the Sports and News programme and/or channels to other broadcasters for retail to residential subscribers in Nigeria on the following terms:
• Upon reasonable request in writing
• Within a reasonable time
• On a non-exclusive basis
• Without any undue discrimination
• In accordance with the requirements of this section and directions issued by the Commission.
According to NBC, every broadcaster must license its broadcast and/or signal rights in any genre of programming to another broadcaster in Nigeria if:
• The genre of program(s) enjoy(s) compelling viewership by Nigerians;
• It relates to a product or service that is objectively necessary to be able to compete effectively on a downstream market;
• It is likely to lead to the elimination of effective competition on the downstream markets; and
• The refusal is likely to lead to consumer deprivation.
Any platform that contravenes this provision will be given the chance to comply or risk a fine of ₦10 million ($25,773).
What it means: The broadcast code would prevent PayTV and streaming platforms from making content exclusive on their platforms. It compels PayTV and video-on-demand platforms like Netflix, Amazon, iROKOtv, Scene One TV, Africa Magic, etc to sub-license their content at prices the NBC will regulate. If they refuse to share or comply with the NBC’s prices, they would be sanctioned and probably fined, if adamant.
On the other hand, concerned movie content distributors and operators have kicked against NBC’s move to outlaw content exclusivity. As far as they are concerned, owning exclusive content is their major Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and they are not ready to lose such fortune for others that did not work for it.
Reacting to the development, Chief Executive Officer, iRokoTV, Jason Njoku, one of the top PayTV platforms in Nigeria, on his Twitter handle explained that the new law, if implemented, will destroy PayTV in Nigeria and alleged that NBC in compelling sub-licensing of content & regulating price, would effectively turn a private enterprise into state property.
Njoku said, “Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in making exclusivity illegal, compelling sub-licensing of content & regulating price, are effectively turning the private enterprise into state property. Interference Distorts Markets. If implemented this 100% destroys PayTV in Nigeria.
“This our champagne socialism & zero input style of policymaking is the reason Nigeria is stunted in everything. I invest billions naira in content then I am compelled to share with everyone else as NBC sets the price. Why? Dark forces or incompetence is at play here. Ridiculous.”
He explained that if Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua are to fight, and it is to be shown in Nigeria, that means the equivalent of 30% of the license costs need to be invested in an equivalent local sport. “Who will pay for that?” he inquired.
A policy expert and a lawyer, Ayobami Oyeleke, explained that the NBC, which was created by a military decree in 1992 and later became an Act of the Nigerian National Assembly to regulate Nigeria’s broadcast industry, does not have the power to regulate copyrights of others.
He said that Nigeria’s Copyright Act allows a content producer to grant to distributors and that the NBC has no legal right to determine who shares what content or even fix certain prices.
He said,“The agency cannot correct a wrong with another wrong. For such code to be a success, it must approach the National Assembly to amend the Copyright Act. After three readings, the committee would hold a public hearing in that regard before that is done.”
If NBC would take the amended code to the National Assembly or it would implement the policy without taking that route, operators and stakeholders would find out in few weeks.
Sony launches new features to allow artistes take charge of their earnings
The Cash Out element allows the artists greater control over their money.
Sony Music Entertainment Africa has launched two new features – Real Time Earnings and Cash Out.
The features, present on the Sony Music Artist Portal, will allow their artistes to take charge of their earnings, viewing and withdrawing faster than ever before.
The Real Time Earnings element of the Sony Music Artist Portal works real-time anywhere and anytime provides artistes with immediate updates about their global earnings and account balances, and also gives them insights into their earnings trends.
In addition, the portal provides artists exclusive access to performance data and insights from digital services like Apple Music and Spotify, with a pointer on consumption patterns on a daily basis so they get analytics and insights into their fanbase preferences.
The Cash Out element allows the artists greater control over their money, with access to request a withdrawal of all, or part of their payable balance. No hidden fees or charges are incurred during such withdrawals.
According to Sean Watson, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment Africa, the new features provides artists the freedom and control they need over their earnings in times like this.
“The high level of transparency and efficiency in these tools is aimed at making doing business between us clearer, faster, simpler and more direct for our artists and partners and it comes at a time when we all need as much of that as we can get,” he said.
SMEA Promotions manager, Sivuyise Mfenyana, stated that the artists can access these functions and the data insight by downloading the Sony Artist Portal App from either the iOS or Google Play stores.
This is coming shortly after Sony Music Entertainment Africa (SMEA) and Celebrity Services Africa (CSA) entered a partnership to jointly develop new talents and facilitate existing artiste-brand opportunities on the continent.
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With the partnership, Nigerian artists like D’banj previously on CSA’s roaster will get to benefit from these new features. Other talents on their roaster includes NBA basketball player, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kwessta, Mlindo, Ndiovu Youth Choir, D.J. Maphorisa.
Emerging technologies such as these are expected to revolutionise the way the music business industry operates, over the coming years.
MultiChoice in another pay-as-you-view tussle with Reps
Pay-per-view usually applies to a one-off broadcast of high stakes games like football, boxing and wrestling matches.
This is indeed a difficult time for the management of MultiChoice Nigeria, owner of DStv and GOtv, as the Pay TV may be forced to answer the same questions for the umpteenth time.
In few days, the House of Representatives, which has begun an investigation of cable and satellite television service providers in Nigeria over their high tariffs and monopolised bouquets, will invite the company to answer questions over the much talked-about ‘pay as you earn.’
Though, it is an industry probe, the House is specifically probing Digital Satellite Television, a South Africa-based provider owned by MultiChoice, for allegedly cheating its Nigerian subscribers by restricting them to prepaid plans.
Chairman of the committee, Unyime Idem, at an investigative hearing held in Abuja on Thursday, said that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had been summoned to explain why DSTV and other service providers refused to introduce pay-per-view.
Idem said, “Today, we want to hear from you and your team, how the industry can be properly managed so that beneficiaries who are Nigerians can smile at the end of the day. I am sure you must have been hearing of the yearnings of Nigerians for years now, who are the subscribers to these services, that they are not happy with the current services they are getting from the providers.
“They have been crying on a daily basis that they are not satisfied with the services they are getting from the providers in terms of high charges, price hike and, most importantly, considering what is obtainable in other countries of the world, that is pay-per-view offer that other countries are giving to their subscribers.
“Why is it not implemented in Nigeria? We want to know your position as the regulator of this service providers. What are the bottlenecks? What are the constraints? What are the implications? Why are we not enjoying ‘pay as you go’ as subscribers to these service providers?”
READ ALSO: Airtel Nigeria launches “Airtel TV”
MultiChoice says …
Meanwhile, MultiChoice has explained that there are some misconceptions about what Pay per View means.
The company’s spokesperson, Caroline Oghuma, told Nairametrics in an email interview a few months ago that it was not a service that enabled one to match consumption to subscription as was the case with a meter or mobile phone.
She said, “It is a type of pay television service by which a subscriber of a television service provider can purchase events to view via private broadcast. It usually applies to a one-off broadcast of high stakes games such as football, boxing and even wrestling matches.
“Pay per View service can be purchased via a cable or satellite TV provider as a non-refundable separate package in addition to a pre-existing subscription. An example of pay per view in action was the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, aptly dubbed ‘The Money Fight’. In this case, subscribers had to each pay up to $100 for the bout in the US, and watch or not, the subscription ended with the 10 round fight.
“We broadcast the same boxing match to our Premium subscribers at no extra cost, and those who have Exploras were able to record the match and re-watch at another time. It is important to state that it is an expensive service to subscribe to. To date, no pay TV operation globally has a model based solely on pay as you view, as it is not a viable business model.”
She added that the company urged its customers to download DStv Now where they could watch all the content on their current subscription on the go, via phone or tablet. DStv Box-Office, a service available on the Explora decoder, enabled them to rent a movie at N400, for 2 days.
Meanwhile, members of the House had, on March 17, 2020, taken turns to criticise DSTV for refusing to introduce pay-per-view.
Consequently, the House had resolved to set up the committee to probe into the matter, with the mandate to invite Federal Government agencies regulating the industry, including the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Again, on June 2, 2020, the House inaugurated an ad hoc committee to investigative the increment of subscription rates by Multichoice and other cable television service providers.
The committee, which the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, constituted and inaugurated, assured Nigerians of justice and fairness, saying that it would work towards making the providers adopt ‘pay per view’ system.
Multichoice, StarTimes, others’ reception increase by 23% in Nigeria- Report
Satellite TV reception was the choice for 11.8 million households in 2019, a 23% increase from 2017.
More Nigerians embraced the services of Satellite TV operators like Multichoice Nigeria, StarTimes and others in 2019, as their viewership grew by 23%.
This was disclosed by recent data released by a global content connectivity solutions, SES on Thursday, after reaching out to 35 million TV households across Africa in its annual Satellite Monitor survey.
The report also found that the Ghanaian viewership increased by 19% within the same period.
The study on TV reception also shows an increase in SES reach from 33 million African households in 2018 to 35 million households in 2019.
In Nigeria, it found that satellite TV reception was the choice for 11.8 million households in 2019, a 23% increase compared to 2017, and a further 4.7 million in Ghana, up by 19% from 2017.
The study also highlighted that High Definition (HD) TV sets are becoming increasingly popular, already present in approximately 50% of Ghanaian and Nigerian TV homes.
Other TV reception modes in Nigeria and Ghana currently include terrestrial, cable and IPTV.
According to the latest survey results, satellite TV is steadily gaining popularity as the TV reception mode of choice in both markets, with 70% of TV homes in Ghana and 33% of those in Nigeria opting for satellite in 2019 – an increase from 64% and 27%, respectively, compared to 2017.
Vice President of Sales and Market Development for SES Video in Africa, Clint Brown, said,
“In addition to the growth of homes reached in Nigeria and Ghana, the study shows that SES’s satellites reach 11.6 million homes (satellite and terrestrial) in anglophone West Africa; 6.2 million satellite homes in francophone West Africa; 17.7 million homes (satellite and terrestrial) in sub-Saharan Africa; and 0.9 million satellite homes in East Africa.
“The results of our annual Satellite Monitor market research demonstrate that satellite continues to be the optimal infrastructure to deliver hundreds of TV channels and in high picture quality too, while offering an affordable solution in the transition from analogue to digital TV.”
With the deadline for the analogue switch-off looming in both countries – 2020 in Ghana and 2021 in Nigeria, he added that the 2019 Satellite Monitor findings confirm that end consumers in regions going through digital migration are satisfied with satellite TV and choosing it for its better value proposition and variety of free-to-air offerings, rather than purchasing new hardware and switching to digital terrestrial TV.
About SES annual market research
It offers a comprehensive and in-depth analysis into the TV market in each country it surveys and is designed to assess the development of TV reception modes and SES’s total reach in the market, as well as to serve as a benchmark for the TV and satellite industry.
In 2019, Ghana and Nigeria were the main surveyed African countries as they stand as the most dynamic and highly penetrated TV markets in sub-Saharan Africa and have been surveyed by SES since 2015.