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Thursday 30th March, 2023


COVID-19: The Need To Look At MultiChoice



By Chigoziem DIKE

A confession: I happen to be one of the millions of Nigerians, who view corporate organisations, especially those with non-Nigerian origins, as being in the country for nothing other than profits.

While I fully understand that a loss-making business is nothing more than a recreational activity, I still cling to the view that businesses in Nigeria, where regulatory institutions are frail, are in the game to make money and more money.

Nothing else in spite of efforts by companies at “giving back to the society”, which I think are sometimes attended by obsequious publicity which makes them appear hollow.

That view is a product of my belief that what businesses “give back to the society” is measly compared to what they cream off their customers – an assumption devoid of any knowledge of their operational costs and which ignores the inclement conditions under which businesses operate.

I hold a similar view of politicians, who I suspect, give tiny fractions of what they earn to their constituents via empowerment schemes. I have held on to this view for a long time, but my hold on it has weakened a little.

Why? How? By whom? I will answer the questions in reverse order. MultiChoice is the answer. I am a DStv subscriber and MultiChoice is the last company I thought had any feeling for its subscribers beyond taking their naira-of course, in exchange for the quality entertainment unavailable outside its two platforms.

My two youngest siblings recently became subscribers of DStv and GOtv respectively, a reason for which they are thrilled. The thrill they are experiencing is not just that they now have access to what they have always wished for (both just got jobs), but the cost at which they got it.

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They are, I believe, two of the earliest beneficiaries of MultiChoice’s ongoing price reduction promo via which aspiring subscribers can buy DStv and GOtv decoders at hugely discounted prices. The older one got herself a DStv decoder at N9,900 complete with a free one-month subscription on DStv Confam. The younger rewarded herself with a GOtv decoder for N6, 900, which came with a free subscription on GOtv Jolli for the same period.

The price slash promo, announced some four weeks ago, I believe, is appropriately timed, as it shows that the provider’s understanding of COVID-19’s impact on finances and desire to soothe its effects on its customers.

Hints of the understanding shown had manifested last year, just as COVID-19 berthed in Nigeria and threatened a never-seen-before disruption of socio-economic life. The balm provided was “We’ve Got You” campaign, an allusion to the willingness to support customers.

The campaign, of which I was a beneficiary, ran for three months and provided DStv and GOtv subscribers an upgrade to the next higher bouquet on renewal of the subscription on his/her regular bouquets.

That gesture was also attended by the granting of access to Free-to-Air (FTA) news, kiddies and sporting channels. And with the ban on congregation for religious purposes, part of the measures to curtail the spread of the virus, a pop-up channel, Hallelujah, was introduced to bring the church to DStv and GOtv Christian subscribers’ living rooms just as Muslim subscribers were granted access to Sunna TV, starting from the beginning of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month.

The lockdown, of course, imposed on fun seekers the obligation of staying away from parties. To fill the gap, party fun-loving DStv and GOtv subscribers were served weekly lashings of party fun through Turnup Friday and Owambe Saturday.  More fun came via COVID-19 Hope for Africa Concert, in partnership with One Africa Global Foundation.

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Aside customers, the government and general public received support, as the country quaked under thinning finances and social disruption. To support government efforts at containing the spread of the virus, MultiChoice made cash donations of N200 million to the Federal Government and N50 million to Lagos State government.

It also donated 60, 000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals and Non-Governmental Organisations. Delivered10,0000 face masks to dealers and other inits value chain and provided PPE, sanitiser and immunity-boosting multivitamins to employees.

These steps were accompanied by contribution to public education about the virus through a partnership with the UN and the U.S Embassy to carry Educational Public Service Announcements (PSAs).

Further support for public education and enlightenment was provided through the regular highlighting of the helplines of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on more than 10 channels on DStv and GOtv platforms at a cost estimated to be in excess of N550 million.

With its finger permanently on the pulse of entertainment, MultiChoice realised that with the lockdown, the TV and film sector was headed for something akin to an intensive care unit. Productions were naturally affected, leaving professionals in the sector gasping in the financial sense.

To save the situation, MultiChoice made a commitment of up to N400million, to safeguard the income of cast and crew on various production. Also, alumni of the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy (MTFA) were financially supported to shoot documentaries.

There is no doubt that Covid-19 stole in on us all and shattered our plans, including the best-laid ones. That we, as a society are gradually emerging from the socio-economic rubble it bequeathed, is in large parts, due to contributions of corporate organisations like MultiChoice.

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Dike a Public Affairs analyst, writes from Abuja

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Africa 24 Group Joins The African Union Of Broadcasting (AUB)

The Africa 24 Group will actively participate in all the activities of the African Union of Broadcasting, particularly in the broadcasting, distribution and sharing of its contents to all members of the AUB

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The Africa 24 Group has become a member of the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the biggest media professional organization in Africa with over 80 members.

The AUB is also the only African organization, member of the World Broadcasting Union (WBU).

The Africa 24 Group will actively participate in all the activities of the African Union of Broadcasting, particularly in the broadcasting, distribution and sharing of its contents to all members of the AUB across the continent and its associate members around the world.

The continent’s leading audiovisual brand, Africa 24 Group has had a total of 4 full HD television channels since November 2022, each, leader in their segment:

  • Africa 24: Leader of information in French on the Continent, published by Amedia
  • Africa 24 English: Leader of African Information exclusively in English
  • Africa 24 infinity, the channel of creative talents dedicated to music, art, culture, fashion
  • Africa 24 Sport: first channel of sports information and competitions of the Continent.

According to Mr. Grégoire Ndjaka, Director General of the AUB, “the Africa 24 Group, which has been the official media partner of the African Union since 2019, joins the big family of the AUB, its 80 members and partner institutions to share a common vision of promoting the continent’s media.

“We will develop a dynamic platform with Africa 24 to reinforce a positive narrative of Africa’s past, present and future potential. The Africa 24 Group is a real continental success, thanks to its ability to develop content at the local level on the major themes of current Africa.

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“We must work together to promote, strengthen the influence and consolidate the position of the countries of the continent on African and global issues.”

For the Africa 24 Group, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary in February 2024, joining the AUB is a major step that marks a new dynamic in its development.

From being the continent’s leading French-speaking news channel, Africa 24 is now a leading publisher with a unique reputation among the African population, senior executives and decision-makers.

The solid development prospects of the Africa 24 Group are in line with the partnership signed between Africa 24 and the African Union and its member countries like the Republic of Cameroon, which is a reference institutional partner of the Media Group.

For Mr. Constant Nemale, founder of the Africa 24 Group, membership with the AUB marks a new direction that is part of the “Attractive Africa” ​​vision, the objective of which is to see African institutions and business enterprises support and promote the development of the continent through innovative local content.

“Becoming a member of the AUB is the greatest professional reward for the Africa 24 Group. This membership will enable our media through its 4 channels to collaborate more effectively with all the media on the continent, to strengthen the quality of productions, develop synergies, and be part of a dynamic of cooperation to initiate content in the official languages ​​of the continent, namely French, English, Portuguese, Arabic, but also in the various African local languages.”

Through its “AUBVision” content exchange platform, the AUB makes available to its African members and partners (European Broadcasting Union – European Radio-Television Union (EBU), Radio-Television Union Arab States (ASBU) and the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), etc., contents of Africa 24 Group.

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The African Union of Broadcasting and the Africa 24 Group will initiate a joint development program in sports, and the creative industries, in the training of media professionals and also towards institutional and corporate partners to promote African creative genius in all fields.

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BON Postpones TNBA, Extends Deadline For Entries



The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), organisers of The Nigeria Broadcasting Awards (TNBA), have postponed the awards ceremony to April 2023 and extended the deadline for the submission of entries into the various award categories.

The postponement decision was reached during a review meeting held on Tuesday 18th October 2022 between the Steering Committee, the Consulting firm, and BON Secretariat.

According to the committee, headed by Mr. Guy Murray-Bruce, President, Silverbird Group, the postponement became necessary in view of the number of broadcast professionals hindered from meeting the 23 September deadline for submission of entries by technology and courier companies, adding that the new deadline is 15 January 2023.

“We received 471 entries at the expiration of the deadline for submission. But we kept receiving pleas for an extension.

“After considering the reasons given by prospective entrants, who could not meet the original deadline, we resolved to extend the deadline, so as to have a really competitive process and ensure that we do not marginalize people, whose bids to file entries were thwarted by poor internet connectivity and delays by courier companies.

“We realized that both factors were beyond their control and felt it would be unfair to exclude them from the awards process on such bases. We have, therefore, extended the deadline to 15 January 2023,” the statement said.

The Steering Committee also extended the time span of entries eligible for consideration by the judges’ committee, headed by Mr. Emeka Mba, former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to 31 December 2022.

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This implies that entries must be original copies of work undertaken between August 1, 2021, and 31 December 2022, as against the previously announced date of 31 August 2022.

Entries are also required to be accompanied by entrants’ resumes and are to be submitted either as an MP3 audio file for radio or an MP4 video file for TV.

TNBA, according to BON, is a platform for the recognition and celebration of professional excellence in the Nigerian broadcasting industry. The award has 12 competitive categories in radio and television and is open to broadcast platforms licensed by NBC.


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NBC Fines DSTV, Trust TV, 2 Others N20m For ‘Terrorism Glorification’

-Says Fine Must Be Paid On Or Before August 30

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million each on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), and NTA-Startimes Limited for broadcasting a documentary by the BBC Africa Eye titled, “Bandits Warlords Of Zamfara”.

Also fined the sum of N5 million was Trust Television Network (Trust TV) for the broadcast of another documentary titled, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

NBC made this disclosure in a statement titled: ‘NBC Sanction PayTV Platforms’ which was issued on Wednesday. August 3, 2022, and signed by its director-general, Balarabe Shehu Illela.

DigitalTimesNG recalls that last week Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that the Federal Government would sanction Trust TV and BBC for “terrorism glorification” in their documentaries.

Mohammed said the federal government was aware of the “unprofessional” documentary by the BBC Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting “terror” in the country.

While acknowledging the need of educating, informing, and enlightening the public on issues bordering on developments and happenings within and outside the country, the Commission in the statement, advised broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s national security.

Consequently, NBC said the airing and carriage of these documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Sixth edition.

The relevant sections cited include “3.1.1: No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime; lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;

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”3.12.2: The broadcaster shall not transmit a programme that incites or likely to incite to violence among the populace, causing mass panic, political and social upheaval, security breach and general social disorder; and

“3.11.2: The Broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a manner depicting that law and order are socially superior to, or more desirable than crime or anarchy.”

NBC said the imposed penalties on the broadcast media platforms and station were to be remitted not later than August 30, 2022.

While warning that failure to comply with this directive will lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Code, the NBC enjoined broadcasters to be instruments of national unity and desist from falling into antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorise subversive elements and their activities.

“Please note that every broadcast station or platform is responsible for the content it transmits or transmitted on its platform, and shall be held liable for any content in violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code,” the Commission added.


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