The Federal Government has prohibited exclusivity rights in broadcasting sporting events in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja Thursday.
The statement was made available to newsmen by Mr Segun Adeyemi Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the statement, in general, directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately implement measures aimed at sanitising and re-positioning the broadcast industry.
The Minister specifically directed NBC to implement a new regulation mandating broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such exclusive rights with other broadcasters.
”This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets.
“This is so, having removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” he said.
Mohammed said the new regulation is contained in the report of the committee which he set up to work out the modalities for implementing the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to re-position the broadcast industry. The minister inaugurated the NBC Reform Implementation Committee on Oct. 10, 2019, and the committee chaired by Prof. Armstrong Idachaba submitted its report on Nov. 19 same year.
The minister stressed that the break-in the monopoly will boost reach and also maximise utilization by all broadcasters of premium content, in order to grow their platforms and investment in other content.
It would be recalled that Mohammed, last year, said that the Federal Government was determined to end all forms of monopoly in broadcasting because “it is detrimental to the actualisation of the immense potential in the industry”.
The minister, at a meeting with Online Publishers, in Lagos had said that a situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially the teeming and talented youths, was totally unacceptable and untenable.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity.
“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices.
“You cannot use your financial or whatever power to a corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access.
“Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out.
NAN reports that with the new directive, television viewers, especially lovers of sports may witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of high-profile sporting events.
High-profile sporting events, especially for well-loved sports, particularly soccer, are currently only available to subscribers of DSTV.
Specifically, DSTV has the monopoly on the live airing of English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in Nigeria.
The era of liberalisation is, therefore, expected to witness the sporting events being accessible to other pay-TVs and free to air platforms in the country.
It will be recalled that Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa (ICASA) had taken similar step by unveiling Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018.
The bill is aimed at making big sporting events accessible for free to all citizens of South Africa.