The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that Digital Switch Over (DSO) would grow Television advertising market in the country by 400 million dollars (about N16 billion) per annum.
The minister stated this on Thursday at the launch and roll out of digital switch over for television broadcasting in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the launching and roll out of the DSO was performed by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Speaking on the advantages of DSO, Mohammed said 30 free digital channels would be available to TV viewers in Abuja.
He said the viewers would have free and easy access to Government and Public information through a touch of the remote control.
The minister said that tens of thousands of jobs would be created through technical, production and manufacturing opportunities.
“Set-Top Box assembling and ultimately manufacturing is an irreversible mandate by the government to the industry.
“We expect this to extend very quickly to local Smart TV and Tablet manufacturing.
“With our strong consumer base, we can quickly become the supplier of these equipment to the whole of West Africa.
“As we speak, jobs are already being created as we engage Engineers, Technicians, Retailers, Distributors and Marketers, among others,’’ he said.
The minister also said that the increase in Free-To-Air channels and the separation of transmission from content aggregation would spur an increase in TV production activities.
He said that the DSO would also give opportunity for a N100 billion per annum Free TV distribution network for Nollywood.
“With the middleware in our STB’s/Receiving equipment, homes will be able to buy and watch the latest Nollywood movies without the need for Internet.
“Imagine a film released on Monday morning being immediately available to 24 million plus households at the touch of a button,’’ he said.
Mohammed doused the fear in certain quarters that digitisation would lead to loss of jobs, stressing that more employment opportunities would be created.
He commended the National broadcasting Commission (NBC), which was driving the process, the Digiteam and Pinacle Communications Ltd, which was the signal distributor for Abuja.
Corroborating the minister’s position, Chairman of Digiteam, Mr Edward Amana, said that from only the manufacturing of the Set Top Boxes, not less than 26,000 jobs would be created by the 13 licenced local manufacturers.
NAN reports that the event was attended by Ministers of Communication, Adebayo Shitu, Health, Prof, Isaac Adewole, and Ministers of State for Environment, Alhaji Usman Jubril , Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Sen. Suleiman Adokwe, his counterpart from the House of Representatives, Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi and former Governor of Ekiti, Adebayo Oni were also in attendance.(NAN)