The broadcasting regulator in Nigeria – The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) – has directed pay TV conglomerate, Multichoice to sublicense some of its channels to Metro Digital Limited (Metro TV) in keeping with the current Broadcast Code and a recent appeal court judgement.
According to media reports, NBC gave the directive to MultiChoice in a letter dated 25 October 2022, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Multichoice and signed by Chief George Obi, Head of Legal of NBC, on behalf of the Director General of the commission.
The directive read in part, “You are hereby directed to comply with the 6th edition of the NBC Code as amended pursuant to Metro Digital’s request for channels sublicensing as ordered by the Federal Court of Appeal.”
Managing Director of Metro TV, Dr Ifeanyi Nwafor, MD, who has been in a three-year legal battle with NBC and Multichoice to do the needful, indicated that the development would end the pay TV’s monopoly, restore several jobs loss and benefit pay-TV consumers in better service at affordable rates.
Nwafor explained, “The growth of the broadcast industry in Nigeria has been limited due to monopolistic practices of the dominant player. AIl indigenous companies licensed in the last twenty years did not succeed because of these practices, which include content exclusivity and warehousing.
“Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria, realising the inherent danger, outlawed foreign and domestic acquisition of contents based on exclusivity, through an amendment to the Broadcast Code. Also, licensees and broadcasters must sublicense channels to other licensees or broadcasters for commercially agreeable fees.
“We are glad NBC has complied with the court order. The end of monopoly in Nigeria’s broadcasting industry will enhance competition, innovation and quality of service delivery. As a result, the industry will experience rapid growth, and consumers will benefit from competitive pricing.
Nwafor, who said Metro Digital would resume operations in the coming months, revealed that his organisation has applied to MultiChoice requesting to be sublet Metro TV over 50 channels, including views delight, the English Premier League on Supersports.