An indigenous pay-cable television company, Metro Digital Limited, has rejected the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission’s refusal to comply with the directive of the Court of Appeals in Port Harcourt, requesting that the company’s complaints over a trade dispute between it and MultiChoice be resolved within 21 to dawn.
The appeals court had ruled in favor of Metro Digital on July 13, 2022 in a cable television channel licensing case that it appealed against leading entertainment company MultiChoice.
The appellate court, Port Harcourt, chaired by Judge Olabode Adegbehingbe in the said ruling, said NBC’s failure as a regulatory agency to respond to the complaint filed with it by Metro Digital amounts to a violation of its law. duty; and instructed the agency to begin the dispute resolution process within 21 days.
But when he read the text of a news briefing in Port Harcourt on Friday entitled “Ending monopoly in broadcasting in Nigeria,” Metro Digital director Dr. Ifeanyi Nwafor, at the expiration of the 21-day directive given to the NBC, it had yet to hear from the federal government agency.
Nwafor said the company had made the outcome of the Court of Appeals ruling available to NBC without response at the time of the briefing.
He said: “The NBC has yet to reach us, and the 21-day directive expired, I think, a few days ago. But we’re working with the federal government to make sure NBC listens to us.”
He warned that if NBC continued to delay in carrying out its responsibilities, under the court’s directive, it would take appropriate steps within the law to deal with the matter head-on.
While Nwafor noted that the Nigerian broadcasting industry has faced several challenges that have hindered its growth and development since its inception, Nwafor added that it suffers from a lack of competition, exclusivity in content acquisition, channel storage and the monopoly of the dominant market player.
“This practice has made Nigeria the country with the most pay-TV subscriptions in the world. Operators in the industry, mostly local operators who don’t have the muscles, are suffocated and suffocated to death,” he explained.
Nwafor further said that local pay television companies belonging to the Association Cable Operators of Nigeria have all died due to their inability to cope with unhealthy business practices in the Nigerian broadcasting space.
“In addition, the deaths of these companies led to thousands of job losses across the country,” he added.
Nwafor praised the Federal Government for its efforts to end monopoly by enacting the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to provide a level playing field for all industrial operators.
“We believe that with the end of the monopoly, the industry will grow exponentially with many innovations. Many jobs will be created. Prices will drop for the Nigerian public, quality of service will improve due to the new found competition.
“The United States, with a population of 350 million, has more than 400 viable pay-TV companies. There is no reason why Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, should only have one or two,” said the Metro Digital MD.