The Federal Government says although it is tinkering with the business model of Digital Switch Over (DSO) in television broadcasting, the project remains irreversible.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday at the closing of the Two-Day Creative Industry Financing Summit in Lagos .
Our correspondent reports that the Summit was organised by the ministry in conjunction with Think Tank Media and Advertising.
It was reported that DSO was identified at the summit as critical to the transformation of the creative sector and a major antidote to the teething problem of piracy in the music and film industries.
Briefing participants on the progress made so far on DSO, the minister said that there is no going back on the project.
He explained that government is tinkering with the business model it inherited with regards to sale and distribution of Set-Top-Box (STB), a critical component of the DSO.
STB is a TV signal source or an information appliance device that generally contains a TV-tuner input and displays output Mohammed said that one STB cost 40 dollar (N12,000) and it is being subsidised by government with 35 dollar (N10, 500) bringing down its subsidised rate to television household where DSO had been launched – Jos and Abuja, to N1,500.
The minister said it is difficult for government to sustain the subsidy to cover the over 25 million television households across the country.
He said the government is also aware that it will be difficult for many television households to afford the retail cost without the subsidy.
To address the challenge, he said there would be the need for direct marketing, while efforts are being made to bring down the cost.
He said that talks are on with state and local governments to subsidise STB for their people, while an efficient method of collection of TV levy would be designed.
The minister said that the advantages of DSO could not be quantified, considering its potential to generate jobs and transform the creative industry at local and other levels.
He assured that government will roll out DSO in six states across the six geo-political zones in July and August.
The minister underscored the need for a strategic meeting between content providers and content distributors in the DSO chain.
He stressed the need to make distinction on revenue generation for the PayTV like DSTV and Startimes and FreeTV (DSO).
He said to his own understanding, PayTV should limit itself to subscription, while the FreeTV concentrate on advertisement.
“We have a situation whereby the PayTV in addition to collecting their subscription, have taken over the advertisement from FreeTV.
“We are going to address this because we are talking about equity and justice here,’’ he said.
He restated government’s resolve to ensure the success of DSO across the country.