Broadcast industry seeks one year moratorium to mitigate COVID-19 effects
• Over N100b Lost To Pandemic, Says Ohuabunwa
The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has requested a one-year moratorium from the Federal Government to mitigate effects of the Coronavirus on the industry.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, recently announced a two-month licence fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in the country.
The measure followed a request by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for a waiver to terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria.
In an interview, yesterday, Vice Chairman of BON and CEO, Multimesh Broadcasting Company, Mr. Godfrey Ohuabunwa told The Guardian the two-month waiver was automatic and was already taking effect, “as nobody is disturbing any broadcast station to pay for any licence fee.”
Ohuabunwa, who commended the Federal Government’s gesture, said two- month waiver would not make any impact on the industry, as over N100bn revenue and jobs have been lost in the industry, due to COVID-19.
He said: “The broadcast industry is one of the worst-hit by COVID-19. We have lost huge revenue, lost jobs. The broadcast industry is part of the general economy and advertisements and promotions are the major sources of revenue for the industry.
“In the last five months, there are no advertisements. Nobody is doing business, nobody is shooting new films; you are watching old films. We are not getting new programmes to sell. We are one of the industries worst hit by COVID-19. The industry has lost almost the whole revenue for the year running into over N100b.
“We have the state-owned broadcast and the private broadcast stations. The worst-hit are the private stations, which survive mostly on advertisements, whereas state-owned broadcast stations get some support from the government, which for now, are not coming as expected.”
Ohuabunwa also said the broadcast industry was looking for new ways of generating revenue, adding that the industry was trying to merge the convergence of Information Technology (IT) with the broadcast to survive.
“We are looking at the digital economy. We are looking at digital advertisements. We are also competing, we are moving from thematic to online advertisements…,” he said.