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Nigeria: Daar Communications to Begin Multi-Channel Pay TV

Africa Independent Television, AIT, a subsidiary of Daar Communications is set to come up with a multi channel Pay TV platform that will revolutionalise broadcasting in Nigeria. Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Aleogho Raymond Dokpesi, who made this known in Lagos, he said Daar was already in the process of upgrading its facilities in each station across the country from analogue to full digital platform.

Dokpesi, said that Daar will soon set up a film village in Lagos to undertake the production of not only movies for sale but also for consumption by Nigerians. He disclosed that AIT was commencing the pay TV broadcasting with 40 channels and will transmit on high definition. The broadcast, according to him, will be a new and totally different pedestal that Nigerians have never seen before.

The studios for the broadcast are large studios, nine meters high. Work is still ongoing as digital news rooms are also being built. Dokpesi who stated that the Abuja studio was already 100 per cent digital, with broadcast to Europe, Asia etc across the whole continent of Africa, however stated that the Lagos studio was just 60% digitalized. "For the multi-channel, we are looking at the test transmission on August 1, this year and the commercial transmission on September 1, and every item we need is already on the ground.

"We are starting with 40 channels. It is the first time in Africa that you will see transmission at this level in high definition. Viewers will see broadcasting at a new level. We are engaging more hands, engaging in training and exposing people to new technologies.

"We are going from the present eight stations to 24 stations. That means we have 16 new stations coming up. Our Abuja station is already 100 percent digital while the Lagos station is about 60 percent digital and is being upgraded. We are running out feed to Asia, Europe, USA and all of Africa," he stated.

He also predicted that the broadcast industry will witness more mergers and acquisitions as more operators embrace technology to put them ahead. He also added that Daar will place a lot of emphasis on entertainment.

"You will see movies from Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood. We are also looking at children and teens. We will have quality content that will appeal them. all the 32 foreign channels that we are bringing are highly rated. We will also be strong on sports and news. We have been acquiring a lot of sporting rights. We have a lot of foreign documentaries and we are trying to build up a lot of documentaries on Nigeria and West-Africa, some of them are historical documentaries," he stated.

Dokpesi who also disclosed that the recent initial public offering IPO by Daar in February was over 100% subscribed, stated that the proceeds from the offering will help Daar enhance and consolidate on what it has done already to digitalise broadcasting. He also added that the delay in of the result of the IPO had to do with the SEC guidelines

This Day (Lagos) 16 July 2008

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