Nigeria’s New Wave broadcasters set a challenge for traditional free-to-air broadcasters

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Last month has seen three new broadcasting operations open in Nigeria that have pitched their tent in the online space. Not all of them may succeed but what they are offering may well shake up traditional free-to-air broadcasters as much as pay TV has over the last five years. Russell Southwood looks at the riders and runners.

The most dramatic play comes from Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper with its new launch Guardian TV:

Guardian TV: It wants to offer exclusive video interviews, as well as up-to-the-minute videos from across the world, and will be available on virtually any device that has an internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, and Smart TVs.

Guardian TV has partnered some of the world’s top online news and video outlets in order to provide its viewers with the best in news entertainment and sport. Partners include Al Jazeera, AFP, Reuters, CNBC Africa, Bloomberg, Forbes Africa TV and France 24. The list also includes Blustar Entertainment, Ebony Life TV, Ovation TV, Frontera, Channels TV, and Omnisport.

The launch of Guardian TV comes after the complete re-launch of The Guardian’s digital platform. The new service is part of a continued investment by the group into its digital operations and products. The organisation has signalled its intent to launch products and services that can compete on an international basis.

The best comparison that can be made is with Pulse.ng which got into the digital water well ahead of Guardian. On the text side it has 3 million unique views a month and on the video side it’s Drive Time with Yvonne Vixen that features her driving the celebrity’s car and interviewing them whilst being filmed with a GoPro camera gets 1750,000 view a show and its other daily shows get 10-20,000 views.

KairosWebTV is an “indie” entry from an individual entrepreneur with ambitious programming plans. Whether the money can be found to create these plans, only time will tell. It describes itself as an “online TV platform for emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups, news and insights, technology trends, edutainment, skits, events and online digital training, is set to transform Nigeria's online television space”.

The channel is run by the completely unknown CIHAN and is promising seven channels from different partners including Fate Foundation, Real Success (SA), Nigerian Olympic Committee (offering live streaming of Team Najia), The Winlos amongst others. In addition it’s promising an entrepreneur channel and the NetNEWS Channel provides up to date news on entertainment, politics, business, Sports. Interesting but not exactly the in the first division.

Speaking at the media launch in Lagos on Tuesday, its Chief Executive Officer of Celestine Achi said it was designed to save money viewers, adding that the era of being ripped off by Pay TV viewers must be challenged through disruptive technologies. Rather less promisingly, he said that:”Whether you are on 2G, 3G or 4G LTE, the experience will be such that videos should show seamlessly." On 2G? Mmmm?

S&T Media takes an idea from elsewhere and brings it to Africa for the first time. Dwell time TV offers those waiting in line at petrol stations and supermarkets the opportunity to see short TV programmes and advertising. They have already signed deals with the some of the main petrol station chains (Oando Plc, Forte Oil and Total Plc) in Nigeria and in the same week they got the finance deal signed up Spar and Spanish-based CityDia to take their AdEdge platform.

It has recently raised US$1 million from EchoVC Partners. Co-founder Soji Ogundoyin told us:” :”The majority of it will go on rolling out the platform. Staff costs are pretty low and we’ve already spent money on rolling out the data network (which supports it). We will be able to get close to 700 units rolled out and each unit takes about 6 months to pay back. Etisalt and GT Bank have already signed and more will follow.”
To watch Soji Ogundoyin, S&T Media talk about its dwell time TV operation click here:

None of these new operations competes head on with free-to-air broadcasters or currently poses an existential threat to them. However, they are all going to be nimbler and faster at getting to certain niche audiences than traditional broadcasters.

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