It’s time to listen to the screams of the NTA
A few years ago, I had the precious opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with a new CEO of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) who bitterly complained that the organization had failed. no money to finance its operations. As if the word was already hanging in my mouth, I told him to count the availabilities in network news, to calculate for a month only to find out how much the station earns from the news belt alone. He was shocked but claimed otherwise.
Availabilities are the windows of advertising opportunities in a particular broadcast belt. Advertising opportunities in the NTA network news attract high costs to the detriment of those who pay them. Having started journalism from the supplements department of a frontline newspaper, network news to me is like a little money factory. To begin to assess the ability of the NTA to make money, one would have to start by taking a closer look at the various programs of the station that can generate revenue.
That is why, despite my contempt for the NTA, I found myself agreeing with the managing director, Yakubu Mohammed, when he told the House Committee on Information last week, l national orientation, ethics and values, as free coverage of events prevented the station from self-funding. If I can lend it a few words, it shouldn’t actually be self-funding, but this free coverage of activities prevents the station from competing effectively in the deregulated broadcasting industry.
As it is, the NTA is not in competition. It only benefits from the haughty proclamations of Africa’s largest network. No statement can be more contrary to the truth than this.
“The NTA is able to earn enough money to support itself if left alone – if not seen as a government that is there for everyone to come and get services for free.
“Everyone thinks the NTA is a government institution – it belongs to all of us. So, we go to NTA, we get the services offered by NTA for free. I mentioned that our services come at a cost. For example, for every big hedge I do, I pay Intelsat in hard currency, ”Mohamed said.
Those of us who have known this for a long time feel outraged by the poorly managed capacity of the NTA. Some of us grew up on the entertainment regime of the NTA, which, working in different states of the federation, had flagship programs like TownDirector from Lagos, Masquerade Enugu, Jordan hotel from the city of Benin, The rooster crows at dawn de Jos and many other programs.
But these were glory days that weren’t fully realized. Instead, the NTA missed several opportunities to perpetuate its hegemony and promote quality programming that could distinguish it as the default station in the country. Sadly, for years the NTA lived in shacks and cabins, with no respectable and responsible broadcast headquarters defined. In the late 1980s, when the government allowed partial commercialization of the NTA to increase its spending capacity, management failed to develop an appropriate business plan that could establish a solid economic base for the station. . They reaped the rewards by raising advertising prices and exploiting private producers who wanted to broadcast programs on the channel.
When the government deregulated the broadcasting industry in 1992, the NTA mocked the new regulator and refused to recognize its authority in the broadcasting industry. While subordinating the practice of journalism to the whims of members of the government, the NTA exploited its connections in high places to live above the law.
In pursuit of the shadows, the NTA hardly considered the silent revolution that private operators were setting up until its dominance was overwhelmed by superior technology and exposure in modern broadcasting. Overnight, the station’s status became that of an envious second fiddle.
Sometimes I watch the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), with its radio and television channels, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), with its radio and television channels, the Voice of America (VOA), with its channels radio and television, just to give a few examples, I am suddenly ashamed of wanting to plague the world with our inability to plan and reason, or even do the right thing. Either the nation is totally unaware of the existing structures in certain trades, or it wants to reinvent the wheel and is doing very badly.
I sincerely think the NTA needs help, a lot of help. Broadcasting is a business and those involved in it are engaged in a noble profession which helps rid society of certain scum and misfits in any capacity. Whether in government, politics, business, academia, public service, religion or even in the rabbit hole, broadcasting should play a role in making them uncomfortable and unsuitable for the society we seek to build. .
The NTA should start by helping itself provide professional broadcast even in a government setup, not just to broadcast government bulletins and even stories that overthrow the truth. The NTA needs to learn a bit from the VOA, how it has stood up to Donald Trump’s administration in its struggle to control the levers of the government-funded station. The station had congressional support. The NTA must provide professional services to the nation if it is to gain any respect. But he needs the support of the National Assembly.
Listen to the CEO’s painful words. “For example, you go out with a digital camera, then you bring photos. In the process of transmitting, you transmit using analog equipment. Ultimately, the images aren’t as bright as they should be.
I have the humble opinion that no major broadcast operator in Nigeria suffers from the kind of defect and professional sanction that the CEO complains about. No wonder then that in the preference scale, NTA struggles to climb the ladder, far behind its competitors.
NTA needs help. Budgeting should be sorted and properly funded. The NTA should operate as a public broadcaster, funded by the government, or it should be allowed to operate as a business and be able to charge market rates for its services. At present, the NTA is undermining its competitors while benefiting from government subsidies. However, there is a need to discuss how deregulated broadcasting works in other climates so that NTA does not continue to experience embarrassing inconvenience.
But for now, the NTA needs the proper dressing, training and modern equipment to compete. Unfortunately, the government’s grip on the station is so suffocating it can drown even a behemoth. This is not a path to the future for a resort that once had the promise of greatness.