Since the determination of the federal government to switch over from analogue to digital broadcasting, GOtv Nigeria has been driving the Pay-Tv industry with technology innovations to sustain digital broadcasting, writes Emma Okonji.
The journey towards the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Nigeria commenced in earnest in 2006 with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Radio Conference, which resulted in the Digital Plan for Region 1 of the ITU and the subsequent Geneva 2006 (GE-06) Agreement.
The practical realisation of the transition commenced in Nigeria only with the launch of the Pilot Programme in Jos on 30th April 2016 and the subsequent roll out in Abuja on December 22nd 2016 and Lagos in May 2021. In spite of these interventions, Pay-Tv players in Nigeria have been at the forefront of driving digital broadcasting, through technology innovations. Migration from analogue to digital broadcasting, comes with a lot of technology innovations in the areas of service delivery, content provision and the facilities needed to provide digital services and contents. In the Pay-Tv industry where technology is fast driving digital broadcasting, GOtv Nigeria is playing a leading role with innovations in technology through its various self-service options and the enhanced decoder functionalities.
There has been considerable discussions about the benefits of digital broadcasting. A recent report from GSM Association (GSMA), gave details of the benefits of digital broadcast over analogue broadcast.
The report addresses the benefits for the broadcasting industry, which include: An increase in the capacity of broadcast transmission networks by improving spectrum efficiency, such as more data transmitted per unit bandwidth; Provision of better signal quality which increases robustness to interference and picture degradation; The support of High Definition (HD) services and interactivity; A potential reduction in transmission network energy usage; The implementation of single frequency networks (SFNs) instead of the independent parallel networks, which are common in analogue broadcasting. The report added that the take-up of digital TV would likely boost sales of television sets and digital video recorders, and that Digital TV could lead to positive upstream benefits in terms of increased time spent watching television and greater demand for digital content.
The consumer benefits arising from digital switchover are widely recognised, happen relatively quickly and are primarily driven by increases in programming and quality, the report said, adding that there are also broader benefits to society of introducing digital television, including the potential to use digital broadcasting to narrow the digital divide, reach unserved areas, and to provide e-government and other digital services.
In addition to covering the activities required for the transition to digital broadcasting and its benefits and costs, the GSMA report, also looked at the role of government in achieving digital broadcasting. The report said government’s intervention and management would be required to drive the digital switchover process. A market-led approach alone is unlikely to meet universal coverage and timeframe objectives for switch-off, as sufficient, safeguarded funding from government, would provide the foundation for long term planning and would facilitates a smooth transition, the report added.
The GOtv self-service platform enables customers to independently manage their GOtv account online, easily clear error codes, pay or renew subscriptions and upgrade packages thereby reducing the need to physically visit GOtv outlets or dealers. The self-service platforms are designed to enhance customer experience and allow customers quick and easy avenues of resolving complaints and enjoy uninterrupted quality entertainment with their families
The various self-service options are My GOtv App, USSD Code *288#, Paga, Quickteller, ATM, Bank Apps, MultiChoice Outlets/Sabi Men, Toll-Free numbers 9mobile:09085330333, MTN:08139842260, Airtel:07080630900, Glo:08117930333
The MyGOtv app, allows subscribers to clear error codes, check account balances, renew subscriptions, change packages, and update their details, thereby reducing the need to physically visit GOtv outlets or dealers.
MultiChoice encourages customers to take advantage of the toll-free customer care lines, which puts them in direct contact with GOtv customer care representatives via phone calls or through any of the GOtv social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram and via its website.
GOtv Nigeria introduced an Enhanced Decoder Notification (EDN) functionality to keep its customers informed and in control of their viewing experience.
The EDN functionality refers to a set of icons that appear on the screen containing valuable information like how many viewing days are left before a customer’s next payment is due, the latest special offers and discounts, and information on new content, campaigns, and campaigns and upcoming celebrations.
Customers can access this information by pressing the “okay” button on their remote, followed by “messages” on the menu bar, and then use the arrow keys to scroll through the different messages. With the new EDN service, customers will have fewer interruptions whilst viewing.
In order to make digital broadcasting affordable to all Nigerians, irrespective of their earnings and allowances, GOtv Nigeria came up with packages that gives every Nigerian, access to digital broadcasting. The packages include: GOtv Max, GOtv Jolli, GOtv Jinja and GOtv Smallie. The GOtv Max, which sells for N3,600 per month, is the highest GOtv package available. The package contains all the GOtv channels covering documentaries, sports, shows for kids, music, movie channels, and lots more, and it offers a whopping 75 channels to choose from.
The GOtv Jolli, which sells for N2,460 per month, is designed for customers that desire a package that is close to having the top-notch GOtv Max package, and it comes with 67 channels. The difference between both packages are a bit negligible. For subscribers that can’t afford the GOtv Max package, the GOtv Jolli package becomes the next best option. The GOtv Jinja, which is a mid-range package that sits between high-end channels and the low-end channels, sells for N1,640 per month. Although there it has a sports channel as well as movie channels, they aren’t as many as those in the GOtv Max and GOtv Jolli package. The GOtv Smallie sells for N800 per month and it is the cheapest package GOtv offers. It is the package designed for customers that just need the basics and nothing more. Despite the fact that this package costs less, GOtv didn’t spare entertainment at all, as subscribers to this package have access to one sports channel, three movie channels and lots more.
The key attractions to broadcast digitization that viewers can easily interpret are guarantees of clearer pictures and sound, more thematic channels to choose from, all at reduced cost. More than ever before, compelling digital content will become critical to deciding viewership. Digital content developers are being challenged to be more creative and apt in the delivery of digital content that will sustain digital broadcasting in Nigeria. GOtv and other Pay-TV players are on top of the game in the production of digital contents across all their channels.