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Digitization Of Broadcasting And Its Challenges, With Particular Reference To Orient Fm And Nta Channel 12, Owerri




The course for digitization presently governs the global media industry. Initially all countries in the world have devoted enormous resources to see their broadcasting media industries switch from analogue to digital technologies. Viewing the immense prospects of this technological revolution, the ITU set 2015 for the entire broadcasting station in the world go digital. While a good number of first world countries have virtually accomplish their digital migration, most third world countries including Nigeria are still struggling to meet up with this global digital revolution. In view of this situation, it appears interesting to explore literatures on digitalization and examine the extent to which the Nigerian broadcasting media has been digitized. This paper assesses the strategies initiated by the Nigerian Government and major broadcasting media industry in Nigeria in view of accomplishing the complex digitization scheme. It argues that Nigerian match towards digitization is on. A number of milestones that have been recorded including the definition of a legal and operational framework for the digitization process, the introduction by multiple media houses of webcasting and the entrance in the country’s broadcasting industry of cable and satellite pay TV operators. Despite these considerable efforts, there is definitely much to be done especially in the domain of sensitizing the broadcasters on the use, control and maintaining of the complex digital equipment. Also, the paper analyzed and examined the extent at which digitization has impacted in operations of broadcast media practitioners in Nigeria. This paper is sourced from both the primary and secondary sources. The primary source involves interviews with media practitioners and stakeholders while the secondary is sourced from libraries, archives, newspapers, magazines and other desk study. Moreover, the researcher also sourced through online materials on digitization. The study concludes that for digital broadcasting to be successful here in Nigeria users should be educated about the technology and segment operators should also see the opportunities of being educated as a privilege to be equipped adequately against the challenges of digitalization. The paper identified number of challenges. This includes lack of skilled manpower, the slow elaboration of the working legal framework, etcetera. It concludes by recommending a number of strategies actions that may help surmount challenges identified in the paper.


  • Background to the Study

The term “Broadcasting” refers to the planned provision of information, education and entertainment to a large and heterogeneous audience through the medium of radio and television (Folarin, 1999:30). The word “planned” presupposes that programmes are provided repeatedly at scheduled or prescribed formats and at designated periods. Broadcasting does not only involve the provision of information, education and entertainment, rather it is also a strong vehicle for cultural promotion, mobilization of citizenry for development purposes, fighting societal ills and unethical conducts and so on (Wilson, 1997). Broadcasting is a term borrowed from the agricultural method of sowing seeds in the field by casting them broadly about (Douglas, 1989) cited in Nkwam-Uwaoma and Onu (2017). Broadcasting therefore conjure such meaning as “scatter”, “sow”, “disperse”, “spread”, “distribute”, “disseminate” and so on.

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Broadcasting is a means of distribution or dissemination of ideas, messages, or information: the same that newspaper, magazines, film and books do.

But while these other means of mass communication do not use radio waves and electronic technology, broadcasting uses electronic technology to encode, distribute and decode its messages or content.

It is therefore an entirely electronic means of communication. Hence, Onabanjo (2000) cited in Nkwam-Uwaoma and Onu (2017) defines broadcasting as the transmission of information through radio waves from a radio or television station to the audience in far and near places through their receivers, which help in decoding such information. It is therefore the distribution of audio, visual or both audio and visual (audio-visual) content or information to a dispersed audience through any electronic mass communication medium. It should be borne in mind that broadcasting communicates with masses. Hence, Onabanjo (2004) cited in Nkwam-Uwaoma and Onu (2017) emphasizes the “Large widely dispersed and heterogeneous audience”.

Broadcasting conveys the ideas of:

  • Distribution of audio and video messages
  • To a dispersed audience
  • Via an electronic mass communication medium
  • Which uses electro-magnetic spectrum
  • In a one-to-many model

It is one of the greatest technological marvels of human society. Its technology involves the use of a transmitter which generate waves, that is electromagnetic impulses which carry voice transmissions or messages through the air to homes and other locations where they are received and consumed by their audience through the broadcasting media-radio or television.

Broadcasting can also be defined as “the systematic dissemination of entertainment, information, education and other features for simultaneous reception by a scattered audience, individually or in group with appropriate receiving apparatus. The matter may either be audible, or visual or a combination of both”.

Today, the trends in the broadcasting industry are those of computing, digitization and wireless. The word “digital”, according to Bolarinwa (2001), is derived from “digitus” which means “finger”- a part of the body used for counting. The digital techniques allows for the transmission of audio, video, and other data without distortion or errors, since its description is not changed or disturbed by factors such as noise.

Digital broadcasting, therefore, involves the application of computer and other related technologies to improve broadcast signal transmission and reception (Adegbola, 2001). In digital broadcasting, data of any type and source can be made to undergo diverse methods of processing in order to yield the desired information for various kinds of users. Such data, representing audio or video signals, can be carried in either the traditional terrestrial media, by satellites or by cable distribution networks.

The impact of digitization, according to World Broadcast News (1999), is seen in the convergence, internet/data casting issues, satellite globalization and broadcast regulatory changes.

Adegbola (2001:10) states that the most prominent among the advantages of digitization is the efficient use of wireless bandwidth. According to him, a single channel slot of 8 MHz in terrestrial video broadcast can accommodate five programme streams of digital video. Thus, it allows for a geometric expansion of programme streams.

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  1. Digitization allows for the use of redundant pockets of spaces to be utilized in the transmission of texts simultaneously with visual and audio information. These spare spaces may also be used for telecommunication services which operators can make available to broadcasters.
  2. Digital signals versatility can allow a viewer to request a programme to be shown at his or her convenience. This has brought a fundamental change to the way programmes are scheduled, since the user creates his or her own viewing time.
  3. Digitization has allowed conditional access to programmes as can be seen in such services as pay-per-view.
  4. It has a wide capacity for error detection and correction.
  5. Digital broadcasting allows the broadcast industry to provide more programme channels and increases other options, to meet the growing taste and desires of their audiences.
  6. Digital broadcasting allows for better quality signals that are less vulnerable to distortion from environmental conditions. Digital signals give sharper pictures, wide-screen and high sound quality.
  7. Digital broadcasting empowers stations to provide viewers with interactive services ultimately to elicit wider participation and deeper viewer engagement.
  8. Digitization accommodates large data which are also transmitted at optimum quality level. Thus, it allows for efficient use of the radio spectrum and requires less than one percent of the power used by analogue system.

There are several technologies in the industry that embody this new processes such as, Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting (DTTB), which is a new type of television broadcasting that provides a more effective way of transmitting services; Advance Television Systems Committee (ATSC); Digital Video Broadcasting and Digital Broadcasting Expert Group (DIBEG

1.2  Statement of Problem

Digitization of broadcasting has increasingly paved the way and created impact in the communication world.

However, as a relatively new and indeed vast field, the digitization of broadcasting in Nigeria has encountered lots of impediments. The most impressing impediment militating against quick and efficient conversion from analogue to digital system is the lack of funds experienced by most broadcast stations. This may tend to slow down the challenge-over processes.

The non-compliance of the broadcast stations in the usage of digital equipment in Nigeria is far from encouraging, when compared to some other developing countries in Latin America’, South Africa, India, and some South American countries. This is certainly responsible for the sharp information imbalance between the developing and the developed countries in terms of news coverage, dissemination and information flow.

It is against these backdrops, that this study, guided by the objectives below sought to find out the various challenges posed by digitization of broadcasting in Nigeria, with particular focus on Orient FM and NTA Channel 12, Owerri, Imo State.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

In a broader perspective, this study aims at assessing digitization of broadcasting and its challenges, with particular reference to Orient FM and NTA Channel 12, Owerri.

  1. To investigate the state of digitization in the broadcast stations.
  2. To ascertain the level of exposure of the media practitioners on the use, control and maintenance of the digital equipment.
  3. Investigate the possible implications of digital broadcasting on programme and content production.
  4. To find out possible challenges of digital broadcasting transition among broadcast media in Nigeria.
    • Research Question

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the state of digitization in the broadcast stations?
  2. What is the level of exposure of the media practitioners on the use, control and maintenances of the digital equipment?
  3. What are the possible implications of full digitization on programming and content production?
  4. What possible challenges will the digital broadcasting pose for broadcast media practitioners in Nigeria?
    • Significance of the Study

The study will provide media owners, planners, and practitioners good reason to complete the digitization of broadcasting in Nigeria. It will enable the media practitioners to know the full benefits of digitization and how to optimize it in programmes production and distribution.

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It will serve as a reference material for present and future broadcasters, researcher, scholars and students of mass communication and allied disciplines.

Finally, the research findings will add to the existing literature in the area of digitization of broadcasting in Nigeria.

  • Scope of the Study

This study focuses on digitization of broadcasting and its challenges to broadcast media in Nigeria. It is practically hard to study all the broadcast stations in the country. In view of this, the researcher uses Orient FM Owerri and NTA Channel Owerri all located at Concord Avenue along Akachanwa road, Owerri Municipal in Imo State as a case of study given the fact that the stations are government owned stations and have been in operation before the issue of digitization has come about.

  • Limitation of the Study

 Financial constraint

Insufficient fund impeded the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature of information and in the process of data collection (Internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher simultaneously engages in this study with other academic work. This consequently cut down on the time devoted for the research work. Time factor also posed its own challenge due to the distance of the area of coverage of the study, coupled with the physical and psychological stresses.

Also, limitation to obtain relevant materials for the subject matter.

  • Definition of Terms

Conceptual Definition of Digitization:

Digitization is the process of converting information into a digital format, in which the information is organized into bits.

Conceptual Definition of Broadcasting

This is the systematic dissemination of entertainment, information, education, and other features for simultaneous reception by a scattered audience, individually or in groups, with appropriate receiving apparatus. The subject matter may either be audio or visual or a combination of both.

Operational Definition of Digitization

Digitization in broadcasting is the practice of using digital sidnals rather than analogue signals for broadcasting over radio frequency bands.

Operational Definition of Broadcasting:

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via radio, television, receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset thereof.

Pages:  84

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF

Chapters: 1-5

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References

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