A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF DIGITALIZATION ON BROADCASTING MEDIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Digital television transition is the technological evolution and advance from analogue terrestrial television, which broadcasts land based (terrestrial) signals. The purpose of digital terrestrial television, similar to digital versus analogue in other platforms such as cable, satellite, telecoms, is characterized by reduced use of spectrum and more capacity than analogue, better-quality picture, and lower operating costs for broadcast and transmission after the initial upgrade costs. A terrestrial implementation of digital television technology uses aerial broadcasts to a conventional antenna (or aerial) instead of a satellite dish or cable connection.
Competing variants of digital terrestrial television technology are used around the world. Advanced Television Standards Committee ATSC is the one used in North America and South Korea, an evolution from the analogue National Television Standards Committee standard NTSC. ISDB-T is used in Japan, with a variation of it used in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and most recently Costa Rica and Paraguay, while DVB-T is the most prevalent, covering Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Uruguay and some countries of Africa. DMB-T/H is China’s own standard (including Hong Kong, though Hong Kong’s cable operators use DVB); the rest of the world remains mostly undecided, many evaluating multiple standards. ISDB-T is very similar to DVB-T and can share front-end receiver and demodulator components.
The switch over from analogue to digital in Nigeria is to take place in the year 2012. DTV is transmitted on radio frequencies through the airwaves that are similar to standard analogue television, with the primary difference being the use of multiplex transmitters to allow reception of multiple channels on a single frequency range (such as a UHF or VHF channel) (Wikipedia,2010).
The digital Television transition refers to the shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. Many countries of the world have recognized the huge benefit which digital broadcasting offers and are making a huge effort to shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting.
The transition from analog to digital broadcasting involves many changing the transmission signals as well as making sure that members of the public buy high definition television sets and get rid of standard definition television sets.
In the United States of America, February17 2009 was set as a date when broadcasting in analog will be stopped and the whole country will commerce digital broadcasting.To this effect, the US congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Under this Act all local stations in the US are required to from off their analog channels and start broadcasting in digital format.
The transition to digital broadcasting will mark the end of free television programmes. However, this is not the case. While some television set may be affected by the change, others will not for example, television sets that receive cable and satellite signals will still receive signals from digital transmission. However, television sets that receive analog signals via antenna (these antennas have analog funers) will be out of place in the digital era.
In this state of affairs, old antennas will need to be upgraded to meet up with the technology. In countries like the United States of America where digital transition is planned top take off, all analog television sets will be no longer useful and will have to be dispose of perhaps shipped to other countries of the world where analog broadcasting is still used. People who wish to continue using analog television set in the U.S will need to have a converter installed. This converter changes digital signals which are broadcast to analog signal so that the television set will be able to pick.
Traditionally developing countries in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia are often the dumping ground for out molded technology. The digital transition is just one example of the factors that make developing countries recipients of technology that advanced countries no longer need.
Digitization programme in Nigeria commenced in Abuja on June 3, 2008, following a meeting of stake holders in the broadcast industry where forum under scored the need for Nigeria to embrace the new technology, so that the country would not be turned into a dumping ground for obsolete analog equipment reports shows that Nigeria has set June, 17,2010 as the switch- over date from the current mode of broadcasting to the netramodern digital terrestrial broadcasting the date is three years before the June 17, 2015 deadline for the entire world set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) after its congress in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006.
However the country officially stated the digitization of its broadcast industry in December 2007, following late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s approval, directing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the industry’s regulator to set motion and pilot the programme towards the target date (Adeniyi 2009).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Generally the advent of digital broadcast media will bring remarkable, exciting changes to broadcasting. Consumers will have many more choices from broadcast television, from sharp high-definition television programming and multicasting of niche-audience channels to new information services and computer-interactivity.
Broadcasters will have new opportunities to develop innovative programming and services, along with new revenue streams and market franchises. DTV will help broadcasting evolve and compete in the new media environment, while ensuring that public interest needs are still met
through over-the-air broadcasting. However, in the Nigeria the switch to digital television in the year 2012 is just very near. Abbas (2010) observes that it is coming on the heels of similar ‘self set’ deadlines of mostly European and African countries like Britain, Sweden, France, Kenya and South Africa among others. What remain so problematic is the likely challenges and successes of this new transition in Nigeria. This is the issue the study seeks to address
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Do transition from analogue to digital broadcasting have an impact on broadcast industry in Nigeria?
- What challenges do the transition from analog to digital pose for the broadcast station in Nigeria?
- Has broadcasting service in the country being enhanced through the digitalised process?
- Of what important will digitalisation bring to broadast audience?
- What efforts have National Broadcasting Commission put in place to achieve digitalization of broadcast media before 2015 deadline?
- Will digital transmission increase the number of available channels to audience?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
- To examine if transition from analogue to digital broadcasting have an impact on broadcast industry in Nigeria.
- To know the challenges that transition from analog to digital pose for the broadcast station in Nigeria.
- To examine whether digital broadcasting service in the country has enhanced broadcast production.
- To examine if digital transmission increase the number of available channels to audience.
- To study the important that digitalization will bring to broadcast audience.
- To study the efforts that National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has put in place to achieve digitalization of broadcast media before 2015 deadline?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is significant because it will help the audiences especially Nigerians to strongly believe that digitalization of broadcast industry in Nigeria because its prospects can not be overemphasised.
The study is also significant in decent that television and radio are so powerful that it can influence and change the attitudes and values of those who are exposed to it.
The work will benefit the media houses and media manger on the need to move from analogue to digital.
Media, mass communication, journalism students will see reason to upgrade their skill and experience.
Government at the national level will also find this material relevant to note the reason why Nigeria must not left out.
1.6 LIMITATI0N THE STUDY
The research study will discuss the effect of digitalization broadcast industries in Nigeria. There are alot of limitation to be encountered on the research study such as financial constraint, time factor, in availability of materials, inability of the researcher to give in-depth information, to analyses on constitutional provisions as contained in the NBC Act about deregulation of television in Nigeria.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
For the purpose of this project, there are terminologies used in the project and definition of their meanings. This is also done to ensure understanding of the project work and to avoid double meaning to the readers especially Nigerians.
Digital Television Transition: The digital television transition is a process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. This primarily involves both TV stations and over-the-air viewers; however it also involves content providers like TV networks, and cable TV conversion to digital cable (Wikipedia, 2010).
Broadcasting: Is a process of disseminating information through electromagnetic waves to a large proportion of users (audience).
NBC: Nigerian Broadcasting Cooperation
BBC: British Broadcasting Cooperation
VON: Voice of Nigeria