Toyin Subair plots return to Pay TV via new broadcast code~NEWSEXTRA - NEWS EXTRA ONLINE

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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Toyin Subair plots return to Pay TV via new broadcast code~NEWSEXTRA



Toyin Subair is using the back door to resurrect his failing Pay TV business

Businessman and promoter of defunct HiTV, Toyin Subair, seeks a return to the pay television industry by free-riding on the 6th National Broadcasting Commission Code which, among other controversial provisions, aims to end exclusivity.

Back in 2014, Toyin Subair, founder of the defunct pay television platform, HiTV, launched an ambitious move to return as a major player in Nigeria’s pay television market.

Subair, whose HiTV, crashed in 2011 after four years, launched PlayTV six years ago, hoping that it would rise to prominence from the rubble of HiTV. The foundation for PlayTV was Continental Satellite Television (Consat), the failed pay television platform owned by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

PlayTV currently operates from the old Consat office located within the premises of the Tinubu-owned Television Continental (TVC) at CMD Road, Ikosi-Ketu in Lagos.

At launch, PlayTV promised subscribers that it would not be business as usual “as we will be rolling out with lots of interesting channels you’ve always loved and new channels you’d love to watch”.

It also claimed to have the potential to “be available to over 20 million homes and 150 million individuals”.

Six years after, it has failed to go anywhere near Toyin Subair’s projections and is remembered only by decoders bought for N15,000 by subscribers, with many bought by state governments headed by politicians on the same platform with Tinubu.

The Rivers State Government under Mr. Rotimi Amaechi bought 50,000 Consat decoders. Ibim Semenitari, Rivers State Information Commissioner at the time, confirmed the agreement with Consat, saying it was for the purpose of digital migration and a source of empowerment for the people of the state.

“We are getting the decoders because we need to migrate

to the new platform and we are also grooming installers for the project, which will, in turn, empower our youths by way of providing job opportunities,’’ Semenitari said.

She added that since the state-owned television and radio stations were in the process of joining the rest of the world in migrating to digital broadcasting, it was important that the purchase of the decoders was made to enhance the penetration of information to the remotest parts of the state.

HiTV failed because of Toyin Subair’s poor management and decision making skills

“The penetration into the villages will not exist since we want to reach the largest mass of the people if we do not do this migration,’’ she explained.

However, Consat never got off the ground, a development that did not deter Toyin Subair, with the businessman now planning to bring it back as well in addition to add an Over-the-Top (OTT) platform that will be a hybrid of Ad-based Video-on-Demand (AVOD) and Subscription-backed Video-on-Demand (SVOD) services.

An OTT service delivers video content to users via an internet connection instead of a traditional broadcast service provider. AVOD is akin to traditional television, as its subscribers have to endure advertisements (as it happens on conventional television) and relies on revenues from advertisements to offset content production and hosting costs.

It does not require consumers to subscribe to have access unlike SVOD, which is a conditional access platform that requires payment of a monthly subscription fee for access.

Sources close to Toyin Subair, who still bears the scars of the failure of HiTV, disclosed that he is determined to do everything to ensure the success of the new venture.

Information minister, Lai Mohammed is an ally of Toyin Subair

“He is ready to do everything to make PlayTV a success and he’s tapping into political connections, which he’s always had, to make PlayTV work,” said the source.

Multiple sources told this paper that Subair is heavily dependent on his political connections, which have become stronger since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came to office. Subair, who is close to Tinubu, is unsurprisingly also close to Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, who owes his appointment to Tinubu.

Muhammed, whose ministry supervises the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is said to have Toyin Subair as his unofficial adviser. Subair is said to be the brain behind the 6th NBC Code, the subsidiary legislation guiding broadcasting in Nigeria, which was released to the public on 27 May.

Before the release of the NBC Code, the Information Minister, had announced the Federal Government was planning to prohibit exclusive ownership of broadcast rights to foreign football content in the country. Such rights were held by Subair’s HiTV between 2006 and 2011 when they were wrested from the MultiChoice-owned SuperSport platform. The cornering of the popular broadcast of English Premier League matches, said sources, followed the payment of $28 million, an amount MultiChoice could not afford

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