Address by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, at the 35th Anniversary of Silverbird in Lagos on Saturday, Nov. 21st 2015
Let me start by congratulating the management and staff of Silverbird on this occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the company. It will not be an exaggeration to describe Silverbird as an iconic company in our Media and Entertainment Industry, going by what it has achieved in the past 35 years.
2 What started in 1980 as a concert promotion company, bringing in foreign and local acts to perform on the same stage in Nigeria, has now grown to become the foremost Media and Entertainment firm that now boasts radio and television stations as well as cinemas and malls across Nigeria. That is not a mean feat, hence Silverbird deserves all the accolades it has been receiving and will receive on this important occasion of its 35th Anniversary.
3 While Silverbird has already keyed in to a key aspect of my Administration’s Agenda of creating jobs, especially for our youths, thus helping to force down crimes and enhance security, we are still counting on an even stronger cooperation between this company – and indeed the entire Media and Entertainment Industry – and this Administration in the efforts to ensure attitudinal change among our people, fight terrorism and corruption and provide even more jobs.
4 On our part, we will provide the necessary environment to unleash the latent energy of the key Media and Entertainment Industry. As part of providing this requisite environment, this Administration will ensure a strict adherence to the plan to reach 100% digital TV penetration in Nigeria by 2016, up from 49% at the end of 2013. In other words, we pledge our commitment to building a vibrant TV and Media Economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.
5 Nigeria intends to use the Digital Switch Over as an opportunity to diversify the provision of channels and content. Silverbird, with its rich history, will have to play a key role in this evolution of television and entertainment to boost production, local content, employment of our ever increasing youth, contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP, etc.
6 Sub-Saharan Africa will have 46.46 million primary Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) homes by 2020, that is 37.6 million Free To Air and 8.86 million pay TV, up from 9.27 million at the end of 2013 and 0.53 million at the end of 2010. Nigeria will be the largest DTT nation in Africa in 2020, both for Free To Air – that is 9.07 million – and for pay, that is 3.59 million. As Silverbird seeks to deliver exceptional family entertainment to this important growth market, it will need to adjust its models to suit the market conditions to achieve the objective of maximizing the reach of the Silverbird Channel in the Nigerian market, and that it will have to do through a Free to Air model. The target markets for Free To Air are the 26-million-plus TV households, and the growth of DTT in Nigeria is accelerating much faster than the growth in the pay-TV market.
7 The Federal Government of Nigeria shall, by using the Digital Switch Over (DSO), replicate in Nigeria the globally successful Free to Air model, to open up the market to mass numbers of potential viewers. Analogue TV content is relatively weak; and the pay DTT platforms offer a few new digital-only Nigerian channels, primarily in Entertainment. The Switch Over to Digital will drastically change the competitive landscape in the Media and Entertainment in Nigeria, so that traditional media companies are no longer just competing with each other, but also with companies like Google, Microsoft, Telefónica and even Red Bull or Coca Cola.
8 Silverbird is the leading Media and Entertainment company in Nigeria today. As you celebrate your 35th Anniversary, I implore you not to rest on your oars so that you can become not just the undisputed leading Media and Entertainment firm in Africa, but indeed a major player on the global stage. Again, congratulations to Silverbird, and here is wishing you many more years of excellence.
9 Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for listenin