Address by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, at the
35th Anniversary of Silverbird in Lagos on Saturday, Nov. 21st 2015
The President was represented at the occasion by the Hon Minister of
Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
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 listening