The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has acquired the right to air part of English Premiership matches. The national TV secured the sub-license to broadcast live matches from Integral Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing Limited, who also acquired the license from Infront, a Sports Group of companies and the current holders of Free-To-Air broadcast rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The deal is scheduled on ‘one match per a week’ basis and NTA will also broadcast the weekly EPL Magazine show. In the past, NTA has secured such deals that enabled the broadcast of some EPL matches. But the few matches were not enough to satisfy the clamor of Nigerian fans, because most of the matches involved the small teams in the Premiership.
DSTV has been dominant since 2011 when HiTV lost the broadcast license due to a lack of funds. The South African company has dominantly covered the English League, Champions League and the Corabao cup. The competitor, StarTimes, a Chinese satellite TV could only cover the German Bundesliga and the French Lique 1, where Nigerians have little interest.
While the new deal seems like a continuation of the old ritual, it also points to something new. In January, the Ministry of Information and Culture announced new broadcast rules that stipulated sharing of broadcast rights. The announcement said that exclusivity of rights to sports contents will no longer be tolerated, that means, anyone who secures broadcast license must share with others.
It appears that the NTA-Integral broadcast deal is marking the commencement of the new rule. What is not clear is if the Ministry of Communication has a plan to force other media organizations in Nigeria to do the same yet.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reiterated its determination to regulate crowdfunding in Nigeria. Late in the year 2019, the Commission has announced its plan to make rules guiding the process of crowdfunding. This is in a bid to protect investors from the risks that usually come with the activities, especially for SMEs and startups.
The Director-General of SEC Mary Uduk said the details of the regulatory plan will be made known in time.
“Investors’ confidence is central to our job as the regulator of the capital market. People must have the confidence to invest. With crowdfunding, private companies can raise long-term funds using regulated platforms. The platform of the crowdfunding will be regulated by SEC.
“Crowdfunding helps deepen the market by providing an alternative investment opportunity. The new regulations are also aimed at stamping out fraudsters and will be released later this year,” she said.
In the past, crowdfunding has taken many methods in Nigeria; a notable one was solicitation of funds from the public through companies’ marketers as a way of making IPO. The method however, was notorious for embezzlement. Founders of the companies swindle investors fund and declare bankruptcy, leaving them at huge loss and with little or no option to recover their money.
The method was sold due to restrictive provisions in the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990. In 2016, SEC placed a ban on crowdfunding, citing lack of rules and inhibitions in the provisions of CAMA and ISA.
But that was before the advent of Fintechs and other startups that have attracted foreign interest. Recently, there have been crowdfunding initiatives like Naijafund, Fundanenterprise, Imeela and some others, but they have had difficulties attracting investors due to lack of regulation.
The incessant liquidation cases of crowdfunded companies resulted in apathy toward conventional crowdfunding in the country. And with the banks charging as much as 31% interest rate on loans, it has become a scary idea for startups to approach them for funding. On the other hand, stock market listing or debt issuance are out of the question because they come with too many regulations that are expensive to meet.
The regulatory vacuum has created a distant relationship between businesses and crowdfunding websites in Nigeria, which makes the SEC’s plan to regulate its activities “a glad tidings.” Apart from Farmcrowdy that has defied the norm, providing support for about 25,000 farmers since it came into existence back in 2016, others are struggling to find their feet.
In the proposed regulation, the head of registration and market infrastructure at the SEC, Emomotimi Agama, said operators will need to meet whatever requirement the regulator will issue in order to continue their operation.