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Legacy Or Trend-Based Future?

Legacy or trend-based future?. Growing up I remember looking forward to being in front of a television set and assuming a comfortable position to watch Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) – as unclear, shaky, and dull, as it might have looked on screen, I loved it, and was very fascinated by what they showed. The concept of television was a mysterious one, seeing people moving inside a box, that was always in the same spot, was enough to intrigue the old, much less a child – it was something of a miracle. As I got much older, television stations like Galaxy TV, Silverbird TV, African Independent Television (AIT), MBI, and Super Screen TV, among others, became my sources of entertainment. When these new stations surfaced, it seemed like a big development – a big leap in technology and rightly so.

These media channels are referred to as ‘mainstream or legacy media’, they were ‘free-to-air’ and no one had to pay money to have access to the TV stations or what they showed – the content was free and consistent, as long as the person had a box and electricity. Legacy media distribution refers to the uniformity in the kind of programs aired on the channels available on a television set. In those days, consumers were limited to a certain number of channels and the programs shown could be predicted, as a person knows that when it’s 7 pm on this a station it would be news time or when it was 4 pm, it would be time for children cartoons – the only thing that varied was the name of cartoon or the words of the news – the structure was always the same.

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This system of broadcasting and distributing news, programs, and advertising, were prevalent for many years and it had managed to still exist till now. However, there are some concerns that with the digital era, legacy mediums or content platforms such as the STV’s and so on, being relevant, are over – when last did you watch traditional TV shows on NTA, not the one on DSTV?

It is no secret that the industry is merely struggling to survive based on research and statistics, as viewers have been drawn to the substitutions offered by technology.

The disruptions brought about by technological advances and innovations have been implicated in bringing about these fears – that goes without saying. With these digital content production and distribution platforms, it is much easier to get different stations all showing different programs at the same time. The mode of broadcasting has also shifted from stationary TV sets that cannot be moved around, to a click of a button or icon on our smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. This has also allowed us to carry what we can refer to as TV, in our pockets or bags.

In addition to that, we have services like Netflix, Iroko TV, Ndani etc, creating and/or distributing media materials without physical infrastructure or owning a broadcasting station – everything is online. Platforms like DSTV also came about to offer us an outrageous amount of options in almost any areas of interest a human can have. The issue with these sort of innovations is the fact that in comparison to legacy or ‘free-to-air’ services, we have to pay to use them. Hence, all the monthly subscriptions or having to be online to have access to them. Even with the fact that these are premium or ‘pay-to-use’ services, we are spoilt for choice with them and still pick this choice. This is evidenced in a large number of people we find going for these options.

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People in the legacy industry or those who own, and do business in this sector, would know that the industry is almost running at a loss and most of the revenue coming in now are from advertisement fees – very few people are watching NTA or STV these days as there is little to be desired, with channels like BBC, Aljazeera, CNN, African Magic etc, being online, and can be easily connected to as long as there is internet connection.

The crux of the matter is that the age of analogue solutions has slowly been taken over and overthrown by the digital ecosystem. The future of digital does not look like it would be slowed down. However, there is hope, if those in the legacy business can adapt their models to incorporate technological solutions – like what ‘In-View’ was trying to implement, they might still be able to survive or become relevant once again – the joys of anticipating a show on an analogue TV set cannot be replaced with anything, so maybe there is still a chance.

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