In 2019, the National Broadcasting Commission (“the NBC”) published the 6th edition of the National Broadcasting Commission Code (“the Code”) to provide, amongst others, fora minimum standard for content and quality of materials for broadcast; and to ensure that broadcasting plays a pivotal role in the social, cultural, technological, economic, and political lives of Nigerians. However, in view of the technological advancements which have resulted in inter-jurisdictional streaming sites, Pay Televisions (“Pay TVs”), mobile TV apps, and other broadcasting platforms, it seems the Code could not adequately cater for the advancements in the broadcasting industry.

Thus, on May 27, 2020, NBC, announced a new amendment to the Code (the “Amended Code”). The Amended Code has been applauded for creating a viable framework for a competitive market and ensuring a wider distribution and viewership of content. The Amended Code provides for the registration of Web/Online broadcasting platforms, thus, acknowledging the reality of the present times and conforming to international practices as relating to the digital space. Despite these commendations, the Amended Code has, however, also attracted lots of criticisms from stakeholders in the creative or entertainment industries for its anti-monopolistic objectives and for stripping Pay TVs and streaming platforms their right to exclusive content.


According to the Amended Code, broadcasters and licensees are prohibited from entering into any form of contract or broadcasting rights acquisition in Nigeria or anywhere in the world which excludes persons, broadcasters, or licensees in Nigeria or have the objective of preventing competition in the broadcasting industry.

Article of the Amended Code provides that:

“The Broadcaster shall comply with the directive by the Commission that compels any broadcaster in the broadcast industry to license its broadcast and/or signal rights in any genre of programming to another licensee or broadcaster in Nigeria if the following circumstances are present.

a. If the genre of the programme (s) enjoys compelling viewership by Nigerians.
b. It relates to a product or service that is objectively necessary to be able to compete effectively on a downstream market.
c. It is likely to lead to the elimination of effective competition on the downstream markets, and
d. The refusal is likely to lead to consumer deprivation.

Furthermore, to ensure a wider distribution and viewership of content considered critical to the sustainability of new entrants into the Pay-TV industry in Nigeria, the Amended Codedemands Pay-TV platforms to grant other broadcasters access to their premium sports and news contents upon payment of a fee that will be regulated by the NBC, upon the terms that:

i. A reasonable written request is made;
ii. Such request is made within a reasonable time;
iii. The request is made on a non-exclusive basis; and
iv. Without undue discrimination.

Failure to comply with the above provisions may attract a fine or sanction, as may be required in the circumstance… Click to continue reading in September 2020 Edition