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Nigeria TV rights threat could damage ‘African sports economy’

MultiChoice warns of damage that can result from the Nigerian government ending exclusive rights to broadcast major sporting events in the country, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK



Image courtesy of Kirill Venediktov

A planned directive by the Nigerian government to end exclusive rights in broadcasting major sporting events in the country could cause massive damage to the “African sports economy”, says MultiChoice.

A media statement issued in January by Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said he had instructed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to implement a regulation mandating exclusive licensees and broadcasters to share exclusive rights with other broadcasters.

The intention, according to Nigeria Communications Week, was to break up a broadcasting monopoly in order to “boost reach and maximise utilisation by all Nigeria’s broadcasters of quality content, in order to grow their respective platforms and investment in more content”.

The clear target is MultiChoice, which has a monopoly on the broadcast of English Premier League football matches. These rights are regarded as the crown jewel for MultiChoice across Africa, as it is one major – and immensely popular – feature that cannot be offered by streaming video-on-demand services at this stage.

“With the new directive, Nigeria’s TV viewers, especially lovers of sports, may come to witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of major sporting events,” reported Nigeria Communications Week.

However, MultiChoice has pointed out that investment in sports rights has a massive impact on the sports economy.

“The investment in sports provides substantial revenues for national sporting bodies, which sustain thousands of jobs throughout the value chain,” Joe Heshu, MultiChoice group executive for corporate affairs , told Gadget. “The sports economy enables the discovery of talent on and off the field, develops infrastructure, and uplifts communities. The African sports economy is largely funded through the sale of broadcasting rights.”

While the company has not responded publicly to the government statement, it is clear that intensive lobbying is taking place behind the scenes.

“MultiChoice routinely deals with regulatory matters in markets on the African continent where we have a presence,” said Heshu. “We are aware of the statement by the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture regarding recommendations to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on proposed amendments to the NBC Code. We are guided by and complying with the current NBC Code and the Copyright Laws.”

Heshu said the regulator had not informed MultiChoice directly about the move.

“The NBC is the independent regulator that regulates the industry in the public interest and we have not received any indications from the regulator on this matter. We will continue to constructively engage the authorities in Nigeria in the interest of providing a thriving broadcasting sector.”

Read more below about MultiChoice’s local content plans.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving



For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit

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Coronavirus to hit 5G



Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
Rest of Market13941165
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
Rest of Market99%85%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here:

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