NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR CHALLENGES TO BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
In the wake of the 21st century, the modern societies became hungrier for information as more ways of communicating this information were formulated and adopted. One of these new adopted means of communication is broadcasting. The broadcasting environment which started in an analogue form has been greatly transformed with the improvement in the media of communication which is now known in the media parlance as new media. The advent of broadcasting in Nigeria in the early 1930s brought a new lease of life to the communication sphere in Nigeria as it ushered in a new medium of expression and communication for the people of Nigeria. As the world expands, the need for development in the media of communication arose with a view to accommodating the expanding communication boundaries. With the introduction of new media technologies came more opportunities to the broadcasting sector in the area of media convergence. The challenges brought by these new media are so immense that no part of the world could afford to be left out in the turn of events. It therefore becomes expedient for the Nigerian broadcast sector to avail itself of the opportunities which new media technologies herald. This study therefore was designed to find out the challenges which these new media technologies pose to the industry. The study adopted the survey method of research in its methodology with a sample of four (4) broadcasting stations made up of radio and television stations in Delta and Edo state. A total of 250 questionnaires were used in the study. Data collected were collated and analysed with the aid of simple percentage data analysis and presented with the aid of tables. Part of the research findings includes; Many broadcasting stations in Nigeria are presently equipped with new media facilities which are capable of placing them in the same pedestal as their counterparts in Africa and other developing countries of the world, that the new media technologies have not come to replace the old media. Instead, the new media would work alongside the old media. Broadcasters are quite satisfied with the use of new media technologies in broadcasting. Some broadcast stations in Nigeria are still transmitting on analogue broadcast equipment and this is in complete contrast to the National Broadcasting Commission’s objective of phasing out analogue broadcasting equipment from the country come 2012. Suggestions for further research were made at the end of the study based on the findings of the research.
1.1 Background of the Study Contemporary societies could not have been conceived without the new media technologies. This is so because, the new media technologies bring us together in variety of ways that we could never have thought possible. For instance, in the 19th century it took several weeks if not months for a message to reach North America from England by ship. At the dawn of the 21 century, it could be transmitted within an hour. But today, information can be transmitted in seconds. Surmounting one of the greatest challenges to information posed by distance with the internet today, means that people can communicate and access information anywhere in the world regardless of where they are located in the globe. A prelude to this was envisaged by the influential media critic and communication scholar, Marshall McLuhan when he noted that television is going to detribalize us by moving away from individual nation states and becoming a “global village,” (Severin & Tankard, 2001:281). Prior to the 1980s the media world relied principally upon print and analogue broadcast models, especially the ones used by television and radio stations. But the last twenty-five years have been a transformation period, as rapid transformation in the sector is been witnessed. This rapid transformation in the media which is largely predicated upon the use of digital computers, such as the Internet and other portable digital devices like mobile phones, iPods, MP3 Players and so on. However, these examples are only a small representation of new media technologies. For instance, the use of digital computers has transformed the remaining ‘old’ media, as suggested by the advent of digital television and online publications and propelled by the need for media convergence in a digitalized world. 2 New media rely strongly on digitally powered technologies, allowing for previously separate media to converge. Media convergence is a phenomenon of new media and this can be explained as a digital media. “The idea of ‘new media’ captures both the development of unique forms of digital media, and the remaking of more traditional media forms to adopt and adapt to the new media technologies.” Flew (2002:11). This obviously accounts for why we see people these days watching movies in their homes on DVDs instead of videocassettes. In the same vein, people listen to music with their CD players and MP3 players instead of cassette players as it was in the recent past. The most prominent example of media convergence is the Internet, whereby the technology for the streaming of video and audio has now changed the face of broadcasting and movies rapidly. At this point, the question that comes to mind is what is new about the new media? McQuail (2005: 136) notes that the new media are disparate set of communication technologies that share certain features apart from being new, made possible by digitalization and being widely available for personal use as communication devices. From McQuail’s assertion, one can infer that the new media are advancements of the traditional (old) media through digitalization and convergence, and these have made the new media to have an edge over the old (analogue) media. The term convergence is still a subject under dispute, with communication critic, Lev Manovich pointing out that the ‘old’ medium of film could be seen as the convergence of written text (titles and credits), photography, animation and audio recording. He further, identified the ever increasing number of incompatible electronic appliances to critique the techno-utopian claims of convergence. The status of convergence is one of many such disputed claims regarding the revolutionary ‘newness’ of new media. 3 Rodney (2007:148) asserts that; Mass communication media in the modern age are blurring and blending together into what is really a single system or set of interrelated systems. …technology is shaping the scope of the mass media and all media now share a common base. Fax machines are now newspapers, compact discs are books, satellites are television transmitters. Rodney’s view above is rightly supported by Ndolo, (2005:6) who advocates for a blend of the old and new media systems. While the term New Media is disputed – the technologies involved are now up to 25 years old, and therefore not new in the sense of recent innovations. Manovich has argued forcefully against the alternative term digital media in The Language of New Media (2001) contending that a digital process is one which is based on sampling a continuous (analogue) one from the real world in order to re-present it. While computer based media fit into this description, as data is converted into binary code, so too does cinema – which functions by sampling time into a series of discrete images which are then played in rapid succession. Consequently, the term digital media signifies too broad a range of technologies for Manovich to consider it to be of any value within academic discourse. Shapiro (1999) argues that the “emergence of new, digital technologies signals “a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources” (Shapiro cited in Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 322). Neuman (1991) suggests that whilst the “new media” have technical capabilities to pull in one direction, economic and social forces pull back in the opposite direction. Thus, social changes will occur, they “will be evolutionary, not revolutionary” (Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 322). According to Neuman, “We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnected network of audio, video, and electronic text communications that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and private communication” (Neuman cited in 4 Croteau and Hoynes 2003: 322). Neuman further argues that New Media: will alter the meaning of geographic distance allow for a huge increase in the volume of communication. provide the possibility of increasing the speed of communication. provide opportunities for interactive communication. allow forms of communication that were previously separate to overlap and interconnect. McQuail (2005:137) explains that digitalization is the process by which all texts (symbolic meaning in all encoded and recorded forms) can be reduced to a binary code and can share the same process of production, distribution and storage. From this, it can be deduced that digitalization refers to the computerisation of all data transmission, storage and processing, employing the binary code, and as such leads to the basis for convergence of media. Convergence of different media, on the other hand, is the process of coming together of different media as a result of digitalization. That is, the coming together/blending of services that have been separate including the internet, digital television, cable and mobile telephone. Today, this is what is being referred to as technological convergence. It was in this light that Okoro (2006:4) stated that technological convergence is “the continuous development in media technology aimed at bringing about a blend in technologies in the process of message delivery.” For instance, computer and television set are beginning to converged leading to the formation of a digital television (WebTV), a system in which people attach keyboard to their television set and then are also able to access the web. Through digital interactive television (DIT), viewers can choose their own camera angle for watching sporting events and viewing highlights and actions. That is, through its control box, it allows viewers interact in various ways like viewers being able to view up to six channels at the same time. They can even transact business using their television box to communicate with their bank by viewing all the transactions from home. 5 In this technological age is the internet, a network of many computers hooked together, a world wide system of interconnected network using the telecommunication infrastructure that now support large numbers of computer based communication exchange including consultation of database, websites and homepages, conversational interactions, emails, many kinds of electronic commerce and financial transactions (Severin & Tankard, 2001:6). These new media are gradually changing communication in some fundamental ways over the traditional media especially in advertising. It is imperative to note that many newspapers and broadcast news operations now have websites from which they dispense news. The E-mail and videoconferencing have also become veritable tools in this new dimension through the internet. Notably, the E-mail is a means by which internet users can exchange messages with anyone else who has an E-mail address on the world wide web, a vast system of computer sites that can be visited by anyone with a browser program and a computer hooked up to the internet. Videoconferencing on the other hand, provides real-time transmission of video and audio signals to enable people in two or more locations to have meetings in which advertisement can take place (Fitzgerald & Dennis, 2005: 60). In the same vein, the compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) is high-density storage of information medium. A single disc can hold images, audio and digital data. The combination of the storage of text, sounds and images has provided opportunity for a new approach to information dissemination. The drive to read the disc (CD-ROM drive) is standardized; this has guaranteed the possibility of using the same CD-ROM on a variety of hardware. Another off-shot of the new media is the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), an advanced CD-ROM, used for the processing, storage and dissemination of 6 information in form of text, pictures, graphics, voice and sounds with variety of options for its users. In addition, MP3 (Moving Picture Expert group layer 3), a compressor software for ‘web casting’, that is, broadcasting on the internet; mobile phones, wireless communication technologies have revolutionized communication and extended interpersonal relationship, thus, influencing intimacy and the closeness that exist between people. (Elegbeleye, 2005: 2). New Media has become a significant element in our everyday life. It allows people to communicate, bank, shop and entertain. The global network of the Internet, for instance, connects people and information via computers. Croteau & Hoynes (2003:77). In this way the Internet, as a communication medium of New Media, overcomes the gap between people from different countries, permitting them to exchange opinions and information. Diverse means for this exist even within the context of the Internet, including chat rooms, Instant Messaging applications, forums, email messaging, online video and audio streaming and downloads, and voice-over-internet telecommunications. New Media is defined not only as a communication tool, but also as a tool for the commercial exchange of goods and services. Barr, (2002:167). According to Wikipedia online encyclopaedia, what counts as new media is often debated, and is dependent on the definitions used. However, there are a few that have been widely accepted as forms of New Media. The following are fairly firmly established, or at least referenced by some companies that claim to deal in new media: Mashup Internet Art Video games and virtual worlds as they impact marketing and public relations. Multimedia CD-ROMs Software 7 Web sites including brochureware blogs and wikis Email and attachments Electronic kiosks Interactive television Mobile devices Podcasting Hypertext fiction Graphical User Interfaces It is worthy to note that all the aforementioned new media are now being used to transform the broadcasting landscape of the world, Nigeria inclusive. Akpan, (2004:76) notes that before the advent of digital technology, analogue system of broadcasting has already been saturated in terms of audience and spectrum available to broadcasters. He notes further that broadcasters had reached a possible limit in terms of improving broadcast quality and the development of broadcast services in an analogue system. He concluded that the future of broadcasting in the developing countries which also includes Nigeria is digital. The reason for Akpan’s view is that digital technology is the only way forward in the industry. The use of these new media technologies in the broadcast industry in Nigeria today can be largely attributed to the deregulation of the industry by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1992. According to Udeajah (2003:164) the deregulation of the broadcasting sector was a landmark achievement in Nigeria as it gave constitutional backing to the private ownership of broadcasting stations which was formerly an exclusive right of the government. In Nigeria today, there is no doubt that the stiff competition in the broadcast industry is as a result of the private broadcast stations trying to effectively compete with the public or government owned stations with their modern sophisticated digital 8 broadcasting equipment. The government stations on their part have started to take the lead by digitalizing their stations to modern world standards with a view to facing the challenges of modern broadcasting propelled by the new media technologies. This also affirms the stand of the National Broadcasting Commission in stipulating that by the year 2012, all broadcasting stations and equipment still in analogue, must be phased out of the country. The reason for this may not be unconnected with the idea of the regulatory body to ensure that the opportunities which the new media technologies herald as well as the challenges they pose on the broadcasting industry are taken and maximized for the optimum use of the citizens of Nigeria. 1.2 Statement of the Problem As an area of academic discourse, new media studies have sought to understand the genealogies of new media platforms and texts; tracing the distinct pasts of digital computers and the media, and understanding how these paths came to intersect. New media studies also seek to map the potential trajectories of new media systems, and analyse their relationship(s) with democracy and the Habermasian notion of the public sphere. Lister et al (2003) highlighted both the positive and negative potentials and actual implications of new media technologies, suggesting that some of the early works into new media studies were guilty of technological determinism – whereby the effects of media were determined by the technology themselves, rather than through tracing the complex social networks which governed the development, funding, implementation and future development of any technology. It is apt to state at this point, that there is still a high level of misconception as to what really constitute the new media technologies, especially amongst scholars of communication globally. This delusion is noticeable also in the broadcasting sector 9 especially in the developing countries which includes Nigeria; as many practitioners still do not understand the new media technologies and their contributions to broadcasting operations. The challenges of new media technologies in the broadcasting sphere cannot be over emphasized. In fact, it is on the platform of the new media technologies that broadcasting as a phenomenon has come to be closer to the people. In the same vein, these new media technologies have also broken the monopoly of who should be broadcasting at any time. For instance, convergence has made it possible for many who hitherto would not have been able to broadcast because of the financial implications of acquiring equipment for the setting up of a broadcasting station to ‘webcast’ using the internet. This certainly has more hazard than gains for the industry, especially in the developing countries. There is no doubt that Nigeria is still trailing behind in the race of acquisition of new media for the purpose of broadcasting and other media purposes. Eddie Iroh, a former Director of Radio Nigeria, cited in Agba (2001:iv) lamented the pace of ICT development in Nigeria when he noted that Nigeria is still sheltered into the prime level of electronic reporting when compared to the rest of the world. The non-compliance of the broadcast stations in Nigeria in terms of usage of new media technologies is far from encouraging, when compared to some other developing countries like South Africa, India and other South American Countries. This is certainly responsible for the sharp information imbalance between the developing countries and the developed ones in terms of news coverage and information flow. It is against this backdrop that this study, guided by the objectives below sought to find out the various challenges posed by the new media technologies to the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. 10 1.3 Objectives of the Study In a broader perspective, this study aimed at determining New Media technologies and their challenges to broadcasting in Nigeria, but laconically: 1. To determine if the Nigerian broadcasting sector understands the new media technologies as a support to their operations. 2. To establish what should constitute new media technologies in the broadcast industry. 3. To determine the advantages which the new media technologies herald for the broadcast sector in Nigeria. 4. To determine how broadcast practitioners in Nigeria perceive these new media technologies and their compliance to their usage. 5. To find out some of those problems militating against the acceptance or acquisition of these new media technologies by broadcasting stations in Nigeria. 1.4 Significance of the Study This study is significant in the following ways: a. It would enable the researcher to expand the frontiers of research in digital broadcasting especially with the use of new media technologies. b. It would enable the researcher to understand how media practitioners view the new media technologies as they affect their practices and operations in the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. c. It would enable the researcher and other scholars to understand the level of acceptability, application and operation of the new media technologies in Nigeria. d. It would enable media practitioners to know the full benefits which these new media technologies posses and how to utilize them for optimum services. 11 e. It would assist in the formulation of home-grown and functional ICT policy that will place the Nigerian broadcasting industry to world standards. f. It would avail the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) with full information in its quest for the phasing out of analogue broadcasting equipment by the year 2012. g. It would give direction on how to gradually transform from the present analogue state of broadcasting in Nigeria and embrace a broadcasting environment that is driven by modern Information and Communication Facilities as obtainable in western countries. h. It would stimulate further research on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and new media technologies as they affect the broadcasting or media industry in Nigeria. i. It would add to the body of academic literatures on New Media and Information and Communication Technologies in Nigeria. 1.5 Research Questions The following were the research questions formulated to guide in this study: 1. Do Practitioners in the Nigerian broadcasting sector understand the new media technologies as an indispensable tool meant for their effective operations? 2. What really constitutes the new media technologies in the broadcast industry? 3. What are the advantages the new media technologies hold for the broadcast sector in Nigeria? 4. How do the broadcast practitioners in Nigeria perceive new media technologies? 5. What are those problems militating against the acceptance or acquisition of these new media technologies by broadcasting stations in Nigeria? 12 1.6 Theoretical Framework Theories are a sine qua non to any empirical research. They provide the latitude for analyses and hypotheses testing, which are aimed at predicting phenomena relevant to any research work. Severin and Tankard (1982), cited by Tejumaiye (2005:21), note that “every scientist assumes an approach or a particular orientation when dealing with a subject or issue. This approach determines the concepts, questions, perspectives and procedures the scientist applies. This approach also shapes the hypotheses which are tested and eventually the theory, which is generated”. A good theory, according to Halloran (2000:213), therefore, is the most practical and useful tool at the disposal of the researcher. He states that a good theory provides the researcher with guidelines and suggests what directions the research should take and what questions are to be asked. Halloran says further that a theory provides continuity and cohesion, and makes possible the accumulation of a corpus of knowledge, which is the hallmark of scientific endeavour. This study is therefore anchored on the following theoretical construct: Diffusion of innovations theory Diffusion of innovations theory Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Diffusion is a special type of communication concerned with the spread of messages that are perceived as new ideas. Rogers (1997:1). An innovation, simply put, is “an idea perceived as new by the individual.” An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. The characteristics of an innovation, as perceived by the members of a social system, determine its rate of adoption. Rogers (1997:1). Diffusion of innovation is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and 13 technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers introduced it in his 1962 book, Diffusion of Innovations, writing that “Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.” Rogers, (2003). Innovations spread through society in an S curve pattern as the early adopters selected the technology first, followed by the majority, until a technology or innovation became Rogers (1997) also noted that diffusion research centers researched on whether the conditions which increases or decreases the likelihood that a new idea, product, or practice will be adopted by members of a given culture as peoples’ attitude toward a new technology and if it is a key element in its diffusion. Roger’s Innovation Decision Process theory states that innovation diffusion is a process that occurs over time through five stages: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation and Confirmation. Accordingly, the innovation-decision process is the process through which an individual or other decision-making unit passes. According to Rogers, (2003) they include; 1. knowledge of an innovation, 2. forming an attitude toward the innovation, 3. decision to adopt or reject, 4. implementation of the new idea, and 5. confirmation of this decision. Various computer models have been developed in order to simulate the diffusion of innovations. Veneris (1984) and (1990) developed a systems dynamics computer model which takes into account various diffusion patterns modeled via differential equations. 14 The relationship between the above discussed theory and the subject of discourse stems from the fact that new media were born out of innovation and their adoption by people will certainly alter some established cultures. Again, the theory is technologically based and the study is centered on the new technologies that have affected how the traditional operation of broadcasting all over the world. It is in this wise, that the above discussed theory is considered appropriate and necessary for this study. 1.7 Scope/Limitation of the Study One visible limitation of the study is that of gauging the ulterior feelings, behaviour and dispositions of the respondents. The data would rather be gotten through their manifest responses. Although it would have been better, if possible to study every broadcasting station in Nigeria but, doing that would not only be too expensive, but would make the research to be complicated, because of the inability to measure the large number of people. This informs picking a sample of the population. Asika (1991:46) notes that “sampling enables us obtain quicker results than does a complete coverage of the population…sampling enables us to be more thorough and affords us better supervision than with complete coverage of the entire population.” This study would therefore be limited to four broadcasting stations in Edo and Delta States, South-South of Nigeria; while on the other hand, it would be limited to the following broadcasting stations; 1. Delta broadcasting service Warri 2. Edo Broadcasting Service Benin City 3. Silverbird Communications Ltd. Benin City 4. Nigeria Television Authority Benin City 15 1.8 Definition of Terms Information: the created, stored, processed, retrieved and transmitted set of signals (or symbol) Communication: The process of receiving and transmitting information, ideas and opinions from one person or group of persons to another. Convergence: The merging and blending together of old and new media in terms of form, content and function. Information Technology: A term commonly used to cower the range of technologies relevant to the transfer of information (Knowledge, data, text, drawing, audeo recordings, video sequences, etc) in particular to computer, digital electronic, and telecommunication (Cambridge Encyclopedia, 2002) Broadcast: Electronic means by which information is transmitted to a large and heterogeneous audience. The broadcast media include the radio and television stations. New media: Modern Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) used as a channel for the dissemination of information to a heterogeneous audience regardless of time, space and distance e.g. Internet, DVD, mobile phones among others. Old media: These are old media of communication that are essentially one directional like the newspaper, radio, television among others. Internet: This is a worldwide collection of computer networks, a network of networks – sharing digital information via a common set of networking and software protocol (Musciano & Kennedy, 2002: 1). Digitisation: General word for the computerisation of all data transmission. Storage and processing employing the binary code, and as such the basis for 16 convergence of media. It is currently best known in reference to the replacement of analogueue by digital transmission of television signals, leading to a large increase in potential channel capacity and scope for interactivity (McQuail, 2005: 554). 17 REFERENCES Akpan, C. S. (2004). The impact of the new communication technologies on the broadcast industry. In International Journal of Communication, No. 1. Pp. 70-78. Asika, N. (1991). Research Methodology in the Behavioural Sciences. Ibadan: Longman. Baran, S. J. (2009). Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture. (5th ed). Boston: McGraw – Hill. Barr, T. (2002). 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