Africa’s biggest cable tv company, Multichoice owners of Dstv and Gotv have revealed plans to slash cost of subscription in several African countries between 11 percent and 21 per cent from November 1, 2016 excluding Nigeria which is their biggest market in Africa.
According to findings, DStv would also add several exciting channels to the lower-tiered bouquets in the black nations to boost the content offering for cheaper packages and add content value. The countries that would benefit from the offer are Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Botswana, neglecting Nigeria, its biggest market.
There are chances that the company may soon increase the subscription fee in Nigeria.
Some of the new channels the subscribers in these countries would view are a sister channel to the Telenovela, Eva+; pop-up M-Net channels, M-Net Movies, BlockParty and Harry Potter among others.
Some of the subscribers said in separate interviews, disclosed that they would stop their subscriptions if the company embarked on what they described as ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. For instance, Engr. Toba Biobaku, one of the numerous subscribers of DStv, alleged the company is allergic to providing good services for Nigerians at affordable prices.
To the manager of one of the construction company in the country, the company has passion for fleecing Nigerians without value for their money. Despite the current economic recession, he stated that several Nigerians still renew their subscription and the reward they could get from Multichoice is to use their monies to reward subscribers in other African nations.
“When Multichoice bowed to pressures made by consumers and the Consumers Protection Council recently when it introduced a customer care toll free lines easily, I knew it that the company has hidden agenda. The most painful part of it is that most of us are being cheated without compensation as it failed to clear the E-16 code from our television sets for a week. When the error was erased later, my subscription was not extended,” he lamented.
Another subscriber that is perturbed about the plan of the operator of the pay TV service is the Managing Director of Jumobite Fashion. The premium subscriber of DStv threatened to lead a peaceful protest to the Tiamiyu Savage street, Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters of the company along with some of her friends, who are also premium subscribers.
For her, the tariff of the bouquet is too expensive compared to what other subscribers in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana pay. According to her, asking Nigerians viewers to pay more for few channels and asking their counterparts in those countries to pay less for more is absurd and a way of saying Nigerians are gullible.
There are indications that hundreds of thousands of the subscribers of the pay TV firm might not renew their monthly subscription if the company embark on the fee slashed. Findings revealed that the company makes an average of about N8 billion from over 4 million patrons every month in Nigeria and about N80 billion as turnover per year.
A top source close to the management of Multichoice Nigeria, who claimed anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said that the company decided to slashed fees in the countries after it observed that about 40 per cent of its subscribers had refused to renew their subscriptions due to economic recession that bites harder their compared to Nigeria, which has been recently rated the biggest economy in the continent.
“The stiff DStv price hikes put subscribers under pressure in those countries and we have lost about 300,000 subscribers in the countries in one year as people could no longer afford the service or no longer saw it as valuable enough. When reviewing our packages and prices in each country, we take into account local dynamics such as inflation, content costs, foreign exchange rates, local taxes and overheads required for each business.
“To compensate our Nigerian viewers, we will introduce more amazing channels to the existing entertaining programmes. We have also embark on an aggressive marketing and follow up innovation to ensure most of our subscribers do not abandon their bouquets. We call subscribers a few days to the expiration of their subscriptions to remind them about the reasons they should not miss out of the global village,” she revealed.
But in a quick response, a business lawyer, Bar. Seun Adewole, stated that while most Nigerians suffered in silence, foreign companies like Multichoice ripped them off their hard earned money. Aside from the fact that he also believe it is wrong for an international company to set double standards for its patrons, he said that subscribers should fight for their rights using legal means by questioning the decisions of the firm, sending complaints to regulatory agencies like the Consumers’ Protection Council and the Federal Ministry of Communication and Technology.
“Sending complaints to the National Assembly had proven to be a waste of time and resources. Similar issues had been discussed on the floor of the assembly but none had yielded any desired result as it appears that gifts exchange hands after a lot of noise had been made by the lawmakers. For instance, the house of representative had debate on the pay as you view initiative for years and nothing has been done to it and I am not surprised that the company had excluded Nigerians from the beneficiaries of the price slash,” he stated.