By Oluwatobi Opusunju
A new indigenous company, Telecomsat Ltd. (TStv) is set to challenge the monopoly enjoyed by South African Multichoice’s Digital Satellite TV (DStv) in Nigeria’s payTV market.
TStv has announced plans for an October 1 launch to coincide with Nigeria’s Independence Day celebration in a market entry fostered on the theme of freedom to enjoy better and cheaper payTv services. The new station has a lower entry price and a monthly subscription window with a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) offerings. Subscribers on TStv may save themselves up to 200% in their monthly satellite TV budget as the new service provider unleash a pricing war on the existing monopoly.
In addition, TStv is offering internet and broadcast services all in one package similar to what Zuku offers its subscribers in Kenya to effectively tame DStv in that East African country.
In Nigeria, which is one of South African biggest markets, DSTV has been around for about 22 years. However, the company has often been in the news mostly for ripping Nigerians off with its inflexible subscription conditions and unfriendly quality of service (QoS) which could be attributed to its monopolistic status in the Nigerian market.
Its monopoly was last challenged by HiTV which has long ceased to be in the market owing to a mix of factors that include huge debts and boardroom tussles. With HiTV out, DStv dominance and predatory pricing thickened raising concerns among stakeholders that include regulators.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) had in February 2016 issued a directive to MultiChoice Nigeria, owners of DStv, on the need to be flexible on its dealings with subscribers after investigations by CPC confirmed the allegations of violations of consumers’ rights leveled against MultiChoice Nigeria in the delivery of its service. However, after the order, subscribers to DStv service were still agitating for the better service experience.
But with the announcement of the new TV provider entering the market with the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband (HBB) technology that combines both satellite and internet service for TV services, DStv is re-strategizing to sustain its market share. Already it is planning to adopt the PAYG offering, although it’s yet to be implemented.
TStv said it is aiming at giving Nigerians a breath of fresh air with its viewer-friendly money-for-service value offerings unlike DStv, as it also offers users the ability to pause subscriptions for a period of seven days every month amongst other mouth-watering features.
“For most Nigerians, multi-channel TV is a big dream. Apart from Nigerians living in Lagos, Abuja, and maybe Port Harcourt, most Nigerians have access to less than five free terrestrial TV channels. This means that most Nigerians rely on terrestrial, satellite, or cable Direct-to-Home DTH TV for multi-channel TV.
“TStv which will commercially launch across Nigeria soon, offers Nigerians complementary internet capacity, smart home, ability to pause subscriptions for a record seven days every month, Video calls and inbuilt 500GB hard drive inside our STBs for content storage, Video on Demand services as well as the regular uninterrupted clean world class contents available 24 hours every day. Our channels cut across various genres: news, music, general entertainment, documentary, movies, kids, religious, events, sports, health, fashion, and lifestyle channels,” a statement on the TStv website read.
Its subscription charges are in sharp contrasts to Multichoice DStv’s pricing as its subscription charges ranges from as low as N3000, N1500, N1000, N500 to N200 depending on the users’ choice and consumption. The TStv decoder is available for N5000 and has between 100-150 TV channels.
Its sports channels include Star Sports, Fox Sports, Euro Sports News, Euro Sports 2,Kwese Sports 1, Kwese Free, Kwese ESPN, Bein Sports MAX 4HD, being Sports 3HD, being Sports Global, bein Sports MAX (being Sports 1-10), TS Sports 4 HD, TS Sports 2, TS Sports 3 and Yolo Sports HD, while its music channels include Trace Urban/Africa, HITS TV, MTV Base, TLC (HD).
Its news channels are BBC America, CNBC, Aljazeera, BBC Radio 2,TVC News, Sky News,Arewa24,AIT,Core TV News, France 24 (English),CCTV News, Channels TV, Bloomberg Television, DW, Fox News, TRT World, Press TV, NTA, Arise News and TV360 Nigeria, while its movie channels are Star Movies, MBC Action, MBC 2, Star Movies, African Movie Channel Series (African Magic), Liberty TV, MBC, Wazobia TV, and WAP TV.
Others are Viasat Life, Fine Living, FOX, FOX Life, Investigation Discovery, MBC 4, MBox HD, PCTV, Star Gold HD, Nollywood TV, Z Cinema, E Entertainment, BEN Bridging The Gap, BET, TS Novella, TS Movies HD and TS Series. It also boasts of nine kiddies channels, five science channels, two fashion channels, six religion channels and five Africa channels.