- Nigeria’s cable TV market set for competition
Nearly three years after its initial launch into the Nigerian market, Terrestrial Satellite Television (TSTV), a Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcast service provider, is now set to take the fight to DsTv, the MultiChoice, South Africa cable broadcaster, by responding to the yearnings of millions of Nigerians with the launch of Pay-As-You-View (PAY-View) services in the country, come October 1, Nigeria’s independence day.
The initial launch of the pay-TV operator’s service had run into troubled waters when just under a week after it took off in 2017, it was accused of not getting permission before airing certain channels on its network, which led to some setbacks in its operations.
But Bright Echefu, TSTV’s managing director, in a briefing on Tuesday in Abuja said the time away afforded
it to look at its business critically and created a model to compete in the market.
“While we were off the radar, we properly studied the business and we have created a model to fit every Nigerian’s desire. We have created the pay as you view model where Nigerians will pay only for the channels they want to watch. Nigerians will be able to choose their bouquet by themselves, by choosing only those channels that they want to watch and pay for with a minimal amount per pay. 108 channels are available on our platform and more than 80 of them are High Definition (HD),” Echefu said.
The decision by the Direct-To-Home pay-TV operator to launch the pay-as-you-view services from Thursday, October 1 is a sign of what is to come in the space of digital broadcasting with competitive pricing and the search for market dominance with quality services offered to viewers.
The recent hike in the bouquet prices of market leader, DStv, which is South-African owned, has riled millions of Nigerian customers who believe the South African company had been taken advantage of its monopolistic hold on the Nigerian market and had treated Nigerians with disrespect for over a decade.
Besides, millions of Nigerians have taken the South African cable broadcaster to task for years demanding that they be charged for what they consume in the form of a Pay-as-you-view model, which became one of the clamours of most Nigerians in a bid to have the option of programmes which appeal to their interests and also enjoy long-lasting value for their money.
Now, TSTV appears to be on the verge of responding to this yearning as it prepares to introduce this model, which allows customers to pause and play, giving best value for money.
But the ever demanding Nigerian viewing public will be tasking TSTV’s 108 high definition (HD) channels on the platform with the need for the best of programming in the areas of movies and entertainment, music and lifestyle, kiddies, sports and news channels. A recently signed deal will see TSTV broadcast sporting events from some of Europe’s top leagues for the viewing pleasure of subscribers, we have been made to understand.
In a market that has over the years been monopolistically dominated by the MultiChoice-backed digital satellite television (DStv) in Nigeria, the stage may well have been set for real competition that will see the foreign-owned DsTv battle an indigenous brand in a price war, service model and quality of programming.
However, the support and reception by the Nigerian population will be another determinant of its survival in this re-launch, after the exit of the then-indigenous HiTV and the exit of Uganda’s KweseTV from Nigeria.
The continuous battle for market dominance has also seen MultiChoice introducing its low-income direct to home brand – Gotv, which was introduced to compete against the Chinese operator, StarTimes.
The DStv strategy has always revolved around the re-introduction of evocative programmes and shows which in a short duration leads to a price hike by the broadcaster. Nigerians believe that the re-launch of the TSTV service will create industry competition and help break the monopoly enjoyed by DStv, a scenario they have always wished to see play out in the Nigerian market for many years.