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TSTV: Are These Claims True or Sentiments To Buy Market Share?

The very instant I saw TSTV’s claims, I knew something wasn’t right. And I maintain that the PayTV industry in Nigeria is a level-playing field for everyone serious and capable enough to offer Nigerians the best value for money in world-class content.

First, it is important Nigerians realize that – as a rule – you don’t start off a marathon by sprinting; and when a claim sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

While I wouldn’t bug anyone with pay-tv lingo, it is now pertinent for Nigerians to grasp the rudiments of how the industry works; and the indices represented in the chain, right up to their television sets.

Pay-tv service providers only act as platform for several televisions content producers and content doesn’t come free. As in, they aren’t just plucked out of nowhere, and broadcasted. No, because that would amount to piracy and infringement on intellectual property rights. So, how does a pay-tv service provider get content for his subscribers? He buys the rights. And why does he buy them? Well, because that movie, that sport content, involves a plethora of talents and production costs, and the owners aren’t in it for charity.

Thus, they pay and, if you want it, you pay as well. That’s why it is called “PAY-TV”! And guess what? The demand in a given market will determine how much the right for a certain content goes for in that market, as the cost isn’t always a one-size-fits-all. What does this mean?

If the Premier League, for instance, is of a higher demand in Nigeria than, say, Ghana, the cost to acquire the Premier League rights here, would definitely be higher than it is in Ghana. Also, there are a number of other indices right owners take into consideration in fixing the price of content for a particular market, after which the service provider will need to consider the factors of its socio-economic environment in fixing subscription rates, so as to stay afloat.

Back to Nigeria. Nay, let’s talk about DStv. DStv launched in Nigeria in 1995 and, over the years, has increased the number of channels on its platform to more than a hundred, all of which can be accessed in its highest bouquet – DStv Premium. Again, DStv has over the years continued to live up to its claim of offering the best TV entertainment in Africa by aligning with the entertainment needs of its subscribers in Nigeria.

The English Premier League is one of Nigeria’s most sought-after TV content; and in 2007, when DSTV lost the rights to HITV, it stepped up its game by reinforcing its local content offering on Africa Magic. So, in its trying time, it saw an opportunity to beef up its armor as the king of content in its market, using the threat to focus on developing local content further, which then proved – once again – to be a compelling need among Nigerians. Now that’s how you do business: identify a niche, latch onto it, turn the tide, and offer even more in the end. As a result of this, by the time the saga ended in 2007, it dawned on many football-loving Nigerians that there is a whole lot more to DSTV than football.
I am Nigerian but I am also a consumer who wants the best value for his money. While I, like other compatriots may want to appeal to my sense of patriotism in choice of goods and services, I must also appeal to my need for quality of services provided for my consumption and determine if I want it or not.

DStv has been in Nigeria for twenty-two whole years and have maintained the lead in quality TV entertainment, Nigeria’s socio-economic environment notwithstanding. And like I have mentioned here, it is easy to have a layman’s appraisal of what it costs to bring such world-class content to your TV sets, so far, I have only used football, that is, the Premier League, as an example and in its offerings, DStv has hundreds of content in its over hundred channels, each of which comes at a cost. Not in Naira, but in US dollars. Need we talk about the La Liga, Serie A, the Champions League…and this is just FOOTBALL. The movie channels too (those movies aren’t played from a DVD from a secret location outside Nigeria, by the way), and then the local channels…the movies…news….etc, what else? Anyway, I am sure you understand. THEY ARE ALL PAID FOR!

Like mentioned above, the moment I saw TSTV’s claims, I knew straightaway there is no way they could have been 100% genuine, knowing what goes into acquiring them, and measuring it against their claims to dole out 20G worth of internet data as well. The only organ that can offer such in Nigerian is government, but with heavy subsidies too! Come to think of it: how much does it cost you to subscribe to a telco internet plan? Now add the cost of individual rights for TV content, overhead and etcetera. This isn’t rocket science actually.

Practically, in order to feel the pulse of any industry, you must study its major players. It will give you an idea of what makes it tick, and what it entails to delve into it or, like Nigerians will say, “to chook head inside”. I am Nigerian but I want the best for my money, and will only pay anyone who means business. That is, clean, honest business. Neither will I sacrifice quality on the altar of nationalistic sentiment, especially since there is level-playing field for all.

While we often talk about “buying Naija”, our businessmen must realize that we, as a nation, must live up to our highest potential as a people- in our ability to offer the best and, more importantly, deal conscientiously. Look, let’s not forget that if it sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is and I would rather a TSTV does its homework well because whipping up pretentious sentiments has never helped anyone in the long run. Neither does relying on it help long-term sustenance.

TSTV therefore must not renege on their initial promise; otherwise, it would amount to devious manipulation and a play on our collective intelligence, as no-one starts off a marathon by sprinting and not when your competition has TWENTY-TWO YEARS under his belt, having not failing in their bid to give Nigerians value for money and variety as added value for patronage.

TSTV must understand purely that Nigerians are wiser now and can never settle for less, no-matter how well packaged and sold to us.

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