Nigeria’s indigenous cable satellite, TSTV was launched some few weeks ago into Nigeria’s digital television arena, making it the first of its kind in the country. Prior to its coming on board DSTV has been holding sway with lots of exciting channels and contents, meeting various needs of subscribers. It thus became a sought after not just in Nigeria, but the entire Africa and some parts of the world.
However, despite the rich array of channels and contents DSTV provides, there have been series of complains against it. These complains range from repetition of contents, exorbitant subscription charges and sometimes poor reception of relayed programs. These allegations are that the only channels that are fresh on the satellite are sports channels and a few others in the over four hundred channels.
TSTV, a Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcast service is the child of a multi-transponder agreement between ABS and Telcom Satellites TV to deliver DTH to Nigeria on the ABS 3A satellite. The service is set to air more than 100 TV channels first and grow to above 150 with time. TSTV Africa will function in the 36 states.
TSTV aims 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.
What prompted TSTV
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.
As the competition hots up, some Nigerians are skeptical that DSTV may be plotting a strategy that may end up boxing TStv to a tight corner; the first gainer of the tax free scheme of the federal government in the industry.
But the innovation to have a home-grown digital satellite service came from a serious solution finding exploits of African Health Television, hence her official launch was fixed for 1st October, 2017 to share in the significance of a new nation with aspirations for genuine change and development. The harsh economic realities in Nigeria have prompted the initiators to share in finding solutions to ameliorate the high rate of unemployment. It was only recently that the National Bureau of Statistics released a disheartening report of the rising rate of unemployment. In fact, unemployment had risen to 14.2% at the time of the report.
Speaking on the prospect of TSTV, Bright Echefu, TSTV Managing Director/CEO said: “Our vision is to provide premium video experience to Nigerians at affordable prices. Our services will enable the viewers to experience HD and SD video and internet surfing at the same time. We are the first indigenous local operator in the region to launch such a premium platform with a variety of services to Nigerians, who have been so far paying exorbitant prices to foreign operators.”
“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.”
Also speaking, Head of Corporate Communications, Magu Ugo, said, TSTV is a Nigerian story told to Nigerians by Nigerians. “Therefore, we are 24 hours available for Nigerians. We can be reached via our website portal and social media handles. Our phone numbers are displayed on these online portals,” he added.
Is DSTV monopoly under threat?
Since DStv debuted 22 years ago, it has set the tone for the market unchallenged. That may finally be altered if TStv manage stay firm up its presence
MultiChoice, owner of DStv, a brand with over 1,649,000 subscribers in Nigeria has enjoyed a near monopoly of the Pay TV platform, relying on its dominance of the European sporting world to hold sway as the country’s favorite.
Many rivals had come, and fallen by the way side, while few are still struggling to stand segment competition. In terms of cost, DStv’s subscription is expensive. The cheapest package (DStv access) costs N1,900 per month, but the channels are limited. The most expensive bouquet with all the channels costs #14,700 per month. However, unlike DStv, TStv offers a pay-as-you-go, allowing subscribers to pay for what they consume.
With start-up of 70 premium channels and a maximum subscription fee of N3, 000, while also accommodating as low as N200 and N500 for a period of time, TStv is certainly out to give DStv a run for its money.
TSTV’s initial subscription cost, including a decoder, a dish and a remote control, is N5, 000. Another added advantage coming with the subscription is that after buying the decoder, subscribers will get up to 20GB of data as bonus, while subsequent full monthly subscription through e-payment platform will come with 10GB of data.
The Pay TV decoder also comes with PVR (Personal Video Recorder) Decoder which allowed viewers greater control over their viewing experience with functions like pause, rewind, forward, save and record of programmes of interest, features regarded as luxury with DStv.
Subscribers will also get complimentary internet service, enabled Wi-Fi, as well as video calls and video conferencing services.
However, the critical subscription platform many Nigerians are looking for which is Pay-Per-View seems to be lacking in TStv as what obtains in the new company offering is Pay As You Go which can only allow subscribers a limited option to pause their subscription when not in use for not more than seven days in a month, thus extending at most, 37 days monthly subscription.
It will be recalled that the federal government had during the flag off of the TStv transmission in Abuja, announced the concession of three-year tax relief to the new platform.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the unveiling of TStv would totally redefine the pay per view platform and, by extension, the television industry, by making it possible for people in all segments of society to enjoy high quality entertainment.
He said what TStv has done is to democratize the media and entertainment industry and make it possible for all to have access to the best entertainment in the world. “Just like a Nigerian also made history by crashing the cost of telephony in Nigeria, I am glad that another Nigerian is now coming forward also to crash the price of Pay TV.”
Since TSTV debuted, Nigerians and the world in general seems to be asking whether the satellites like kwese tv and DSTV has secured the rights to exclusive broadcast channels so as to give her prospective customers the needs that seem to be lacking in the other satellites. Time alone shall tell.
Expectations are high as the new kid on the block, Telcom Satellite TV (TSTV), promises to give popular cable operator DSTV, a run for its money. But does TSTV have what it takes to live to its promise? Let’s get your responses.