On Saturday, 1st of April 2017, Nigerian DSTV users were hit with a shocking announcement revealing the increase in subscription charges of every DSTV package by five percent with effect from 1st May 2017.
This marks the fifth time DSTV is increasing its subscription fee in Nigeria since its inception in 2009. From the information made available, the price of DSTV Premium has increased by 55 percent from N9,000 which it charged in 2009 to N13,980 in 2017 while that of DSTV Access has increased by 26 percent since 2009.
In defending this price increase in such a time of economic hardship, DSTV Nigeria released a statement blaming the increase on inflation and Forex restriction. However, it is no news that Forex restriction has been the problem of almost every company in Nigeria that does business using foreign currency.
“We announced last year that we would do everything possible to hold the price barring any extreme factors. However, all our content is purchased in dollars and although we have done everything possible to hold the prices even with the price of everything else going up, we are now left with no choice but to adjust our subscription prices from 1 May,” DSTV said in a press statement.
Over the years, MultiChoice Africa Limited, which offers video entertainment services in Africa through its digital satellite television service, DSTV, has been under constant attack by Nigerians either over subscription fees or content, and this year is not an exception. Most Nigerians feel robbed by this pay TV and its activities in the country due to its monopoly on certain programmes such as the English Premiership League rights. Apart from the price increase, they are currently under attack on social media for trying to remove a renowned Gospel TV station, Kingdom Africa, a channel that offers family friendly content with a very high moral benefits while they have decided to leave the Big Brother Naija (BB9ja) channel, which some Nigerians claim has little or no moral benefits.
In 2016, the Premier League announced that it had closed a deal valid for the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons with Econet Media, owned by a Zimbabwean tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa. Ventures Africa questioned if this was the end of DSTV but over a year later DSTV seems to remain the king of the park in Africa.
Following this recent announcement on price increase, many Nigerians have been calling for the boycott of DSTV while others have decided that they are going to pack up their DSTV decoders and begin a search for other pay TV services currently running in the country. This brings the question of if Nigerians can really do without DSTV.
Can Nigerians do without DSTV?
While scanning through Twitter which has recently become an even more powerful uniting tool, I stumbled across a tweet which suggested that Nigerians can actually put away their cable networks and make use of unlimited internet data bundles to watch whatever station they wished to watch or must have missed.
But how true can this be in Nigeria looking at the fact that Internet access in the country is very expensive? It could become a reality in Nigeria if Internet Service Providers (ISPs) decide to drop the price of their unlimited data bundles in order to help cut cost for Nigerians. If this is possible, Nigerians would be able to save more; instead of spending so much on mobile data, all they have to do is pay for unlimited data bundles which they could also use on their phones, laptops and HDTVs. In this case, the subscriber will only pay for what he or she watches as opposed to paying for what they didn’t watch – something which has been one of the greatest concerns of Nigerians who call for pay as you use DSTV subscriptions.
This is also a call to the telecommunication companies in Nigeria to take advantage of the current situation as an opportunity to increase the number of Internet Service Providers that dropped in February this year. According to the latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications networks lost 1,275,573 Internet users in February.
Even if some Nigerians claim to have ditched cable TV for the internet, we need to consider that once you ditch cable, your Internet connection will become the basic source of your media consumption, this means that you’ll need a very reliable Internet connection. And finding reliable Internet Service Providers can be quite the challenge.
But just in case any Nigerian decides to try this option he or she should make sure that their ISP supports super-high-speed bandwidth necessary for streaming high-definition and super-high-definition video. This is because, in some cases, you might need to upgrade your subscription to get a high bandwidth.