MultiChoice Nigeria, a pioneer pay TV service provider, as well as other stakeholders in the broadcast communication sector, have rejected a proposed pay-per-view for pay TV proposed by lawmakers.
The cable TV which runs on a monthly subscription model disclosed to lawmakers that their proposed plan was not feasible.
The company made this known during a one-day public hearing, organized by the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee investigating “Pay-Tv hikes and demand for the pay-per-view subscription model in Nigeria” in Abuja.
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Different stakeholders who spoke before the panel disclosed that the pay-per-view model being proposed by the lawmakers was not feasible, considering the current harsh environment which firms were operating under in Nigeria, which has however made it possible for firms to reduce their prices.
Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe said that the several legal and legislative moves made to compel the firm to operate the pay-per-view model did not work because it was not feasible.
In his words, “Whilst it may appear to be a noble intention for this Committee to be concerned over the rising cost of subscription services; however, the Pay-Per-View (PPV) model being canvassed by this Committee will not work either to the benefit of the consumer or the industry.”
“It would appear that this problem is because of some confusion in understanding the basic definitions and distinctions between some of the existing operational business models in telecommunications and pay-tv broadcasting.
“The desire by this Committee to adopt PPV is further challenged by the non-existence of any technology that can detect and or determine the viewers are tuned in per time.
“Once it is impossible to have this knowledge, billings based on ‘per view’ become difficult if not almost impossible.
“It is, therefore, my humble submission, therefore, the distinguished committee that due to the nature of content acquisition and technological limitations that PAYG model is not practical for broadcasting and thus is not practiced and basically cannot be implemented anywhere in the world.”
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Senate earlier this year had demanded that the Federal Government direct all Pay TV operators in the country to introduce a pay-per-view subscription model.
The matter was brought to the house by Senator Abba Moro who represents the Benue South Zone, who stated that Nigerians were outraged by the recent hike in subscriptions introduced by Multichoice owners of DSTV and GOTV.
Sen. Moro said, “MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever.
“Without recourse to the economic situation of the country, MultiChoice has again raised the cost of DStv Nigeria and GOtv Nigeria bundles.”
Some other senators stated that it doesn’t make sense for one to pay exorbitant prices for so many channels only to watch a few of them. They complained that Nigerians don’t get quality services to commensurate with the money they paid for subscription hence the need for a Pay-Per-View payment model.
After much deliberations, the Senate resolved to “Urge the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission to direct all pay-tv providers to introduce a pay-per-view model of subscription against the month-to-month prepaid model presently in place.
This was how it played out in the telecom industry, MTN then said they did not have the technology to implement the per second billings, this was what made the entrance of Globacom Nigeria into the telecom space easier as they entered the market with the per seconds billing, now all players in the industry are on per seconds billing.
It is just a matter of time, the monopoly will be broken. I really commend the House committee on this step, way far better than muscling Multichoice Nigeria using court process to reduce their price. We will see how it pans out