I took time to browse through more than 100 comments on a piece on Tekedia titled “Nigeria Strikes The Perceived Choiceless MultiChoice (DStv, GOTv)”. Broadly, most are toxic. Some were directed at me for ever preaching the free market principle in the midst of an unbounded monopolist from South Africa. But the bulk went to MutiChoice and its brands – DStv and GOtv. Many of the commenters were fanatical: “leave Nigeria, MultiChoice” could be used to summarize the feelings. Of course, some defended my hypothesis of a free market and allowing market forces to work.
That is a big problem for MultiChoice. What is happening here is that MultiChoice is winning their purses and wallets but losing the customers. It is a very dangerous trajectory for any brand, and if the company does not fix it, it has no future as a company in Nigeria. Simply, when MultiChoice came, it turned consumers into customers and then got many into the level of fandom through its European football product. But over time, most of those fans are falling back to customers and even consumers. Yet, because there was no other option, they stayed as consumers, paying, even when they have lost it all with the company selling to them.
My recommendation to MultiChoice is to do reassessment of its business, and see how it could fix this paralysis. It needs to win the hearts of the customers even as it wins the wallets to protect its castle. For all the improving financials, MultiChoice has a problem in Nigeria: it is serving dissatisfied customers and that is not leverageable.
MultiChoice’s biggest problem is that it’s the only one, so it’s very easy to throw all the missiles to it.
MTN is not loved more than MultiChoice, the difference is that when you feel you are angry with MTN, you move to Glo, Airtel, or even 9Mobile; and by the time you go round and realise that MTN is not really as terrible as you cast it, you come back and become more humbled consumer, while still murmuring under your breath.
What do you think would happen if MTN were to remain the only telecom service provider in Nigeria? Obviously everything it does would be evil, because there’s no other avenue to check if it’s killing you or extending your life. As long as you are the only entity offering a service that many people need, naturally you will have many haters and detractors, it doesn’t matter how great you serve them. Humans enjoy having options, they never like being reduced to single choice.
Asking MultiChoice to fix the issue is asking it to do the impossible: keep customers happy, while remaining above water. You cannot achieve both, as long as you are the only provider.
In all of these, Nigeria is the problem, but since everyday people don’t know how to fight Nigeria, they normally direct the anger to companies.
U dont know what Dstv has done to us in this country. Dstv has push other Companies out of the country. But they dont want any other to come in. The issue with Dstv and the Government is DStv don’t want other digital TV to come and if they must come they should buy the right from them to show some sports. Like what is happening to Star time. If u will recall Italian league was viewed on star time immediately Ronaldo signed for Juventus they collected it back from star time and begin to show it. Is this good for Nigerians. When they go others will come. They want to be the God of sport and other should come in and be subjected to them. That is where the issue is? Forget all this economic story.
This writer must be their PR man.This is Nigeria not South Africa.
This is a rather jaundiced, myopic and parochial view.
Content is data, and data is just as tangible an asset as infrastructure.
If monopolies restrict access to it to the extent that the growth of competitors and of the wider industry is threatened then the role of any diligent regulator should be to decentralise that access.
If DSTV opts to retreat from Nigeria one can only expect that they be heading to a very enjoyable retirement having made ten times more money in Nigeria than they would have made anywhere else in Africa unchallenged for the past 25 years.
Exponential growth in any industry does not come through monopolising the key assets and profiteering from exorbitant access fees.
Rather it comes from opening up access to participants and creating more players in each market layer.
My brother, the problem with the exclusive-rights model is that once DSTV has won the bid if any other player is able to raise money the next month and is willing to invest in the same industry they are completely barred from entry. Everybody is put at the mercy of DSTV. Either you pay what they ask or you go home, even if you have a completely different business model or are targetting a different segment of the market than they are.
Just because you have made the initial investment in the asset does not mean other players must be restricted from access to use that asset. This is parochial thinking.
When regulators break up monopolies the industry and the wider economy is usually better off. Look around you and around the world. It has been proven over the past 30years.
Content is data, and data ought to be shared. That is the type of economy that we need in Nigeria today.
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