. ACTIS urges Nigerians to shun firm, asks FG, NASS to interveneNigerians may be in for more pains as Multichoice, owners of DStv and GOtv, announced that a new price bouquet will take effect from November 6. This is coming at a time Nigerians continue to battle the ripple effect of fuel subsidy removal, inability to have healthy meals due to jumping inflation, weakening value of the Naira, amidst forex crises and insecurity.
The new hike, which MultiChoice is implementing from Monday, is about 20 per cent and will be the third time the South African firm would increase its price in 2023.
In a letter dated November 1, by the firm, addressed to partners, sighted by The Guardian yesterday, Multichoice said: “On Monday, November 6, 2023, we will adjust our prices across all our packages on DStv and GOtv.
“We understand the impact this challenge may have on our valued customers and partners, but the rise in the cost of business operations, had led us to make this difficult decision.
“It remains our mission to provide the best entertainment and viewing experience to our valued customers and are committed to continue to deliver high-quality content and unparalleled service to our customers.”
Indeed, in the new price list, for DStv, Premium bouquet, the price moved from N24,500 to N29,500; Compact+, from N16,600 to N19,800; Compact, from N10,500 to N12,500; Confam, from N6,200 to N7,400, among others.
For GOtv users, Supa+ increased from N10,500 to N12, 500; Supa moved from N6400 to N7,600; Max from N4850 to N5,700; Jolli, from N3,300 to N3,950, among others.
An official of MultiChoice, who spoke on anonymity, neither confirmed nor denied the planned tariff hike. She said, “I cannot say yes or no to the plan. But you know the situation of things in Nigeria, how the cost of doing business continues to go up without showing any plans to abate.”
However, some subscribers already claimed to have received an SMS from MultiChoice on Wednesday, alerting them to the planned increases in subscription fees.
While blaming the rise in the cost of doing business in Nigeria, MultiChoice had in March 31, 2023, its financial year end, reported that it generated N277 billion (ZAR9.1 billion) in subscriptions.
By implication, the company’s revenue witnessed a 29 per cent growth compared to the N177.5 billion (ZAR7.1 billion) recorded in the previous year. This contributed very significantly to the Multichoice Group’s overall revenue growth of seven per cent, amounting to ZAR59.1 billion.
The Group had stated: “Notwithstanding liquidity constraints in Nigeria, the group managed to extract $235 million (FY22:$240m) at an average rate of NGN684:$ (FY22: NGN553:USD) during the year. Cash holdings of ZAR1.9 billion (FY22: ZAR2.3bn) held in Nigeria remain exposed to weaker currencies.”
In its yearly results for 2022, MultiChoice group added 900,000 90-day active subscribers to close the year with 21.8 million subscribers, an increase of five per cent year-on-year (YoY). The 90-day subscriber base comprises 12.8 million households (59 per cent) in the Rest of Africa and nine million households (41 per cent) in South Africa.
MEANWHILE, the President of Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS), Sina Bilesanmi, has called for boycott of both DStv and GOtv by subscribers in Nigeria, stressing that the hike is exploitative in nature.
Speaking with The Guardian, he argued that it was the fourth time the operators would effect price hikes in 2023 in Nigeria.
“I cannot believe this is happening at this time. The brand is just exploiting the Nigerian market, all because no alternative yet! I will employ all Nigerians to boycott both DStv and GOtv services. I also call on President Tinubu, the National Assembly to step in and save Nigerians from this exploitation,” he stated.
According to him, ACTIS met President Tinubu in August and demanded his intervention by asking these operators to give customers Pay Per View, “he said we should give him time then. But I think the time is now for the entire country to rise against this exploitation by MultiChoice.”
He disclosed that the association has written about 20 letters since 2020 to Multichoice on Pay Per View and other issues in the industry, but feigned ignorance to these letters.