- As DSTV, Star Times & Co. Fight Back
Sunday, 1st of October, 2017 did not only mark Nigeria’s 57th independence anniversary, it also gave birth to fresh competition in the PayTv market as the Minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, eulogised the new entrant, Telecomes Satelite television TSTV, that is poised to slug it out with battle-ready Multichoice, the owners of DSTV and GO TV, and other big names such as Star Times and MY TV.
TSTV Africa was unveiled on Sunday amid the pomp and pageantry that it deserved because Nigerians have really waited long enough to see an end to the market monopoly enjoyed by DSTV, so that subscribers could benefit from the ensuing competition just as it happened in the telecoms industry when Glo came to break the monopoly of MTN and ECONET.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S POINT OF VIEW
Lai Mohammed, who performed the official unveiling of the new company and its products, said the tax reliefs given to the TSTV were in line with the Pioneer Status recently granted to the Creative Industry by the federal government.
The Minister congratulated the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Dr Bright Echefu, and his team for liberalising and breaking the monopoly in the Pay TV industry in the country.
“The important thing about what Echefu has done today is that he has redefined the pay per view television industry and from today, that industry will never remain the same again.
“What he has done is to democratise the media and entertainment industry and made it possible for even a peasant farmer to have access to the best entertainment and news in the world.
“It is a great opportunity for me to be the one to unveil TStv because just as a Nigerian made history by crashing the cost of telephony in Nigeria, I am glad that another Nigerian is now coming forward to crash the cost of Pay TV,” he said.
The minister commended the courage of the investor for coming from the Diaspora to invest in his country and for believing in the government’s seriousness about diversifying the economy.
He said the company had also demonstrated that government alone could not do all things, but needed the participation and synergy of the private sector.
“I want to assure that this administration will continue to assist you and other investors in creating the enabling environment for businesses to grow,” he said.
The minister said that the government was aware of the huge contributions of the creative industry to the nation’s economy and would continue to support the sector.
However, he identified contents and the lack of objective audience measurement as major challenges that had retarded the growth of TV and advertising industries in the country.
“With the liberalisation of the industry, contents have become very key because contents determine which channels are being watched and which are not.
“Another major challenge is how to get an accurate measurement of which channel is being watched and which is not.
“Kenya and South Africa are about one third of our population, but they do much better in TV and radio advertisement than we because of their robust audience measurement,” he said.
TSTV owners must have studied the pay TV market before taking their time to launch, and this has caused excitements among many Nigerians, who expressed delight especially at the pay-per-view system of billing subscribers, which Nigerians have clamoured for, but would never have seen the light of the day from other cable tv service providers. This is definitely a market buster, but can TSTV really match the strength that DSTV has garnered over years, considering the fact that DSTV is the first pay Tv to launch in Nigeria and has also successfully waded off competition from other former entrants such as HI TV and AC TV?
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TSTV
Here are first hand information on the 6 things to know about TSTV.
- The N5000 for TSTV initial purchase includes a decoder, a dish and a remote control, but excludes any installation service charge.
- TSTV Pay AS You Go pause service i.e. the opportunity to pause your subscription when not in use would be available to those who would go for the maximum subscription, which is the monthly N3,000, package and you would only be able to pause subscription not more than 7 days, thereby allowing you 37 days at most for your monthly subscription. So, don’t expect to use your 1 month subscription from January to December in the name of pausing or expect user’s 1 day N200 subscription for 1 month.
- The first time you buy the decoder is the only time you would be able to enjoy up to 20GB of data as bonus, for subsequent full monthly subscription comes with 10GB of data and not 20GB as some of you might be thinking.
- TSTV has incorporated its subscription service payments into Quickteller, the popular E-payment service in the country and just as DSTV, you would also be able to easily pay for your TSTV subscriptions through Quickteller.
- You would be able to buy extra 1GB data or above from TSTV at the cost of N300 for 1GB
- TSTV data allocation has nothing to do with watching of TVST channels, but just a separate and additional offer to the entire TSTV concept or better still what you commonly regard as Value Added Service (VAS)
The DTH pay TV, offers 200 rich blend of local and international channels and packages for entertainment, including news, sports, kids, health, etc. These will be distributed on the ABS 3A Africa beam, located at 3 degrees west, beginning with 100 channels. TSTV also promises to beam live sports such as Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League and much more. Some sport channels on TStv Africa are Sport 1-10, Fox Sport HD, and Ts Sports. Running on 4.5G network, every subscriber will get 10GB of data for N3,000 monthly. The data can also be used for video calls conferences with camera and WiFi.
Despite all the promises on sports, which is the most viewed content on any pay TV in Nigeria, according to research, TSTV did not launch with any sports channels including the much promised BeIN Sport and Fox Sport, in fact, their satellite signal is off currently. On the other side, if they redeem other promises made(such as the cheap data solution), they will remain a winner against all odds.
Further research revealed that one of the content providers, Turner Broadcasting System Europe, in a letter to TSTV entitled: “Re: Formal notice to imperatively desist distributing Turner’s channels,” dated September 27, 2017, noted that “it has come to our attention that TSTV intends to launch on October 1, 2017 a package of channels that would include CNN.
“In this respect, the distribution and broadcast of the above-mentioned channels in Africa, including Nigeria, have to be authorised by us in advance. The distribution and broadcast of this channel without authorisation will infringe our intellectual property rights and constitute acts of piracy.”
The letter, signed by a director at Turner, Eleanor Browne, added: “In this context, we invite you to undertake in writing not to distribute CNN, and not to use or reproduce the channel’s trademarks on any advertising or promotional material.”
The letter was stamped RECEIVED at TSTV by one UmanaKufre, dated September 29, 2017, and copied to industry regulator, National Broadcasting Commission, where it was also stamped RECEIVED on September 29, 2017.
Turner also copied the Nigerian Copyright Commission. In the same vein, another content provider, beIN, wrote a similar letter to TSTV entitled: “Illegal Pirating of BEIN Content: Cease & Desist.” The letter from beIN was dated: September 28, 2017, and equally copied to the Nigerian Copyright Commission where the RECEIVED stamp was dated September 29. The same official at TSTV, UmanaKufre, signed receipt of the letter, and the RECEIVED stamp was also dated September 29.
Ditto at the National Broadcasting Commission, where the beIN letter was received with the stamp bearing September 29, 2017 date. beIN in its letter noted that it is “the exclusive licensee of the broadcast rights to many of the world’s major international sporting leagues and other entertainment content in our various territories,” adding that “other parties are not permitted to copy and re-broadcast beIN content without express authorisation.”
Here is a copy of the beIN letter, signed by its Director of MENA Legal Affairs, Dr. Mohammad ElSaid, requesting TSTV, within seven days, to “cease and desist from selling, copying, making available, communicating, distributing, or otherwise infringing on the copyright in any beIN content, within Zimbabwe, or anywhere else in the world; cease and desist from using beINtrade marks.”
TSTV was also required to provide written confirmation that it not only received the letter from beIN, but that it has ceased and desisted from infringing activity earlier described.
THEY’RE FAKE LETTERS —TSTV.
However, the new TV provider denied the letters and described them as frivolous.
TSTV in tweets on its twitter handle, @tstvafrica, urged Nigerians to disregard the letter as they were fake and an attempt to bias Nigerians even before TSTV begins sales.
“DISCLAIMER!! We are not unaware of the messages circulating in the social media regarding a letter from beIN Sports and Turner. We wish to inform Nigerians that the letters are FAKE and were prepared basically to bias Nigerians.”
Efforts to speak with TSTV promoter and its MD/CEO, Dr Bright Echefu, were unsuccessful at weekend. Calls to his two known numbers did not go through. The network reported they were switched off. He also did not reply to emails sent to him, Vanguard reported.
TSTV Africa is giving DSTV a huge scare; currently, DSTVsubscribers can watch the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League, which are the most selling sports contents worldwide. GoTv also has a massive channels upgrade and a currently ongoing promo. Generally, DSTV is trying to adjust to the recession period currently being experienced, while also interested in customer retention in the face of tempting competition. However, DSTV still has the exclusive right to beam all 380 EPL games to Nigerians, a feat no other pay TV can boast of at the moment. Even Star Times that got the right to show EPL live in 2016, cannot beam more than 33 games per season at the moment.
Meanwhile, TSTV is not only attempting to cause an earthquake in the pay TV market alone, it also has the telecoms industry in mind.If it could make all her promises good, the telecoms industry in Nigeria would never remain the same. I mean, who would sell 20gb of 4g network for #5,000? That is what you get when you first buy their decoder. Talking of re-subscription, you would be entitled to 10gb with every re-subscription. They have also considered those who might want to top up their data. So, they offer 1gb of data for a token of #300.
This is a great revolution irrespective of your perspective: Pay per consumption, Wifi routing, satellite internet are all one of the needed services in Africa. They promise all of these, if they deliver them, we only need to sit down and watch as prices of cable TV subscription and that of internet data plummet drastically.