Following the recent hike in the prices of DStv and GOtv subscriptions in the country, the leadership of the Senate on Wednesday adopted a motion directing all pay television service providers (including DStv) to implement pay per view module as against the mandatory monthly subscription.
In a sponsored motion by Senator representing Benue South Senatorial district, Abba Moro, he lamented the incessant hike in price of various bouquets by the service providers which he described as exploitative.
While complaining about the high price, the lawmaker said: “Notes that the leading pay-tv service provider in Nigeria, (MultiChoice Nigeria) informed all DStv compact subscribers on August 22, 2020, to expect a 13.3% price increase to N7,900 commencing from September 1, 2020 while the subscription fee for DStv compact plus was increased by 9.5% from N10,925 to N12,000, and Premium was increased from N16,200 to N18,400 indicating a 13.6% hike.”
He noted that Nigerians have angrily reacted to the price hike, hence there was need for legislative intervention.
He maintained that there was no justification for the price hike, given that the pay-tv services are subscription based television services, usually provided by both analogue and digital cable and satellite televisions.
The red chamber also asked the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and Nigerian Communications Commission to investigate the frequent price hike.
Multichoice had revealed that the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) billing model advocated by Nigerians would not be possible.
This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Nigeria, owners of DSTV, John Ugbe, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee investigating the non-implementation of Pay-As-You-Go subscription model by satellite television operators in October 2020.
The CEO explained that the company do not have the technology to help them render the PAYG billing model as requested by most Nigerian subscribers.
Ugbe pointed out that Pay-Per-View (PPV) is often confused with PAYG, adding that the PAYG model used in the telecommunications sector is not the right fit for pay television.
The Multichoice boss, in clearing the air between PAYG and PPV, explained that Pay-As-You-Go in telecommunications is a metered service that ensures consumers are billed only for the service they consume and not for a fixed period.
He argued that Pay-As-You-Go is possible in telecommunication sector because it relies on a two-way communication system, which enables operators to determine when a consumer is connected, the service consumed and the duration of connection.
However, unlike telecommunication firms, he maintained that satellite broadcasters, cannot offer pay television services because satellite broadcasting is a one-way system and does not enable broadcasters to determine when a subscriber is connected and/or watching or what channel is being viewed.
Ugbe said: “It is only in instances where there is two-way communication between the device at the subscriber’s home and the headend of the pay-tv service provider, which will enable the provider to determine when a subscriber is connected or not, that a billing system could be designed to take into cognizance the subscriber’s behaviour.’’
He said the Pay-As-You-Go can only be feasible if there is a total and global remodelling of the satellite broadcasting technical and billing architecture, adding the result will be that consumers will have to much higher tariffs to access the service.
He said, “The economies of scale model employed by broadcasters mean that subscribers pay less. We are yet to see a pay-TV business anywhere in the world that does PAYG in the sense intended here. We do not believe the model is technically or commercially feasible.’’