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Multichoice: ‘Stop taking Nigerians for granted,’ say consumers as firm raises costs of DStv, GOtv subscriptions again

*Consumers of pay TV products and services have asked Multichoice, owners of DStv and GOtv subscription packages, to ‘stop taking Nigerians for granted’, stating ‘many Nigerians are already searching for alternatives to your unfair treatment’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For the fourth record time in 2023, Multichoice, owners of DStv and GOtv subscription packages, has increased the prices  of the Pay TV company’s products and services in Nigeria.

Multichoice had announced increases in the costs of its products May, August and early November 2023 respectively, according to reports.

ConsumerConnect reports the South African-owned company, once more, has announced the new product and service price increments of over 19 percent, barely days after disclosing a $72 million deficit in its third-quarter (Q3) financial report this year.

Photo: Lauretta Onochie @Laurestar on X

It is recalled that the company in a letter to its partners November 1 this year had stated: “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.”

New product and service prices

The DStv Premium bundle has a 20.4 percent price increase, from initial N24,500 to N29,500, with the most recent increase. Comparably, the Compact package also increased by 19 percent, from N10,500 to N12,500, while the DStv Compact+ was raised by 19.2 percent, from N16,600 to N19,800.

Besides, the Confam package increased from N6,200 to N7,400, a 19.2 percent increase.

In the latest round of price increases, the N3,500 rise from N21,000 to N24,500 represents a 16.7 percent increase in the DStv Premium package.

Likewise, the DStv Compact+ package has recorded 16.5 percent (N2,350) from N14,250 to N16,600.

The DStv Compact package also increased by 16.7 percent from initial N9,000 to N10,500.

The DStv Confam package, previously priced at N5,300, went up by 17 percent to N6,200.

Rationale for jacking up Multichoice product prices

An inside source, who preferred not to be named reportedly claimed that besides dealing with a wide range of issues, such as taxes and logistics in the company, Multichoice Nigeria also, has had to deal with the disastrous effects of devaluation of the Naira, Nigeria’s currency.

“Yes. We have increased our rates. We buy content in Dollars but earn in Naira.

“If we take off a channel or stop acquiring content that our customers are used to, we will be slammed,” stated the source.

The source justified the increments and said: “We buy diesel. We pay taxes. Even before this year, with the dollar and fuel subsidy removal.

“We pay billions in licensing fees. We operate several offices. We have to pay staff.”

The most recent increases followed Multichoice’s announcement of a third straight semi-annual loss, which it attributed to ongoing power shortages in home country of South Africa, and other pressing problems with Foreign Exchange (Forex) in Nigeria.

Stop taking Nigerians for granted: Onochie

In her immediate reaction to increments in Multichoice’s product prices, Lauretta Onochie @Laurestar on  her verified X (formerly Twitter) account wrote that the company “is punishing Nigerians for the sins of their staff.”

The former Presidential aide said: “In the past, I was able to pay directly through the DSTV App. For over a year now, it has not been possible. Not possible!

“My suspicion is that @MultiChoiceGRP employees are taking up the role of agents, thereby, increasing the amount of Agency fees DSTV pays out.”

Onochie also remarked: “How can it not affect their profit? But rather than look inwards and sanction their double-dealing employees involved in sharp practices, they are slamming Nigerians with incessant increase in subscriptions.”

Suggesting a way out of the business doldrums for Multichoice, she stated: “We are nearly in 2024. If Multichoice insists on direct payment to them, they may make profit because the $72m that went to their Agents/employees, would come to them directly.”

As regards the alleged unfair competition and market dominance of the firm, she added the clincher: “Many Nigerians are already searching for alternatives to your unfair treatment of Nigerians.

“This week, I’ll be starting the process of a better alternative. If I confirm it to be what I have been told, I’ll be alerting Nigerians to this better alternative.”

Several other Nigerian consumers of the company’s products may be in for more pains, following the latest announcement of its DStv and GOtv new price bouquets.

Pay TV products price hikes are exploitative, says ATCIS

Some other consumers, especially in the Social Media space, also have complained that the price increments, again, have come at a time Nigerians continue to battle the ripple effects of fuel subsidy removal, inability to have healthy meals due to high inflation, weakening Naira value, Forex crises and spate of insecurity across the West African country.

Reacting to the last price increases of Multichoice subscription packages November this year, Mr. Sina Bilesanmi, President of Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS), had urged consumers to boycott both DStv and GOtv, stressing that the hikes were exploitative in nature.

Bilesanmi also contended that it was an increment too many as the operator would effect price hikes at will in Nigeria.

He had told The Guardian: “I cannot believe this is happening at this time. The brand is just exploiting the Nigerian market, all because no alternative yet!”

Bilesanmi noted: “I will implore 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.”

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