DStv - Multichoice Africa

The continuous monopoly
enjoyed by Cable Television Network service providers can no longer be tenable
as the federal government of Nigeria has concluded plans to end the monopoly pretty soon.

This development accordingly is said to include ending exclusive rights to sporting events on
cable network and under Digital Satellite Television


Only
DStv currently broadcasts major football competitions in Nigeria, especially
the English Premier League.

Nigeria government said it had amended Nigeria’s broadcasting code to prevent DStv and
others from monopolising their channels and contents.

The
House has been probing DStv for allegedly cheating its Nigerian subscribers by
restricting them to prepaid plans and increasing its subscription rates on June
1, 2020, despite the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on the
people.

At the
continuation of the investigative hearings organised by an ad hoc committee of
the House on the matter in Abuja on Tuesday, Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had dismissed claims by DStv that pay-per-view
was not proper for the Nigerian market.

Mohammed
noted that StarTimes, the cable arm of the Nigerian Television Authority, was
already operating for some years.

In an
interview monitored by urban Express-News’ correspondent through Channels Television
Broadcast on  “The Gavel”, the minister
of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was heard responding to question from house
of  representative ad-hoc committee.

Explaining
further, Minister lai Mohammed said the issue of an increase in price for
subscribers, with the onset of COVID-19, one of the first things we did in the
ministry with the NBC (National Broadcasting Commission) was to provide succour
to broadcasters.

“We
suspended payment for the initial two months to all broadcasters so that they
would be able to absorb the impact of COVID-19. Therefore, it will be unfair
for those for whom we have suspended payment to also at the same time increase
their own fees. And I’m sure that the DG of NBC will take up this matter.”

On the
issue of monopoly, Mohammed stated that President mohammadu Buhari had in
2019 set up a board of enquiry to look into the activities of broadcasting
stations, to ascertain the potency of the broadcasting code and broadcasting
act to curtail and regulate the industry against excesses.

His
word: “We took that opportunity also to make the right recommendations to Mr.
President, including the breaking of the monopoly of the various giant
operators. It is to the credit of Mr President that he did approve those
recommendations.”

Mohammed
noted that some recommendations would require that the National Assembly amend
the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Act.

The
minister said, “You will notice, in recent weeks, a lot of attacks on the
ministry as a result of these amendments. These amendments have actually struck
at the heart of monopoly. These amendments are, for once, giving back to
Nigerians their own industry.”

Earlier,
Chairman of the committee, Mr Unyime Idem, asked Mohammed and the acting
Director-General of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, to order DStv to suspend its
recent rates’ increment.

Mohammed
immediately ordered  Idachaba to issue the notice.

Idem
had stated that the minister and all stakeholders present should ensure and
commence full implementation of its directives.

The
House committee’s order included “a marching order to the service providers,
particularly Multichoice’s DStv, to reverse the recent June 1, 2020 price hike
and revert to the old price as this is not the best of times to increase the
prices of services, no matter the reasons for such an increase, taking into
consideration the ravaging effect of COVID-19 on the economy of Nigerians.”

It
added, “Come up with a robust strategy to break the monopoly and open up the industry for larger participation. PAYG regime for digital TV broadcasting
in Nigeria, with particular reference to DStv, GOtv, StarTimes and Kwese TV.

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