By Okoh Aihe
A wave of optimism came to us last week when, in a very sad and almost sad independent anniversary moment, a novice direct-to-home (DTH) service provider suddenly informed us that it was ready to offer a channel on N2 – N5 for day. on a platform that is still being tested.
Good news, strong enough to bring smiles to the faces of some people my age who bear the weight of opportunities mismanaged by successive governments whose greatest achievement is the melody of well-packaged lies presented as hopes for a future to be fades; a people who give anything to join the class of the select few who can subscribe to satellite television channels.
A bit of unbridled euphoria in the air. He captured it this way: Nigerians must pay N5 per channel as TSTV relaunches services. technext.ng stated: TSTV Returns, to stream EFL free games ahead of the relaunch.
For Nairametrics, it is: TSTV Africa relaunches on Independence Day, exactly three years after a failed start. They were very effusive in reporting this good news, but they did not fail to professionally observe that TSTV appeared in 2017 and collapsed almost immediately.
Another observation. TSTV launched its services on October 1, 2017 and has done so again this year at the time of the resurrection. Without looking at faces, this writer is tempted to risk the patriotism of promoters who want to show their patriotism by pushing forward-thinking business ideas in October. Such an effort is greatly appreciated and one would only pray that it is accompanied by earnings to demonstrate patriotic investment.
While putting my patriotism within the limits of responsibility, I asked a few questions about the first arrival of TSTV before the regulator put a sandbag on me. My source told me that most of the promoters’ claims in 2017 were like steam that quickly evaporated as reality approached.
One source explained that this type of business involves a network of relationships including: channel owners, programmers, content developers, satellite transponder owners, and many other people.
The regulator I assembled was not convinced that the promoters had done their homework well enough not to tarnish the country’s name, and decided to act by taking down the station.
Today, such an action would be largely unpatriotic for many reasons. The government is looking for industry heroes who can literally wave the magic wand and bring our economy to high performance.
So much buzz has been built that people want to be on the platform regardless of the depth of programming available. Subscribers want to respond to theirs with patriotic fervor, a development that does not go unnoticed by the regulator.
One of the main reasons in this regard is the prevailing situation in the market, where subscribers cry badly for the high subscription rates, to the extent that the National Assembly had to intervene, to make direct interventions in the way it should follow the market. Two other operators, Multichoice and Star-Times, have been told to put their rate hike on hold until all lingering issues are resolved.
There is also another interesting development. Multichoice is being pressured to introduce the pay-as-you-go system on its payment platform. The operator has said that this is not possible at the moment.
Or if it were ever possible, it would mean that you have to invest so much to scrap the current platform and replace it with something that is not tested. In a subtle dig as reported by the Daily Trust, TSTV’s star promoter, Dr. Bright Echefu presented that
“While we were off the radar, we studied the business and created a model to spark the desire of all Nigerians. We have created the pay-as-you-see model where Nigerians will pay only for the channels they want to watch. “
“Nigerians will be able to choose their branch for themselves, choosing only those channels they want to watch and pay with a minimum amount per day, 108 channels are available on our platform and more than 80 of them are High Definition (HD),” Echefu got excited.
Very interesting and encouraging. At this point, it may be pertinent to recall the story of The Sick Lion and the Fox, a folk tale with global resemblance, but I take Aesop’s version. The story goes that the lion was so sick that he did not come out for so many days.
He had to get his food in his lair. One day the fox (some say the tortoise) passed by and refused to enter regardless of the lion’s pleas. “I would be happy to do what you ask of me”
He said, “but I have noticed that there are many tracks leading to your cave and none of them come out. Please tell me, how do your visitors find their way out again?
The broadcasting industry was deregulated in 1992. Other than the early successes of ABG and DISC Engineering, there has been little success that can be attributed to local players.
MNET came first, followed by its parent company, Multichoice, which got into the market quite easily due to its unique programming and branding location. As it was in the beginning, so it is now. Not many people have been thrilled with the cost and this sometimes tends to overdo it. With all the vicissitudes, Multichoice is still the dominant player.
By cutting back on Multichoice and introducing some nativity, HiTv got into the pay TV business a few years ago and really built a huge following. Promoted by a very bright young lawyer, HiTv told the right stories that made even the government tacitly encourage the business and there was enough applause to push for the acquisition of the EPL rights. That’s when it happened.
Some said the cost of the EPL rights was far beyond what any Nigerian bank could continue to support. Beyond this superficial reason, I am tempted to add that the complexity of pay TV programming can be a challenge for anyone entering the business. It was only a matter of time before the ground collapsed under its supporting pillars. And we lost that seed of promise.
Not long ago, Kwese TV landed on our shores. Touted as an alternative to mainstream competition, the Kwese bouquet came with 65 channels, including CNN International, DreamWorks, DTX, ESPN, and a few other local television channels.
Again the excitement soared and then all expectations deflated. I’m sure even the regulator will find it difficult to explain what happened to that business.
Actually, it is not the responsibility of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to explain what happened to private companies in the broadcasting industry. Their main concern is creating competition in the sector and ensuring that all stakeholders, including the government, follow the rule.
I will want to put my head on the chopping stone here to confess that in previous years the regulator has tried to create competition in the DTH sector without much success. Licenses have been issued but not activated due to lack of support.
Many people are more interested in financing politics because that is where the real money is; Politics in our part of the world is a high risk business and generates the highest cash returns.
No. Not many people, not even banks, are prepared to back DTH operations due to the complex nature that leads to brain commitment to question and causes investors to wait years before returns start to arrive. Ours is a cash market.
This is not to discourage TSTV. The promoters count on my support. My little advice is for the operator to examine the failure of his debut efforts and make amends. I’ll also want to encourage NBC to look closely at TSTV submissions to ensure that the regulator isn’t helping people put hope in the wind.
With all our patriotism, we must be objective and do things that work and not tell stories “full of noise and fury that mean nothing.” Apologies to William Shakespeare.
My final observation is that some of the operators entering the DTH business have one thing in mind: fighting the competition. This is a difficult thing to do. Only the regulator has the power to change the color of the competition in any industry.
Finally, I want to warn TSTV that in a sparkling enthusiasm to offer service, the eyes must focus on the appropriate brand of your business to choose a location or position in the market. Will the TSTV brand be central or distinctive, conventional or peripheral, or even aspirational?
Or is it the business philosophy to provoke high-paced thrills against the competition only to discover in the heat of battle that the competition is out of reach? Oh, you don’t take Coke or Range Rover out of the market overnight!
It is my quirky little indulgence to claim that no magic wand can solve complications in the DTH sector overnight. The market yearns for real competition, free from suspicion and ownership mentality, where all brands will fight for a well-deserved foothold.