Effective May 1, millions of Digital Satellite Television (DStv) subscribers in the country would pay more as the owners, Multichoice, effects a price increase across all packages.
The PayTv giant yesterday sent out text messages informing its teeming subscribers to expect price hike in 30 days time. A specific message to Premium bouquet customers reads: “Dear DStv customer, due to a price adjustment, your premium package fee has changed from N13, 980 to N14, 700 effective May 1, 2017.”
The price hike is coming at a time most Nigerians are struggling to stay afloat considering the economic recession characterised by very high inflation rate the country is currently experiencing. Outrage has however greeted this latest development.
With the hike certain, the possibility of more subscribers dropping the service appears to be high going by the lamentations of subscribers, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday.
Investigations showed that the South African PayTV firm has about 10.4 million subscribers in 50 African states, with Nigeria home to about four million of them as at 2016.
In a statement made available to the magazine and signed by its Public Relations Manager, Caroline Oghuma, with the title: “DStv Price Changes”, MultiChoice defended that the price adjustment for all packages was made after careful consideration of the market and review of its business operations.
MultiChoice, yesterday, announced that it would effect a price adjustment of five per cent on all its DStv and GOtv packages from May 1, 2017.
As a result, subscribers on the DStv premium bouquet will pay N14,700 as against N13,980 currently being charged. While GOtv Plus subscribers will have to pay N1,900 instead of the current rate of N1,800.
According to the company, the increment in subscription rates will also affect other bouquets, as Compact Plus DStv subscribers will pay N9,900 instead of the current N9,420, while Compact subscribers will no longer pay N6,000 but N6,300.
It said that the new rate for the Family bouquet would be N3,800 against the running rate of N3,600, while that of the Access bouquet would be N1,900 and not N1,800.
The current rate for the Commercial bouquet is N1,720, but with the adjustment in rates, subscribers will have to cough out N1,850 monthly.
The pay TV platform, however said the access fee of N2,160 on the High-Definition decoders and extra view remained the same.
A text message sent out by DStv to some of its Premium subscribers read, “Dear DStv customer, due to a price adjustment, your Premium package fee changed from N13,980 to N14,700, effective May 1, 2017.”
For, GOtv Value and GOtv Lite bouquets, the new rates are N1,300 and N450, against the current rates of N1,200 and N400, respectively.
The Managing Director, MultiChoice, John Ugbe, told our correspondent that the decision was taken after careful consideration of the market and review of its business operations.
Ugbe said, “We announced last year that we would do everything possible to hold the price barring any extreme factors. However, all our content is purchased in dollars and although we have done everything possible to hold the prices even with the prices of everything else going up, we are now left with no choice but to adjust our subscription prices from May 1.
“Our key priority is to put subscribers’ needs at the heart of everything we do and, therefore, in determining the price adjustment, we took into account many factors, including the impact on the customer; current inflation, which stands at 19 per cent; programming costs; and efficiencies within the company.”
Ugbe said that MultiChoice had worked hard to keep the fees manageable.
“The DStv Premium, DStv Compact+, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access packages will continue to be available at varying pricing points to allow subscribers flexibility in price and choice without compromising quality or variety. We thank our customers for their support during the past year,” he added.
Subscribers, who spoke with the magazine, lamented the development. A subscriber, Bridget Ifoga said while most Nigerians suffered in silence, foreign companies like Multichoice ripped them off their hard earned money.
Ifoga wants subscribers to fight for their rights using legal means by questioning the decisions of the firm. “At a time the economy is bleeding, when most people cannot get three meals per day, they are increasing their fees. I think we should jettison their services. We shall look for a better competitor, which is more reasonable.”
To an Abuja based customer, Fidelis Duru, “the company has passion for fleecing Nigerians without value for their money. Despite the current economic recession, several Nigerians still renew their subscription and the reward they could get from Multichoice is to increase subscriptions again.”
The development came after Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc, on April 1st, announced the third increase in prices of its products in less than four months.Despite accounting for the fourth largest sales of soft drinks globally, consumers of NBC confectionaries have bemoaned the incessant increase in the prices of the products for the third consecutive time.
Although, stakeholders in the industry noted that the rise in the price of the commodities may not be unconnected with the rise in the price of sugar in the United States, the hub of production of Coca-Cola.
Similarly, there are concerns about the pace of implementation of the Nigeria’s sugar master plan under the backward integration programme for the industry, as there is still heavy reliance on importation of raw sugar for local refining.
Aggrieved consumers who spoke with our correspondent described the move by NBC as an unjustified means of extorting the Nigerian market, which has demonstrated its loyalty to the brand over the years