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Senate orders investigation into outrageous tariff hikes by Pay-TV operators 

Senate orders investigation into outrageous tariff hikes by Pay-TV operators 


OrderPaperToday – The Nigerian Senate has ordered a full-scale investigation into what it described as an outrageous hike in tariffs by Pay-TV operators in the country.

This formed part of the resolutions reached by the upper chamber when it considered a motion by Abba Patrick Moro (PDP, Benue South), during plenary on Wednesday. 

The motion was titled ‘Nigerians Dumbfounded, Outraged Over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes, Demand for Pay-Per-View Subscription model.’

READ ALSO: PAY-PER-VIEW: Reps shifts focus to NBC bill, mute on DSTV probe

While making the case for a Pay-Per-View subscription, Senator Moro noted with great concern, the uproar within the public over tariff hikes, price increases by Pay-TV service providers on their bouquets; 

“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 up from N6, 975 commencing from September 1, 2020; while the subscription fee for DStv Compact Plus was increased by 9.8% from N10, 925 to N12,000, and DStv Premium was increased from N16, 200 to N18, 400 indicating a 13.6% hike; 

MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates; 

READ ALSO: Disquiet as DStv, Reps disagree over pay-per-view broadcasting

“Notes further that as usual, without recourse to the economic situation of the country MultiChoice has again raised the cost of its DStv and GOtv bundles stating them as follows, DStv Premium (N21,000), Compact Plus (N14,250), Compact (N9, 000), Confam (N5, 300), Yanga (N2, 950), Padi (N2, 150), Business(N2, 669), Xtraviewt+ PVR access fee (N2, 900).

Those of GOtv are as follows; GOtv Max (N4,150), GOtv Jolli (N2, 669), GOtv Jinja (N1, 900), GOtv Lite (N900); 

Thousands of Pay-TV subscribers in Nigeria have bitterly reacted to this development on different social media platforms, ranging from deep shock to pure outrage, with many asking the Nigerian government to checkmate the activities of Pay-TV service providers in Nigeria, especially in the area of fixing prices; 

Aware also that Pay-TV services are subscription-based television services, usually provided by both analog and digital cable and satellite televisions,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Senate demands details of earnings, expenditure from NTA

The Benue lawmaker recalled that in Nigeria, entertainment was only about tuning in and watching any terrestrial channel one could reach, adding that the launch of a Pay-TV service provider in 1996 began a gradual change of the narrative.

He further recalled that in the 2000s, other Pay-TV options found their way into the country; breaking the monopoly of the only existing one in the late 1990s. 

“Among the bitter complaints of Nigerian subscribers of Pay-TV services is the poor network service experienced as a result of bad weather/epileptic electricity supply, which sometimes makes a whole month subscription wasteful without the subscriber watching anything before the expiration.

Nigerians are demanding that, rather than paying fixed rates for packages monthly, Pay-TV service providers should introduce a subscription model which allows subscribers pay-per-view to enable them to match their TV consumption to subscription as is the case with electricity metering and mobile telephony; 

The Pay-Per-View Nigerians are asking for does not have the same meaning as that which applies to a one-off broadcast of high stakes games, such as football, boxing and wrestling matches; rather the pay-per-view that Nigerian subscribers are demanding for, is a flexible model plan of subscription which allows subscribers of pay-tv to pay-per watch, to avoid paying for services which they do not consume.”

READ ALSO: Group petitions NASS, threatens to “disrupt” MTN, DSTV, others over poor services

In supporting the motion, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central) stated that it is high time the Senate stands up firmly and confronts Pay-TV companies in order to protect the interest of Nigerians.

He urged the Federal Government to place a luxury charge on the companies as it could be a source of income for the country, adding that their tariff be reviewed downward.

Senator Yusuf also urged his colleagues to look at the motion favourably in order to protect the citizens from the MultiChoice activities in Nigeria.

He further proposed a full-scale investigation into the matter which was adopted by the red chamber.

READ ALSO: Broadcasting Commission defends raise in DSTv subscription

On his part, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North) noted that the Nigerians are being shortchanged by the Pay-TV operators in this country. There are no regulations at all. They increase their fees any time and anyhow they like. Their services are poor and Nigerians do not deserve that.

He also stated that the issue of epileptic nature of electricity, the citizens hardly enjoy the services that they pay for, adding that an outrageous increase in monthly subscriptions is not in the interest of Nigerians and a system whereby there is a pay-per-view subscription, would address the challenge.

The Senate, accordingly, urged the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission to direct all Pay-TV providers to introduce a pay-per-view model of subscription as against the month-to-month prepaid model presently in place.

It also directed all Pay-TV service providers in Nigeria to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards in tandem with the prevailing reality of the economic situation in the country.

Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James
Ojochenemi Onje-James is a research writer and journalist with years of proven footprints in areas of crime and politics. She has M.Sc in International Relations and Strategic Studies; and B.Sc in Mass Communication.
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