What Will Really Happen if DStv Exit the Nigerian Market?

David Afolayan
What Will Really Happen if DStv Exits the Nigerian Market?

Since it launched in Nigeria in 1993, I am very sure that MultiChoice Nigeria (owner of DSTv) has not experienced such barrage as it is experiencing now.  The assault on the company doubled when many subscribers had to pay increased fees for premium services.

The attacks range from the call for price adjustment to calls for Pay-as-You-Use service and an outright closing of shop:

In this piece, I have tried to take us into the future where the desires of the folks who want DSTv out of the country comes to pass. And I have identified a couple of things we will have to contend with when we get there.

Jobs, jobs, jobs…

Perhaps it is unfair to have started on this note, but many folks will lose their jobs when Multichoice’s DStv exits the space. That is the first reality we will have to contend with.

Presently, DStv has more than 1000 staff members (started operating with only 30 employees) while indirectly supporting a thousand more jobs. There are a lot of perspectives to consider this from: full-time employees, customer service agents in outlets nationwide, sales agents, installers, ‘sabimen’ (engineers) and thousands of retailers.

While we might argue that these individuals will find some other sources of income (perhaps from the next giant platform), the truth is that the options are not readily available. So, we are safe to welcome many loved ones back into the labour market.

What options do we have?

The big winner if we lose DSTv will be Startimes (a Chinese multinational media company). So, sorry if we were xenophobic with DSTv.

But, on a serious note, what options do we really have? The big question will be: will the smaller players be able to bear the large influx? As it stands, TStv, ACtv, and KWESE are down and maybe totally out.


If we argue that, perhaps, the terrestrial stations will scale up to the challenge, there is no nicer way to say that they simply cannot! They cannot offer the content options that a platform like DSTv offers (even in a city like Lagos). Then, the nationwide coverage of the big players like Channelstv is predicated on the spread of Satellite TV.

Until the competent successor takes over, most part of the country will be blacked-out because “viewable” local stations cannot profitably cover the entire nation themselves.

I must add that there are other options like the “Trend” in the Southeast of the country, the SES platform and private satellite dishes. These are either cost-intensive or even reliant on DSTv for success.

So, what options do we really have?

Streaming is the next big thing…

And, we have options to choose from too.

But, I am sure even the richest of us will spend a fortune feeding the family’s viewing appetite. For individuals, yes, but when we factor in the kids, other family members and visitors, we are really going to spend a lot. And, forget what the ads are saying, services can be frustrating, over here.

I know you won’t want to start jubilation minutes after a goal has been scored everywhere else around the world!

I strongly believe that at some point in our existence, the streaming platforms will own the market, for real. I just think we are not there yet.

What we will miss…

Putting together the fears I have listed above, it is safe to say that we have to considerably water down some aspects of our viewing appetites or be ready to miss them totally. These include Supersports, African Magic, Ebonylife, ROK and so many others that are only available on DStv.

We can afford to catch some like CNN, Aljazeera, Channels on other platforms though but we will surely lose contents that are exclusively DSTv’s: BBNaija, Jara, Shuga, AMVCA etc. How about a host of others that are hosted on DStv channels only?

In sum

While I would not justify DSTv’s pricing or business model, I can say that we are getting what we deserve. Owning a media platform is cost intensive anywhere. Owning a media platform in Nigeria doubles the cost of investment and reduces the odds of survival at the same time.

The consumers will continue to bear the cost of this reality if nothing changes about our operating environment.

Moreso, thriving economies enjoy the best services because of competing quality service providers. We cannot compel DSTv to serve us well if they do not have a compelling reason (mostly self-preservation) to do so. Someone said that the best way to show that a stick is crooked is by placing a straight one beside it.

Either by community effort, government backing or individual drive, we must have media platforms by Nigerians that will show us what we want from other service providers, similar to the way Glo demonstrated the per second billing.

After all, we cannot eat our cake, have it and keep it in the fridge!

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