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StarTimes backs Nigeria’s digital TV drive with infrastructure, pocket-friendly offerings

With Lagos fully transiting from analogue to digital TV, StarTimes Nigeria is leading the drive with technical support as well as improved content offerings on its lowest bouquet.

The pay-TV brand says the digital switchover drive of the federal government is in line with its vision to enable every family afford, access and enjoy the beauty of digital TV.

Speaking after the launch of DSO in Lagos, Alex Jian, CEO, StarTimes Nigeria in a statement said that the pay-TV brand will continue to provide technical support to the actualisation of digital migration nationwide, adding that the brand has gone a step further to not only increase digital TV penetration, but also increase tastier content to delight every home irrespective of income level.

“We are proud to partner with Integrated Television Services Ltd (ITS), one of the signal carriers of DSO. ITS Ltd is currently riding on the existing digital transmission infrastructure of NTA-Star TV (StarTimes Nigeria). With StarTimes Nigeria’s DVB-T2 technology widely spread across the federation, ITS Ltd has a strong footing to fully digitalise the nation. StarTimes Nigeria will continue to be a major driver of digital switchover across the country,” Alex said.

“To bridge the digital-TV gap, StarTimes offers its DTT antenna and decoder at the most affordable rate in the market. Our lowest subscription of N900 monthly, NOVA bouquet, is loaded with 40+ channels offering exciting content like a blockbuster 24-hour Nollywood channel, Wakaati TV; two foreign channels showing Turkish, Korean and Chinese movies/series; two cartoon channels – Jimjam & Pineapple TV; a sports channel showing select matches of Europa League, Emirates FA Cup, Copa del Rey, Bundesliga, Euro 2020, etc; and over 20 local channels, among others.” Alex said.

Also speaking, the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba said the digital switchover being activated in Lagos means that with just a set-top box, residents of Lagos can now enjoy over 30 digital television services.

“It must be stated that the digitisation of broadcasting brings a whole gamut of opportunities for Nigerians. “It is perhaps, without doubt, the fastest and safest way to leapfrog those at the lower rung up the digital divide.

“With this roll-out in Lagos, a projected five million Lagos residents are instantly going to access digital television services not only for broadcasting but with converged opportunities to telecom and other ancillary services,” he said.

How Moreplex TV is demystifying Nigeria’s pay TV market

Nigeria is a ready-made market for brands, products and services with unique value proposition and quality delivery mechanisms to thrive regardless of the market segment the brand chooses to play. Though some market segments are more lucrative than others, it can be safely said that there are very few as lucrative and with immense revenue potential as the pay TV market.

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A 2018 data by global research body Statista, put the Nigerian pay TV market revenue at $732 million, with a forecast improvement of up to $900 million by the end of year 2023. Despite the huge investment and revenue in the market, experts say the economic potential is still hugely untapped. In his analysis of the market at a recent discussion with the media in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of Moreplex TV, John Okorocha, according to a statement said that “approximated number of households in Nigeria is 43 million, and we have about 6.5 million subscribers, this means that only about 15% of the Nigerian households are using any sort of Pay TV compared that to India with 160 million households, and 74 million subscribers which is 44%. With India as a yardstick, you can see that there are still about 13 million households that ought to have Pay TV but have been priced out. The 13 million net subscribers are untapped resources that can easily be made in Nigeria. So, the income generation in that sector is obviously very poor.”

Improving this market revenue requires an in-depth understanding of customers’ cravings and peculiarities. Nigeria is a youth dominated market of sports and entertainment lovers. However, the melting pot for both young and old is the beautiful game called football. It has been observed that the number of active subscribers on pay TV increases across the country when the major European league seasons are on, especially during the business end of the season usually around April and May when Champions are crowned. Hence, players in the pay TV market tend to strategically hinge their selling points on broadcast rights for major European football leagues, especially the English Premiership which commands the most followership in Nigeria and many parts of the globe.

The new amendment to the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, vigorously pushed to fruition by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammad, is out to address some of these market issues. The code among other things, is aimed at breaking monopoly in the market by mandating rights sharing among stations. According to the Moreplex TV boss, the newly promulgated law “makes it impossible for anyone to enslave Nigerians by signing exclusive contracts at exorbitantly high prices, and passing those high prices to Nigerians. This means that our consumers will be enjoying CNN, EPL, and all the other contents that have for long been tied to exclusive and enslaving contracts.”

It is in the light of this, that handlers of the Moreplex TV brand said flexible pricing that will meet the yearnings of Nigerian pay TV audiences has been properly factored into their content offerings. Notably, the brand disclosed that it has made provisions to accommodate the much touted pay per view package for premium contents. “We will provide flexible payment that will make it easy for the consumers to sign on, at prices so low and so flexible that they will continue to subscribe. We basically will be giving control back to where it belongs, which are the subscribers. We are focusing on the economics of numbers to succeed in the Pay TV business. With our platform, there will not be any need for anyone to purchase a decoder and not use it.

“We have any sort of flexibility that you can think of. We have channels grouped into the traditional packages that most people already know. We have daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly pay for the packages. We also have a la carte payment per channel per day. That means that someone can choose to watch a particular channel on any particular day. We also have Pay per view, in terms of premium contents, like brand new cinema movies, live sporting events, which will be at affordable prices,” Okorocha disclosed.

Given the prevalent economic realities in which Nigerians want value for every Naira spent, these Moreplex TV offerings will no doubt sit well with Nigerian pay TV audiences. There are also indications that Moreplex TV has already entered in to action to ensure customers have a taste of the brand’s mouth watering value proposition as regards sport coverage. According to a statement by the company, Top Sports, a free to air sports dedicated channel on Moreplex TV, has secured the broadcast rights to bring top football matches into Nigerian homes starting with Euro 2021 from June 11.

In addition to this, the company disclosed that customers who subscribe to the Moreplex TV will enjoy not less than 33 Laliga matches and South American club football flair with at least 38 Brazilian league matches from the 2021/22 club football season. “Based on the yearnings and hunger for live sports events, especially football by the people of Nigeria and Africa in general, we are happy to present Top Sports TV, a free to air, 100% sports, 24 hours channel Moreplex. All contents are totally free to our viewers. Top Sports will also be joining other platforms as long as they are free to air or free to view. We are reaching out to other quality sport events/tournaments out there to bring to our sport hungry audiences long awaited and overdue excitement in sports, and football in particular,” the statement read.

More interesting is the priority for local content that reflects the Nigerian culture by Moreplex TV. At the height of its offerings, the platform, with footprint in sub Sahara Africa, said it will be beaming Nigeria’s brand of football into several homes on the continent in conjunction with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). As contained in the statement, the company promised Nigerians that ” all local sport events will be broadcasted live on Top Sports TV channel,” adding that it is “working with the NFF to bring local football with world class quality to our viewers. Our consumers will be seeing the Afrocentric group of channels. We are pro African culture and most of our contents will be reflecting that. Our tagline is “For us, by us”.

With competition heating up and breeding flexibility in value propositions, it is expected that the Nigerian pay TV market will experience further unbundling to the benefit of the Nigerian audience and economy in general.

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