• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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DSTV raises subscription tariff in Nigeria


DSTV, the South African cable television company, began to send quiet notifications to millions of its Nigerian customers on Thursday, alerting them of a plan to raise their monthly tariff from next month.
The notice followed earlier report this week that Naspers, owners of DSTV and Africa’s largest company by market value, plans to use new products and services to attract more customers to its $58-a-month television offering in Nigeria as a weaker naira increases costs.
The media company paid for some content in US dollars and was therefore vulnerable to exchange rate volatility, John Ugbe, CEO of Multichoice/DSTV Nigeria, said in an interview with Bloomberg last week in Lagos, the commercial capital.
Naspers broadcasts English Premier League soccer and international dramas in Africa through its MultiChoice unit.
Ugbe said the Cape Town-based Naspers was in talks with telecommunication companies about increasing its mobile-television offering in Africa’s biggest economy. “A lot of the content cost is dollar based” and there was a need to increase sales.
“It is for us to continue to make the product better, more affordable and continue to offer options to our subscribers.”
The naira has weakened about 18% against the dollar in the past six months, the worst performer among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg, as oil, which makes up almost all of Nigeria’s exports, plunged. The country is one of Naspers’ three regional TV production hubs on the continent alongside SA and Kenya.
“We have so many eyes on DSTV,” Ugbe said, referring to viewers of the MultiChoice/DSTV offering, which costs from N1,500 ($7.42) to N11,650 per month depending on the package. He declined to give subscriber numbers, citing a company policy not to break down figures for individual countries.
“The economy is going through a bit of a bleak” period, he said. That “makes business tough, but we’ve been here for 22 years so have been known to survive it”.”
Naspers had more than 8.4-million pay-TV subscribers as of September 30, the Cape Town-based company said in November. The TV unit had sales of R36.3bn in the year through March 2014, an increase of 20%.
Multichoice plans to broadcast its Africa Magic channel, which shows soap operas, movies and documentaries made on the continent, in the local Nigerian Igbo language later this year. That will extend its reach to a third ethnic group in the country after the start of offerings in Hausa and Yoruba.