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BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

The revolution of Pay TV business in Nigeria

In 2014, a report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors showed that 64 percent of Nigerians got their weekly news content from television sets. It also showed that there were TV sets in at least 74.6% of Nigerian households.

During the 20th and early 21st centuries, television built a strong reputation for itself as one of the most important media tools given its potential for producing image and sound. It possessed expressive powers that made storytelling more captivating, providing viewers with different realities and perspectives worldwide. Over time, the concept of television has continued to evolve, along with its content format, access, and impact.

A critical aspect of TV’s evolution remains the 1962 test broadcast from Europe to North America. It was the first public satellite television signal, and three years after it, the world’s first commercial communications satellite was launched. Since then, elements such as satellite TV and digital television have become a prominent part of television viewers’ daily activities.

According to Statista, as of December 2019, Africa had over 28.4 million active Pay-TV subscribers, with Nigerians alone representing about 18.5 percent of this subscriber number. By 2025, it is expected that Africa’s total subscriber number will grow to 41.79 million, showing adoption of the changes that now exist.

In 1993, MultiChoice, Africa’s leading entertainment company, launched a digital service provider – DStv, in Nigeria, becoming Nigeria’s pioneer pay-TV service provider. In the nearly 30 years of its existence, it has committed to providing high-quality pay television service and has since grown to become a household name and the first choice in the country, bringing entertainment and information to over 6 million subscribers.

Read Also: Multichoice Nigeria slashes price of DStv, GOtv Decoders in special promo

With content that cuts across demography, market segments, and cultures, DStv’s dominance has been a case study for businesses given the huge contributions to the nation’s economy while growing its bottom line. So what makes it unique?

DStv has maintained its relevance in Nigeria and Africa at large through a commitment to improving user experience, promoting local content, and creating social value. It operates in a rapidly evolving industry, and most lazy answers to its dominance revolve around it being a solo player for many years, but that holds no water.

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When DStv came into Nigeria’s broadcast media game, it changed it. Nigerians went from a regimented TV schedule made up of old movies after the late-night news, poorly covered football matches, repetitive Saturday morning cartoon shows, and old Latin American soaps to being able to view events from across the whole world from the comfort of their homes and currently their mobile devices. Unlike before, Nigerians now have nearly a thousand channels to pick from, all of them covering different issues.

In a bid to ensure a great all-round experience for Nigerians using their products and services, DStv’s parent company, MultiChoice, invested and continues to invest heavily in providing KU-Band transmission service to allow national free-to-air channels to be broadcast on the DStv satellite to users with little or no cost to the channel providers.

Read Also: Question of affordability in Nigeria’s Pay-TV market

The company’s products have, over the years, continued to advance with improved technology to suit the needs of the consumers. Its decoders and service packages are always well structured to correspond to Nigerians’ reality, who largely fall into different market segments, a move that sees that its core market audiences rarely left behind. With internet penetration growing and smartphone usage increasing, DStv mobile and the DStv App became a masterstroke that allowed more users to consume content on the go.

Content consumption in Nigeria is majorly driven by taste and the need for relevant information, entertainment, and education. In the almost three decades that DStv has served the Nigerian market, it hasn’t failed to check every one of those boxes.

Years after their first home decoder was installed, DStv has constantly grown the number of channels it offers to users, often providing a blend across channels to see that the content is time-worthy content whether it is an international channel, intercontinental or local channel. This has given more Africans the chance to bring their content on the platform, thus getting growth on the platform while supporting growth on the platform – made in Africa by Africans.

This content game has shown DStv’s interest and commitment to changing narratives and stereotypes and showcasing local content’s versatility. Since its inception, it has been a champion of showcasing African entertainment programs across several of its packages. The introduction of the Africa Magic channels that show Nollywood content in different local languages celebrates the Nigerian culture’s uniqueness and dynamism by taking one of its most significant cultural exports and putting it where the world can now see it. The entertainment industry in Nigeria has no doubt benefited from this move and every other channel on the DStv platform that has helped put every new story, song, and film in the face of more people.

Beyond the Pay TV platform itself, DStv has played the game of using its early influence to gain more influence. Given its experience, it has quickly become a stamp of approval of entertainment prowess and has used this across several platforms to boost indigenous artists, entrepreneurs, actors, producers, and other creatives. The African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) is one out of several platforms that it uses to encourage, celebrate and empower creatives and showcase them to the world at large.

In all that DStv has done, it has not been forgotten that people don’t just buy or pay for brands, they invest in relationships. This singular reason is why DStv and its parent company’s larger goal remains enriching lives, a mission that is seen in how it invests in the lives of upcoming talents from the Multichoice Talent Factory, produces an Africa Magic series, Tinsel, which currently has over 3000 episodes and employs about 1200 staff and crew, and in how it makes the Nigerian dream of ‘blowing’ come through for young everyday Nigerians through the Big Brother Naija reality TV show. To the average eye, it would simply seem that they are once again creating in-demand content, and while that holds true, it is less about it and more about being a company of value.

As it is often said, getting to the top is easier; staying there is where the real work is. DStv has been around long enough to understand the Nigerian market deeply and speak its language. It is currently offering price slashes to its subscribers due to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, and nothing says to a user ‘this is more than business, we care about you,’ then making moves that lessen their burden. For most Nigerians, a DStv subscription is more than payment for entertainment access, and it is a commitment to a relationship forged in love and brotherhood.

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