Its been a busy couple of weeks for Multichoice Nigeria, which is a subsidiary of South African based Multichoice Africa; owners of DSTV and GoTV, as the anger of Nigerian citizens seem to have reached a peak, setting in motion some changes that will hopefully continue and assuage the anger of the general public against the company.
The Nigerian Senate has said that it will investigate the multinational over unwholesome practices and unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquet offerings which has led to growing public discontent and subsequent petitions. The Senate had asked the Committees on Information and Trade and Investment to investigate the matter and organize a public hearing for all stake holders which should include civil societies. The Consumer Protection Council has on its own side come out with a couple of policy changes for DSTV to comply with or risk facing platforms.
Some of the policy changes that CPC requires DSTV to implement include;
- Suspension of services when consumers are away
- Releasing free-to-air channels when subscriptions expire
- Compensate viewers for lost viewing time, such as delays in restoring channels after payment has been made
- Introduce local toll-free lines
- Institute reasonable equitable spread of popular sport channels among all bouquet options
It has also insisted that the company, within 90 days provide compensation to all subscribers, considering the loss of legitimate and paid for viewing time in the past due to DSTV’s misconduct. The CPC said that; “The company was directed to, within 180 days, adopt a technology that supports suspension of service when subscribers are unable to enjoy their service on account of being away for a limited period of time,” Such requests for suspension of service according to the body could only be done between seven to fourteen days and never more than twice a year with a 72 hour notice given to DSTV.
The Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe replying to the ordered changes said that the cable TV company valued the order and would do all within powers to comply. He specifically said; “The business and management value the input it has received from the CPC to improve the DStv customer experience. We would, especially like to thank the DG and the CPC investigating team for the professional manner in which they conducted the investigation and for their willingness and availability to meet with us to engage on the issues”.
It seems that Multichoice is indeed interested in making changes as from Wednesday the 24th to slash the price of. It also will add value to already existing bouquet on their platforms by including additional channels. On that note, the Explora dish kit with 1 month Compact subscription initially sold at N71,000 has been reduced by more than 50% to N30,000, while the DStv Zapper decoder dish kit plus 1 month Compact subscription will be sold at N12,500 as against the previous price of N18,500. They will also be launching two additional SuperSport channels; SuperSport 11 (DStv channel 231) and SuperSport 12 (DStv channel 232), which will be dedicated to showcasing the EPL and La Liga respectively on the DStv Compact bouquet.
The atmosphere in the country is still very watchful however and this may not be one of those times when a surface solution will work to calm the public as Nigerians are well and truly tired of the apparent high-handedness of DSTV.