Why Nigerian pay-TV service providers offer less value compared to DStv

Gone are the days when Nigerians were restricted to watching only the television channels their antennas could pick, or if opportune, some movies rented from video clubs.

Why Nigerian  pay-TV service providers offer less value compared to DStv

The emergence of Pay TV services (or cable TV as some know it) has greatly reduced the stress of turning antennas at intervals to get a clearer picture or signal or installing longer poles on roofs, just for the antennas to have stronger signals.

Pay-TV services provide better entertainment as people now have access to a wider variety of local and international channels and content. However, the number of channels and content you have access to depends on your purchasing power, as content varies from package to package.

As of January 2021, 39.1% of Nigerians lived below the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day, while 40.1% of Nigerians lived below Nigeria’s national poverty line. Pay TV being a non-essential item , it therefore makes sense for service providers to make their packages as cheap as possible so that a larger number of Nigerians can have access to these services at a reduced cost.

For a long time, DStv was viewed as an elite Pay TV service, and many people were very excited when the likes of MyTV, StarTimes, and more recently TSTV came into the market.

My parents got a StarTimes Decoder around 2012, without even bothering to know more about it. As of then, we were living in Mowe, Ogun State. We installed the decoder and started enjoying the services. However, our joy was short-lived as we began to experience signal issues. We could be watching a channel, and it would start to crack as if one was watching a movie from a damaged/overplayed CD. This continued for a long time.

After many complaints to the vendor, we were told it was because we were living in Ogun State and StarTimes could only work in Lagos. We were then advised to tilt the antenna to face Lagos; maybe it would pick a stronger signal and increase the pole we hung the antenna on. Just like that, we were back to the medieval times of titling antennas and raising poles.

It got frustrating, and my Dad stopped paying the monthly subscription. However, it was justifiable because of all the channels on the package; we only watched 2 ― Orisun and one other movie channel where they mostly showed Ghanaian movies.

It was the same story for other people living in other locations. So, it wasn’t just us.

Then came Daarsat, MyTV, and the rest. We tried all and had similar issues. It was like Mowe was isolated from the rest of the world. Was it a crime not to reside in Lagos?

Fast forward to 2016; we purchased a GOtv decoder. We all had our doubts, but it was a whole lot of difference from the other decoders we got. We were paying only N1,900 monthly for subscription, and it was fair. Signal strength, the picture quality was almost perfect. And then, one would wonder, is it not the same Mowe?

The same year (2016), I got student accommodation around the University of Lagos and decided to carry our StarTimes decoder along. Between Mowe, Ogun State, and Yaba, Lagos, I can only say the difference was marginal.

In December 2018, after much talk, we were able to convince my Dad to get a DStv decoder. At that time, there was a Christmas price slash, so it was a good deal. The agreement was that he would purchase the decoder, and we (the children) would pay the subscription.

We purchased the decoder and transferred the GOtv decoder to my grandmother in Egbeda, Lagos. The DStv was installed and we subscribed to the Compact package and have been enjoying it ever since. The only time we get signal issues is when it rains. It is one of the few reasons we still miss our GOtv decoder to date, as the weather never affects the GOtv signal.

Now, one would argue that DStv packages are more expensive than the others, StarTimes subscription costs between N900 and N4,200 monthly, TSTV costs about N3,000 monthly, and DStv costs between N1,850 and N18,400. But DStv remains the most popular and most sought-after Pay TV in the country as it has the highest number of high quality channels and original content, which only they have exclusive rights to.

Would you rather pay more and enjoy more services that give value for money or pay less for services of lesser value? Cost or value? Which is more important?

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