Since it started its proposed launch campaign that it will operate a pay as you go payTV services, TStv has generated a lot of interests, admiration and excitement in Nigeria.
The pay as you go as the real deal
While many would-be subscribers have expressed various reasons they might try out TStv on its October launch, the pay as you go proposition of the company has come out to be the most significant of all its promises.
TStv is promising its prospective subscribers that it will be offering a pay as you go model where subscribers will only pay for what they choose to watch. This is a big deal to average payTV subscribers in Nigeria due to Nigeria’s epileptic power supply and busy/stressful lifestyle of many people in cities such as Lagos where an average person spends close to five hours of their 24 hours in traffic every working day.
The company’s decoder (set-top box) will also offer data with WiFi capabilities for subscribers to make video calls and Internet access at home. With a maximum of NGN3,000 per month, subscribers will have 20 gigabytes of data credits. There are no detailed information if they will pay something extra for these ‘perks’
With pay as you go, many Nigerians might show DSTV, StarTimes and even GoTV red cards should TStv’s pay as you go promise comes to pass.
However, there is a caveat. Pay as you go model often has its own peculiarity. As known with mobile telecom service, pay as you go differs for data subscriptions and voice credits.
As known with mobile data services, subscribers pay a certain amount for a specific bandwidth sold in megabytes and gigabytes only usable for a limited period of time, mostly 30 days. As for voice credits bought through prepaid cards, online and mobile vouchers, subscribers can have access to the credits for as long as they wish (close to three to five years).
It should not also be confused with pay-per-view, PPV. It is a model where people pay to watch a specific programme. This has been commonly used for boxing matches, WWE (entertainment wrestling) and other premium live events.
However, it is possible TStv would have PPV channels on its platform for premium shows and content owners in the movie industry as this would further boost its profile.
So as not to get it twisted with mobile pay as you go, TStv and even in general, pay as you go with payTV is not too similar with mobile carriers’ pay as you go models.
TStv has not relayed the nitty-gritty of its pay as you go model. There are grey areas and other terms and conditions that would guide this sort of service.
First is that, does ‘pay as you go’ mean: a subscriber is charged for seconds or minutes or hours of watching a particular channel? So if it follows this logic, people are charged based on what they watch and not a fixed subscription attached to a bouquet for a month as in the case of DSTV, StarTimes and others.
Perhaps channels would have a rate per seconds or minutes and subscribers can choose which stations they want to watch and depending on the duration of watching that particular channel, the subscriber’s wallet is charged?
TStv’s approach might be similar to Kwese TV, a new payTV company, that described its own model as “‘pay-as-you-watch’ payment option, which offers flexibility and convenience. Viewers can purchase three or seven-day passes to its full programming bouquet so they get access to trending sports and entertainment programming at an affordable price’. Kwese’s approach will in itself have terms and conditions.
If this approach plays out, subscribers will find it very convenient as they will only watch or choose stations they want to watch and how much they are ready to pay per hour of watching each channel.
Terms and Conditions Apply
More importantly, there are various fine-prints that an average subscriber of this type of service must pay attention to. What you end up paying at the end of the day might go higher than expected, for instance, AT&T in America started selling its pay as you go model for USD39 per month. As noted by Time.com, the USD39 per month would only stay ‘for your first year on the service. After that, the plan’s price is likely to skyrocket, making this package a bit of a bait-and-switch’.
To buttress why TStv might need to tweak its pricing strategies vis-a-vis its pay-as-you-go model, PageOne.ng had in an earlier article noted that the sustainability of this model has its challenges given the special condition the company will operate under in Nigeria.
In less than seven days, the reality of TStv will unfold and Nigerian payTV subscribers will then judge if the company is matching its promises with the delivery of a pay as you go payTV services.