Dawdling Economy: DSTV ‘JailBroke’ Self With ‘Open Week’


Desperate times deserve desperate measures. DSTV, Nigeria’s leading payTV company is adjusting itself to the present economic realities in Nigeria.

The company just announced it is doing ‘open week’. By ‘open’ the payTV company would give unrestricted access to all its active subscribers irrespective of their bouquet. Looking like an effort of last resort, DSTV seeks to give active but smaller bouquet subscribers a taste of  what they are missing from premium bouquet. Ultimately, it is to wake its laid back offline customers who have abandoned their black boxes.

During the booming period, DSTV often run promotions to bring in new subscribers to its platform. This time around, the economy is in coma. Many subscribers are not renewing their subscriptions as at when due. The company is using this approach to reduce huge churn.

bob van jik naspers
Bob van Dijk, CEO Naspers, DSTV’s Parent Company. Source: quotenet.nl

Less than two months ago, DSTV reduced its subscription rate for the Compact bouquet to increase subscribers on a very important bouquet that screens the English Premier League. Perhaps the new pricing strategy is not getting the required traction. The company has also been forced by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to allow its subscribers have access to all free to air channels on its decoder even if their subscription elapses. The company has since complied. Many free to air channels that were not on its platform are now sitting comfortably in all its bouquet, negating DSTV’s long time ‘premium channels/content’ positioning.

dstv open week
Source: @DSTVng

It is also expedient for the company to take such measures as sponsorship deals it does with major advertisers and agencies have nearly dried up in the face of Nigeria’s economic challenges.

To get a major part of the low-end market, DSTV launched GOTV in 2011 to fight its mass market rival, StarTimes. The payTV market has now welcomed CONSAT, another low-mid player. DSTV does not disclose data about its subscriber base, not even to its media and advertising partners, knowing how its customers are either increasing or otherwise is difficult.

However, unofficial data puts its African wide customer base at 8 million. South Africa has about 60% of this figure. Nigeria commands close 30% while other African countries represent smaller portion of its business. With 37.3 million stimated household with TV, DSTV and its competitors have a long way to go.

DSTV is owned by Naspers [JSE: NPN], a major media and Internet conglomerate with headquaters in South Africa

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