TSTtv to debut pay as you go TV plus data services in Nigeria

Kevin Arrix

Telcom Satelite Tv, TSTv, is gearing up to take on DSTV and StarTimes in the Nigerian payTV market.

TSTv is owned by ABS and Telcom Satellites TV. The company’s signals will be distributed on the ABS 3A Africa beam, located at 3 degrees west.

Its approach is to simultaneously provide data and video services, TSTv is looking at using the pay-as-you-go but a prepaid model. This model is the opposite in the case of DSTV, the country’s major payTV company with over 4 million subscribers.

A media analyst who spoke to PageOne.ng on the implications to the market said TSTv’s pay-As-You-Consume model, is an approach that many Nigerians will find appealing given the special circumstances of lack of steady power and lifestyle of many working class people.

A Disruptive business model

However, the provision of data services alongside video pits the company against traditional ISP and mobile carriers who now depend on data for the bulk of their revenue growth. An analyst in the IT sector said the company will do itself a lot of good it quickly positions itself for the ‘Internet-for-home’ side of the market as this will carve a niche for its services. However, the strong position of mobile Internet usage, many young people might not find the data proposition appealing.

TSTv is also planning to use the entry-level pricing approach that will see customers paying a little below the market price. Using the data plus video model, subscribers cannot decide what bandwidth of data they prefer which will determine how much they pay.

The product is bundled to give every subscriber about 20 gigabytes monthly for a subscription of NGN3,000. Moreover, it is not clear if TSTv will unbundle its services where subscribers can choose whether to go with data or video only.

Saved by football

As per content, the company might go head to head with DSTV in sports and news contents. Bein Sports, a sports network has the rights for the English Premier League and Champions League in certain markets. DSTV has exclusive rights to EPL matches for Nigeria, this might make it difficult for TSTv to show key matches in the league. (PageOne.ng cannot confirm if the DSTV’s contract is no longer exclusive).


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The importance of having the EPL and Champions League is critical for the Nigerian payTV companies as research has shown that male head of households is the decision maker in the choice of channels and subscription payment. DSTV took the exclusive rights to the EPL and Champions League after HiTV, a local payTV company went under in 2011 due to debt burdens and board tussle. Analysts in the business said DSTV’s position and survival as the number one are hinged on holding tight to these TV rights.

No longer at ease

It is, however, important to note that it is not a walk in the park for DSTV itself. Naspers the parent company of DSTV has in recent times expressed concerns over the inability of the company’s African operations (excluding South Africa) to turn in profits for some years till date. Naspers had disclosed in its latest update that it might look at either selling the company or divesting from its outside South African units.

While Nigeria’s worst recession in 20 years has not helped matters, competition, particularly, the pressure from StarTimes, which has eaten up the low end of the market, the only part of the market where subscriber growth are sought by both old and new entrants.

An analyst concurred that although DSTV is by far the most well-managed payTV company in the continent, the devil is in the details. With about 11 million subscribers under its kitty, DSTV’s African operations with over 60% this number has been seen to have underperformed vis-a-vis its potential. The West African sub-region has been faced various infrastructural and economic challenges such as inflation, policy flip-flops and political risks that makes business unpredictable.

Industry watchers predict Naspers might soon be announcing a total or partial sale of its interests in the African operation of DSTV. MTN, the continent’s largest mobile carrier was reportedly in talks with Naspers for the proposed deal.

Is the devil in the Execution?

TSTv itself will be facing the realities of the market, competition, infrastructure and other dynamics that were not priced into their strategy when drawing the business plan. Depending on its model of financing its startup operation, TSTv will need to have enough financial firepower to withstand the pressure in the market.

An analyst warned that TSTv’s problem might be more technical than financial. Data services are not that reliable in spite of the technical inflation in prices. The appeal of data and video might see a surge in adoption leading to a busy network.

Analysts fear that TSTv might need to raise its prices to adjust to realities of surging costs of service delivery. As stated by an analyst, ‘the devil is in the execution’. The pricing proposition vis-a-vis its benefits might be enticing to but the fulfillment of such promise might hike costs that will end up in the upward review in subscription within the first 12 months. DSTV and StarTimes might also step the fight by simply reducing the number of their bouquet to give low-end subscribers more reason to stick to its services, this might put TSTv is a difficult situation few months down the line.

In recent times, new players such as Kwese TV has also emerged. TSTv might also be welcoming Aevolve TV as well. In the end, analysts agree that subscribers might be the winning side in the game.

1 thought on “TSTtv to debut pay as you go TV plus data services in Nigeria

  1. TSTV Nigeria is now seeking applications from suitably qualified and experienced Nigerians to fill there Job vacancies.
    There are going to be so many top jobs opportunity with TSTV Nigeria, and you can suspect that there might be some staff reshuffling in this company, as they are going to be looking to bring in fresh ideas and hands to boost their stakes in the market. See TSTV Nigeria Recruitment Job Application Requirements and Guide here http://www.starteasyjob.com.ng/tstv-nigeria-recruitment-job-application-requirements-guide/

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