In May 2020, Multichoice, the owners of DStv and GOtv, disclosed that rates would go up in Nigeria. This immediately led to a social media outrage, with many calling it insensitive “during a pandemic”.
In Multichoice’s defence, John Ugbe, chief executive officer of Multichoice, said the company did not increase subscription rates, stating it was only an adjustment to reflect the increase in value added tax (VAT).
In a bid to increase revenue to cope with economic realities of the oil price slump, the Nigerian parliament had passed the finance bill into law, with implementation effective February 2020. Part of the provisions of the law was an increase in VAT from five percent to 7.5 percent. This affected every business in the country.
Following this reality, the house of representatives insisted that cable and satellite television service providers in the country must introduce a pay-as-you-go subscription plan for customers.
The house ad hoc committee investigating DStv said the tariff in Nigeria is particularly higher than it is in other countries across Africa.
We analysed DStv packages across the continent to find out if the prices are comparative or if Multichoice is particularly being pricey in Nigeria.
DSTV BOUQUETS: NIGERIA VS REST OF AFRICA
We compared DStv subscription rates in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana and Multichoice’s home country, South Africa, and found that the subscription is cheaper in Nigeria than most of its peers across Africa.
We chose the popular bouquets, uniform in all the countries compared: premium, compact plus, compact, family, and access.
In Nigeria, for example, the premium package is N16,200, which translates to $41.86 at the prevailing foreign exchange rate. In Ghana, that same bouquet goes for 340 cedis or $58.72. This means the Ghanaian bouquet is $16.86 (N6,524) more expensive than its Nigerian equivalent.
The cheapest bouquet in both countries goes for $6.63 (N2,565) and $6.91 respectively, making the Ghanaian bouquet more expensive at both ends of the spectrum.
As for South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy and home to Multichoice, the story is no different. In dollar terms, the premium bouquet goes for $43.55 as against Nigeria’s $41.86. The cheapest bouquet in both countries, however, favour South Africa. While DStv Yanga (Access) goes for $6.63 in Nigeria, the same package goes for $5.76 in South Africa.
In Kenya, the gap is clear: while the premium bouquet is $69.27 (N26,807), the access plan is $8.32 (N3,220). This is over N10,000 more expensive than Nigeria’s most priced bouquet, and about N700 more expensive at the cheapest end. The case is the same for Botswana.
VERDICT: DStv packages are not most expensive in Nigeria
Despite the implementation of the 7.5 percent value-added tax in Nigeria, Multichoice bouquet rates in Nigeria are not the highest in Africa. They are more expensive in other African countries, including South Africa, where the service provider originates from.