Is Pay TV revolution here or is it a mere emotional marketing? TSTV, a multi-channel TV platform, will be launched on Sunday, October 1, Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day.
The Direct-To-Home (DTH) TV operation will offer Nigerians “comple-mentary internet capacity, smart home, ability to pause subscriptions for a record of seven days every month, video calls and in-built 500GB hard drive… for content storage, video on demand services as well as the regular uninterrupted clean world-class contents available 24 hours every day”.
According to a statement by the company on its’ website, Nigerians went agog at the news of these offerings and they have been expressing optimism on the new entrant. However, some are skeptical about the exciting offers of TSTV.
Are there threats?
An Investment Consultant and Public Affairs analyst, Sola Fanawopo, is not seeing TSTV as a revolution. “TSTV will operate in the low-earner consumer market, and contend with the likes of GOTV and Startimes; TSTV cannot compete with DSTV,” he said.
His argument was that TSTV does not have premium family content that can compete at the level of DSTV, and that TSTV is modeled to service those who cannot afford premium services.
He, however, cautioned that the product-promise of the new entrant may turn out to be unrealistic as the company is offering too many for little.
“If the business model is wrong, and the business could not break-even, it will end up being unsustainable and subscribers would be the losers,” he added.
Fanawopo submitted that TSTV offering looks more like emotional marketing as the cost of internet data, which TSTV wants to use to its’ advantage, is as expensive as the cheapest Pay TV subscription in Nigeria.
Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria Executive Director Sola Salako also shared her concerns on the sustainability of TSTV’s offers.
She said: “The need for caution arose from the need to be sure that the company can provide the service sustainably, that they have a sustainable business model to run it and that they are protected by regulation.” The consumer right advocate said the new entrant is vulnerable to anti-competition practices as the completion bill is yet to be signed into law by the President.
Her organization has been at the forefront of educating Nigerians on the need for the competition bill, particularly via an online medium, Yell Consumers Radio.
“Nigerians should rise up and speak up for the Competition Bill to signed into law. It will strengthen new entrants and ensure they have sustainable business models,” she said.
She, however, said more entrants and innovations in the Pay TV sector would translate to more choices for the subscribers.
Who holds the stakes?
A TV content producer, Tope Alake, observed that TSTV would survive and thrive because the brand is targeting a volume-driven market. According to him, opportunities for content providers as new players come into the Pay TV sector. He complained that the existing multi-channel operators are under-paying content providers and have never given the creative professionals the opportunity to negotiate for better deals.
“I am very open to TSTV. I also heard that Kwese TV is about to launch. Africans are story tellers and this will give alternatives for storytellers,” said Alake.
Alake, who directs the movie, “Picture Perfect,” added: “Nigerian producers churn out 70 per cent of contents in Africa, but they are the worst sellers. If we have like six multi-channel platforms, then we can negotiate better deals. This is the revolution we have been waiting for.”
He concluded that he planned switching to Netflix inext month, but will consider getting a TSTV decoder as well.
Former President, Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), Femi Odugbemi, agreed that the growth of the Pay TV sector will translate to growth for the content providers, flaying the lack of structure in the purchase of contents by Pay TVs.
“Competition will offer perhaps opportunities to evolve current practices,”he said.
Odugbemi, who is the producer of the latest Multichoice’s drama series, Battleground however, expressed concern on the sustainability of the Pay TV company, advising that new players must also invest in the human capacity of the creative industry and initiate “more projects not only in drama, but in every genre of contents – sports, general entertainment, game shows, reality shows and musical shows”.
While it is good for content providers to embrace new opportunities from new players, the veteran producer advised his colleagues to appreciate the long-time investors in the contents industry, who have helped them to build capacity.
Need to celebrate?
A research and training company based in the United States (US), 602 Communications, defined emotional marketing as messages that build ego, “makes you feel smarter, bolder, and more sophisticated”.
The pre-launch marketing of TSTV has been in consonance with the yearnings of Nigerians for a pay-per-view multi-channel platform. However, those offerings from TSTV are products of consumer-centric approach to marketing and a good example of design thinking. The erratic power supply in Nigeria has never made Pay TV interesting, as most customers complain that they do not get value from the monthly subscriptions.
With TSTV, Nigerians would not need to worry about losing out on subscriptions due to power failure, working hours and weather disruptions. Families can even pause the subscription while going on holidays.
Presently, the brand has got a lot of traction both online and offline, and it remains the latest Pay TV innovation as long as it delivers on the promises. If marketing is about identifying unmet needs, and providing offers to meet such needs, then TSTV has got it right. The revolution goes on television on Independence Day, giving equality in terms of contents, and freedom in terms of payment! Nigerians are celebrating!