House Of Representatives Grill Multichoice Over Price Hike And Inability To Introduce Pay-As-You- Go Viewing Platform
House of Representatives has determined that the recent increase in
subscription by Multichoice is unacceptable and is insisting on the introduction of a
Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) platform by the South African Cable company.
This was revealed by Rep. Unyime Idem, Chairman, House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee investigating the non-implementation of PAYGO Tariff yesterday in Abuja. He said that given the current situation as occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, Multichoice should suspend the increase in the monthly subscription.
Idem said that the house was of the opinion that MultiChoice, the owners of DSTV was not sensitive to the plight of Nigerians for increasing tariff of their various bouquets and using the VAT increment from five per cent to 7.5 per cent as an excuse.
He added that most DSTV bouquet price tariffs was more than 2.5 per cent increment and many other companies, local and international were providing palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
He further insisted that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Acting Director-General of Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had both confirmed to the committee that PAYGO model was possible.
The chairman said the committee was committed to the full implementation of the PAYGO, Pay- Per View-and-Pay-Per-Watch model in Nigeria and that anything contrary to that would be unacceptable , adding that the committee should not be pushed to a situation where it would impose the constitution.
Rep. Adedeji Babjide, a member of the committee joined the fray and called for sincerity on the part of multi-choice, adding that Nigerians were currently going through a lot as a result of COVID-19.
“Look at the hardship Nigerians are going through and you have done two increments within few months, this is not the right time for you to increase subscription,”
He further queried why Multichoice/DSTV was not patronizing NICOMSAT, adding that it had not also obeyed the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (NBC) holistically.
In response Mr John Ugbe, Managing Director, Multichoice Nigeria said it would not be able to implement the policy of PAYGO. According to him, Pay Per View (PPV), is most times confused for the PAYGO model deployed by mobile telecommunication companies.
“The PAYGO model as offered in the telecommunication business is a metered service where consumers are billed only for the service they consume and not for a fixed period.
“Telecommunications companies are able to offer PAYGO services because they operate a two-way communication system in which they are able to determine when a consumer is connected.
“The service consumed and duration of time the consumer is connected,”
According to him, satellite broadcasting is linear, not a two-way system, as satellite broadcasters are unable to determine when a subscriber is connected and/or watching which channel is being viewed.
More details as they unfold.
Photo > Courtesy Business Day