Barely one year after the last subscription fee increase, there are strong indicators that Multichoice Nigeria will increase the subscription fee across all its DStv and GOtv packages from September 2021.
A source close to the company revealed that subscription prices may increase by about 10 per cent with premium package going as high N21,000 Compact Plus will go above N14,000 and GOtv Max subscription jumping to slightly above N4000, once the new price takes effect.
This is not a lone occurrence for Nigerian subscribers, as Multichoice has increased the subscription charges in other African countries over the last 6 months. This week, Ghana, Malawi, and Tanzania announced a new price regime from September 1.
MultiChoice Ghana’s latest increase is coming just 6 months after its last price hike. MultiChoice Ghana gave no reasons to its customers or the media for its latest price hike. From September 1, DStv Premium will rise by 5.6 per cent from GHS369 (R913) per month to GHS390 (R965) per month, DStv Compact Plus by 5.26 per cent from GHS228 to GHS240, while DStv Compact will increase by 5.2 per cent from GHS152 to GHS160.
MultiChoice Tanzania equally announced a 5 – 9 percent increase on its DStv subscription charges on all bouquets with effect from September 1, but didn’t provide its customers with any reason. According to the reports and text messages sent to subscribers, the Premium bouquet will now cost Sh145,000 (formerly Sh139,000), the Compact Plus tariff plan will cost Sh93,000 (formerly Sh89,000), while the Compact tariff plan will cost Sh51,000 (formerly Sh49,000) for monthly subscriptions.
Just last week, MultiChoice Kenya announced price increases ranging from 5 to 9 percent for DStv and GOtv customers, effective September 1, 2021. Customers on the Premium tariff will pay KES 8,400 per month (formerly KES 7,900), the Compact Plus will increase from KES 4,800 to KES 5,100, while Compact will increase from KES 2,650 to KES 2,800. DStv Family will now cost KES 1,500 (from KES1380) while DStv Access will cost KES 1,050 (from KES1 000). Similar increases are also seen across the GOtv packages.
Multichoice Uganda also announced a 6 percent increase in subscription prices for all packages.
In South Africa, a 1 – 6 percent price increase took effect on Thursday 1 April 2021. Premium, Compact, and Compact Plus subscriptions were increased by R10 monthly to become R829, R409, and R529 respectively. The DStv Family package went up from R279 to R295, while DStv Access increased from R110 to R115.
Despite the probe by the Nigerian Senate in 2016, over alleged unwholesome practices and unreasonable subscription hikes, Multichoice Nigeria still makes price adjustment a yearly ritual. The company has hiked its subscriptions by an average of 31 per cent in five years.
In 2020, the pay-TV increased subscription price twice within a space of three months. Recall that there was a price increase in June 2020 (to reflect a 2.5 per cent VAT) and another 9 – 14 percent increase in subscription prices in August 2020. The 10 – 14 per cent increase across board from September 2021, is coming exactly one year after the last one.
Although Multichoice Nigeria is yet to make an official announcement to this, this is the same trend experienced last year before the charges were increased in Nigeria and Nigerians are not happy about what is now seen as an annual price hike.
“This appears to be a yearly affair. Last year, there was an increase and now again? If this actually happens, I might have to look for an alternative source of entertainment. I mean, how much television do I watch in a month that I should be spending as much as N20,000 on premium subscription?”, Mr. Henry Ojei, a DStv subscriber in Lagos said.
“Going at this rate, Multichoice might be asking people to spend as much as half their salaries on pay-TV subscriptions in the coming years. Who knows? Salaries do not increase on an annual basis so why should Multichoice increase its charges every year? Maybe there is a class of consumers that they are out to serve, but it doesn’t look like the average Nigerian worker is part of this”.
Another subscriber bemoaned his decision to buy the DStv decoder during the decoder slash price in July, stating that it now seems like the promo was a strategy to reel in more customers before announcing this increase.
Multichoice appears to have an annual tradition of hiking prices, after doing some sort of promotion to get in more customers. The first subscription fee increase was in September 2009, and the next came in April 2011 (8 to 12 percent hike). August 2012 had a 10% increase in all its bouquets, and August 2015 brought a 20 per cent increase in all its bouquets.
There has been at least one price hike in subscription fees every year and the result is that most of the packages have almost doubled since then. For instance, DStv Premium has gone N9,000 in 2009 to N18,400 in 2020. This is over 100 percent cumulative price change already. The new price which takes effect in September 2021 will bring the price to N20,902, a total of 132 percent price hike in 12 years.
Reacting to the last increase in August 2020, commentators had said the DStv price increase would put more pressures on subscribers who were managing to sustain themselves amid the Covid-19 pandemic, causing some of them to downgrade to lower packages.
The reaction from Simon Camerer, Chief Operating Officer for MultiChoice, that customers should negotiate a ‘long-term contract’ rather than the monthly plans, to save themselves some money is in itself a pointer that Multichoice might keep on with this annual price hike in the coming years.