First, DSTV announced very publicly that it was making domestic leagues around Europe accessible to its Compact bouquet viewers. Not only this, it was going to be sold with the new PVR decoder for an all-in price of N30,000. For those who already had the decoders, the new subscription charge was a manageable N6,000.
So we hailed and celebrated. The consumer protection council and the house of reps were working in tandem for the betterment of Nigerians. Life was good once again, (apologies to LG).
DSTV: ‘Connyman die, conny man bury am’
Fast forward one month, almost exactly to the date the promo ended. Suddenly, a renewal of N6,000 did not provide the originally promised magic, African or otherwise. Not only were there still no HD channels, there was no Premiership football, no Spanish football, still no Champions league or Europa league football. Worst of all, no PVR service. So now you had a PVR HD decoder, but no PVR and no HD!
What manner of 419 is this? As if to answer the rhetorical question, the good people of DSTV started another round of PR, this time via telephone. They called to ask how we the shortchanged subscribers were enjoying their new plot to keep us in TV bondage. A pointless tirade of complaints was met with a well-rehearsed response – you need to pay a little more to access those benefits. N2000 and change to be sure.
This is how it works – PVR is now bundled with HD, obviously. The ‘free’ football channels are really still free. Only thing is, they’re now strictly shown on HD…for our viewing pleasure no doubt. So, unfortunately, and clearly through no fault of theirs because DSTV wants nothing more than our happiness, to access free football means accessing HD enjoyment, which means paying more.
All this trickery, of course, meant that the viewing centre owners were back in church and other religious houses, thanking God for the return of good fortune to their business. Punters were sure to return to enjoy a long summer of cup finals, European championships, and of course, the Rio Olympics.
They celebrated a little too soon. Not to be outplayed on the field of TV gamesmanship, Multichoice reacted yesterday by announcing that ALL bouquets on DSTV – from the granddaddy Premium bouquet to the try-and-manage-this-one GoTV – will show the biggest football match outside the world cup – the European Champions league match – free. That’s right, everyone will get to watch Real Madrid play Athletico Madrid free, and in the comfort of their homes if they so choose.
What does this mean for the operators of viewing centres across Lagos? Empty seats. It will be the equivalent of staging a football match in an empty stadium. A party without guests. A huge loss of revenue plainly put.
So once again, DSTV wins. Subscribers and viewing centres have been played and beaten into submission. No doubt we will try again, but for now, the channel of champions comes out on top.
We, on the other hand, will thank them for their kindness and get on with our lives. Nothing beats a monopoly in business. It’s the nearest thing to playing god.