Nigerians will incur high costs if they still want to enjoy quality entertainment as Startimes and other Pay-TV operators service providers increase their tariff price due to the COVID-19 impact.

Early in the year, multi-choice (owner of Dstv and Gotv) increase their tariff due to an increase in Value Added Tax (V.A.T). The Federal Government of Nigeria increases the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in February 2020. However, Dstv price changes are effective from June 2020 claiming it can no longer absorb the 2.5% VAT increase.

Dstv waited for 4 months absorbing the 2.5% on behalf of Nigerians mostly because of the COVID pandemic around at that time and while also hoping the government will revert the VAT charge. There is no way the pay television giants can continue to pay the difference between the old and the new rates for much longer, as this has impacted very negatively on its finances.

In a bid to cope with the devastating effects of Covid-19, inflation, devaluation, rising operational costs, and a tough business environment, pay television service provider decides to upward reviews of the prices of their products and services for the second time in 2020.

Note that this is happening barely a few days after lawmakers in Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber summoned the company’s management to explain an earlier price hike in June.

Startimes, the nation’s second-biggest Pay-TV operator raised prices of its subscription plans by an average of 22% effective August 1, 2020.

In explaining their recent price increase, the Startime’s Brand and Marketing Manager, Viki Liu said the price increase is due to increased value-added tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5% as well as the foreign exchange rate which has impacted its cost of operation.

“Our business is not exempted from the effect of the naira depreciation affecting all businesses in the country. All of our foreign content is bought in dollars and to continually serve our subscribers the best content, the subscription price has to be reviewed upwards,” Liu added.

For DStv, the adjustments which come into effect on September 1, 2020, will only affect the Premium, Compact Plus, and Compact packages, changing the prices by about 13%. Lower priced packages Confam, Yanga, and Padi will retain their normal prices.

In a message sent to customers, Multichoice said: “We periodically review our pricing, taking into consideration factors such as inflation and operational costs. We acknowledge that the people of Nigeria are living under increased economic pressure and we have made efforts to freeze the subscription prices in the last year, barring any extreme factors such as the devaluation of currency and changes to VAT mandated by the government.

“We remain committed to delivering the best video entertainment experience, telling the best local and international stories, giving access to nail-biting sporting action and up-to-the-minute news, as well as leading international series, movies, documentaries and children’s entertainment,” the company added.

The development has, however, angered Nigerians both on social media and on streets who blame the government for allowing the South African-owned company to manipulate them. The price hike is coming despite the unprecedented hardship and suffering being experienced by Nigerians as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigerians were clamoring for pay as you watch package as the best alternative to curb the price hike while some resolved to be streaming football online. MultiChoice refused to bend as it says that it does not have the capacity to operate the PPV model, as it operates a prepaid pricing model across the 50 Sub-Saharan African countries where it operates.

It further explained that We have over 25 years’ experience in video entertainment in Africa and have built up a business that is sustainable in the long term. Our pricing reflects the cost of doing business and the necessary return on capital in order to ensure a world-class, reliable, and sustainable video entertainment service. MultiChoice is a discretionary service and provides a range of bouquets that are designed to meet a multitude of family viewing needs at a range of different budgets.

New DStv Subscription Prices

DStv Compact package: N7,900
DStv Compact Plus Package: N12,500
DStv premium Package: N18,400
GOtv Max: N3,600
GOtv Jolli : N2,460
GOtv Jinja: N1,640
GOtv Lite (Monthly): N410
GOtv Lite (Quarterly): N1,080
GOtv Lite (Annual): N3,180

New Star-Time Subscription Prices

StarTimes NOVA bouquet: N900
Star Time Basic Bouquet: N1,700
Star Time Smart Bouquet: N2,200
Star Time Classic Bouquet: N2, 500
Star Time Super Bouquet: N4,200

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