Nigerians have reacted with anger to the decision of satellite television provider, Multichoice Nigeria, to increase its Dstv and GOtv subscription fees by five percent.
The decision, coming just over a year after a 20 per cent raise, was announced via text messages to subscribers on Saturday. It will take effect from May 1.
Subscribers slammed the company, accusing it of insensitivity given the current economic crisis that has made life difficult.
A Facebook user, Chukwudi Iwuchukwu, said, “I just got this SMS from DSTV (containing notification of a price adjustment on Premium package fee which has changed from N13,980 to N14,700 effective 1 May
2017). Time to stop watching DSTV.”
Another subscriber, Rosy Chic, commenting on the planned hike, called for a protest. She also suggested that the Nigerian parliament should be informed about the issue too.
“Let’s protest and tag NASS,” she posted on Facebook.
Other subscribers, however, called for a boycott of the service provider and suggested alternative platforms.
Okechukwu Nwoye said, “Our government is not helping matters at all. Why can’t Nigeria have her own? We can call it any name and buy all those rights.”
Another Facebook user, Sharp Adekunle, lamented what he alleged to be the complicity of Nigerian leaders and the Dstv operators.
“When your leaders are their number one beneficiaries, what do you expect? Even if you go to court, they have their seeds planted there,” he posted.
But the Managing Director, Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, said the decision was made after careful consideration into the market and review of its business operations.
“We announced last year that we would do everything possible to hold the price barring any extreme factors,” he said in a press statement.
“However, all our content is purchased in dollars and although we have done everything possible to hold the prices even with the price of everything else going up, we are now left with no choice but to adjust
our subscription prices from 1 May,” he added.
“Our key priority is to put subscribers’ needs at the heart of everything we do and therefore, in determining the price adjustment, we took into account many factors including, the impact on the customer, current inflation which stands at 19 per cent, programming costs and efficiencies within the company.
“Please be assured that we have worked really hard to keep this year’s fees manageable,” he said.
In April 2015, Multichoice announced a twenty percent increase in subscription fee across all its packages, amid public outrage.
In response, two Lagos-based lawyers, Oluyinka Oyeniji and Osasuyi Adebayo, initiated a class action on behalf of millions of Nigerians who criticised the new subscription rates as exploitative
The duo sought the order of the court to stop MultiChoice or its agents from implementing the 20 per cent hike in the fees charged subscribers.
The protracted legal battle failed to effect any change.