Excitement have reached fever pitch, Nigerians are more than excited to have the first Nigerian Digital TV. But wait fess, do you think DSTV will just walk away like that? Walk away from the most populous African country and one of the biggest markets for any retail driven product like digital TV decoders?
I think not. Recent news publications have alleged that major content providers like the Turner Broadcasting System Europe and a certain beIN have sent “Cease and Desist” notices to the new baby of the federation. These content providers claim to own exclusive licenses to CNN and most international sporting leagues. They do not want TSTV broadcasting their content, according to Adekunle Adekoya of the Vanguard news.
It’s sad that as much as Nigerians and Africans seek to break from the political and economic grip of foreign commodities, we usually go in unprepared. Some of us may have been following the launch of the Kwese TV, also an African indigenous Pay-TV. Strive Masiyiwa (Kwese) unlike Bright Echefu (TSTV) seems to be well aware of the corporate and legal bottlenecks that could cripple such an ingenious and indigenous product. Dr. Strive has been seen brokering content deals all over the world and Kwese distribution efforts have kept the interest of a large network of fans.
Nigerians have shown a lot of support and loyalty with comments on social pages signifying their readiness to abort DSTV for a switch to TSTV. This indicates a bright prospect for Mr. Bright and his hustle.
Also the Minister of Information and Culture (Lai Mohammed) had at the launch of TSTV declared government support for the brand. The digital TV brand was granted a 3-year tax relief and investors where also granted tax-free dividends. It is obvious that every Nigerian wants to port to TSTV. Even Aso Rock is tired of DSTV subscription. The concerns, identified by the minister of information, surround the issue of content and audience.
Content and Audience go hand in hand. If TSTV cannot provide the quality of content found on DSTV, then it is only a matter of time before it crashes. Let’s look at a common example of Nigerian Football League content. European football leagues trump African or Nigerian leagues every time because it appeals to a large audience. Any league that would compete with that would need to buckle up real good.
There are only a few possibilities of how this could go. TSTV may have to concede some ground to DSTV in order to gain access to the content they cannot provide or get licenses for. It is typical monopolistic strategy to kill out competition by hoarding technological or intellectual property. This, therefore, is one of the issues TSTV will battle; they don’t need to keep denying this. Even our dear Lai knows this truth.
The other options available is that TSTV focuses all its energy on promoting new and indigenous content. This is a risky but worthwhile venture as they already have government backing. TSTV could bank on this to also push for the support of Nigerian content providers in Nollywood. With the support of the Government, Nollywood, and Nigerian audience, TSTV could fight the battle against foreign content with a strong alternative.
Following the TSTV Facebook page, it’s obvious there’s a struggle for this Nigerian product to find it’s footing. Distributions have stalled with the excuse that they do not have sufficient dealers or retailers. We all know this cannot be true.
Nigerians have also confirmed in the comment thread that they are ready and willing to put all their support behind this new brand. All these points to the fear that a struggle for quality content is ongoing, and this may take longer than TSTV envisaged. Taking a cue from Kwese TV, it would be recommended that this new brand works towards building partnerships with accommodating content providers while employing heavy social and digital marketing to promote their own indigenous Nigerian content.
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