FG clamors on Pay-As-You-Go model for PayTV providers in Nigeria

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) model on PayTV, provides an innovative approach to grow untapped low-income subscriber base which likely to create some goodwill for any brand, as existing content redistribution contracts should be drawn on board to accommodate the PAYG options

He made this known at the ad hoc committee investigating the non-implementation of PAYG tariff plan on Broadcast Satellites Service Providers in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja, he said it is his considered opinion that the PAYG model is achievable in Nigeria.

He noted that the clamor for the abolition of the monthly billing system or the introduction of a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) plan has been directed at Pay TV operators in the past by Nigerian subscribers due to reasons such as epileptic power supply or engagements that take them from one location to the other on a daily basis, thus hindering the viewer satisfaction and access to the services provided.

“Furthermore, the present channel bundling model, where subscribers are provided with little choice but to watch a bundle of channels irrespective of their particular preference, has been another reason for the call for the Pay-As-You-Go model. “While platforms such as DSTV allows its subscribers, who travel out of their locations, to suspend their subscription three times in a year for a period between seven and 14 days, this has been regarded as grossly inadequate to address the demand and satisfaction of their subscribers”, he said.

He further said question arised whether other players in the content subscription industry have introduced and operated the PAYG model, and whether such can be replicated in the Nigerian market as the PAYG model is now the norm in the telecoms sector after MTN had initially indicated that such model was impossible in the industry, it has also been argued that the PAYG cannot be introduced in the media industry. However, a careful research of the operations of other players reveals that the PAYG model is in operation in some jurisdictions.

He added that this initiative would grow an untapped low-income subscriber base as such a new, more flexible option may create some goodwill for a Pay TV brand. “The current monthly subscription model in the industry most certainly does not preclude progressive initiatives on alternative payment models as have been proven by the platforms mentioned above.

“It should be noted that the PAYG model could be an offering for: a daily, weekly, bi-monthly or such other limited duration, or a package that allows the subscriber to choose on an a la carte (piecemeal) basis, for channels or content priced either individually or on a small themed bouquet such as a sports package, or based on subscriber viewing at any point in time”, he said.

He called on the existing platforms such as Multichoice and StarTimes to easily introduce any of the listed options without a complete overhaul of its broadcast architecture. “Moreover, its existing billing model can exist side-by-side with the PAYG model while it is my considered opinion that the PAYG model is achievable in Nigeria.

“As I have stated above, it is not just achievable, a PAY TV provider, Startimes, is already offering it, thus puncturing the fallacy that it is not possible.All that is required is that the existing content redistribution contracts should be taken back to the drawing board to accommodate the PAYG options that I have listed above”, he said.

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