Over three months after its official launch Nigerians are still waiting for the new Pay TV operator, TStv to roll out its service as promised. For some prospective subscribers, the waiting is turning to frustration and it seems endless as the operator fails to give any specific time to its service roll out. SAMSON AKINTARO reports.
For many Nigerians whose hopes were raised by the arrival of a new, promising DTH Pay TV operator, TStv, patience is no longer a virtue. Indeed, their hopes have now been turned to despair and dejection amidst feeling of total disappointment as they wait endlessly for the mouth-watering offers promised by the revolutionary digital TV service provider.
Months before its official launch in October 1, 2017, Nigeria’s Independence Day, which was symbolically chosen to declare ‘freedom’ in the Nigerian digital TV space, the internet was awash with stories and fliers of the new kid on the bloc. The rousing reception and acceptability, especially on different social media platforms, was visible to the blind and one needs no soothsayer to know that the pulse of existing PayTv operators in the country would be beating faster than normal at those periods.
Of course, the offers were too tempting to be ignored: A promise of pay as you watch, which no operator has ever offered in the country; subscription package at maximum price of N3, 000 and for as low as 500; and to cap it all, an extra 20 gigabytes of data, on every subscription, which automatically offers families freeW i-fi hotspot in their homes.
For pay tv subscribers in Nigeria, this portends total liberation. Many were who were not even willing to jump ship were happy that such competition as brought by TStv, would force the leading operator in the country, DSTV, to adjust its subscription costs. And with that strong believe, TStv’s launch in Abuja on October 1 was greeted with high enthusiasm.
The revolutionary launch
The Federal Government of Nigeria also welcomedthe TStv phenomenon with the declaration of a 3-year tax relief to the newly inaugurated Pay TV operator in the country, as well as tax-freeTStv dividends to all investors in the company.The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who performed the official unveiling of the new company and its products, said the tax reliefs were in line with the Pioneer Status recently granted to the Creative Industry by the federal government.The minister congratulated the TStv management for liberalising and breaking the monopoly of Pay TV in the country.
Also speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company,Dr Bright Echefu, said TStv came to liberalisePayTV in the country, make it affordable to every Nigerian with added values.He said for the first time, Nigerians could now enjoy Pay Per View because with TStv, “subscription runs as you watch and it has the facility to pause your subscription when you travel”.
Echefu said thatTStv for a start has 70 premium channels model with the cheapest pay-tv in Africa with maximum subscription fee of N3, 000 only. He said as a fully Nigerian brand with consideration for the masses, TStv is not classified and it has a model that accommodate subscription as low as N200 as N500 for a period of time.The CEO also said TStv came with PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
Decoder which allowed viewers greater control over their viewing experience with functions like pause, rewind, forward, save and record of programmes of interest.
Not so fast!
But while the anxious prospective customers were expecting to see the decoders in the market immediately after the launch, TStv said it would not be rolling out commercially until November 1, 2017. Gradually, the excitement began to wane, but truly hopeful Nigerians still kept faith with the company and eagerly waited for November 1 to come. But by November 1, the company rather announced the commencement of test (free-to-air) transmission, which subscribers who already have universal decoders can pick and watch for free.
This, obviously, did not go down well with most prospective subscribers who were anxiously waiting to get the company’s decoder as they bombarded TStv’s twitter handle with complaints and expressions of disappointment. By mid-December, TStv issued a statement and posted on its website, assuring the people that decoders would be made available before Christmas (December 25th).
The statement went on to give a week deadline, by saying that the decoders would made available by “next week”. The statement read: “We are almost done with our test transmission and we are just putting some finishing touches and hopefully by the grace of God, between now and next week the decoders will be out for sale. “We are informing Nigerians that they must enjoy their Christmas with their decoders. So before Christmas, the decoders will be everywhere in the market.
Also keep in mind that the price of the decoder which is N5000 remains unchanged and all the features plus extra benefits TStv promised during the lunch including the controversial bein channels will still be included”. But that never happened as the company as at the time of filling this report have not been able to roll out.
Expressing his disappointment, a prospective subscriber, AyoolaBabatunde, said: “I gave up on TStv after the November 1 postponement. Thatwas when I knew they are not a serious company. This is the same company that boasted about starting sales before Christmas, later shifted to before the end of the year.
This is what happens when you build on lies and total disregard for legit questions”. Another prospective subscriber, Alex Iyanda, “my problem with TSTV is that they should have put their house in order before all the publicity and hope raising associated with their launching on the 1st of October”. However, he believes that there are forces against the company that are hindering their launch.
“The forces against them are behind the hacking of their system and the spate of criticism launched against them. But I believe before the middle of 2018, the picture might be clearer and the station must have stabilised. Keep hope alive and support TSTV” he said.
For John Eze,TStv has lost the goodwill it initially enjoyed by its failure to roll out last year. “These guys have lost out on the opportunity to have massive patronage they would have had if they started well. Now Big Brother Naija will start soon, a lot of their prospective subscribers who would have long bought TStv and might not really bother about BBNaija not being aired on TStvwould now be tied with either GOTV/DSTV for at least next 3 months during the duration of the show” he said.
The waiting continues
When The Oracle Today contacted TSTV’s customer care to make enquiry on why they have not rolled out and when they are likely to roll out their decoders, an agent of the company, who identified herself simply as Anna, replied and said: “We appreciate your patience so far. We sincerely apologize for the delay.
Although, there is no specific date for the sales of our decoder because we are still working on the feed backs we got from the test transmission. Kindly exercise a little more patience, as soon as we have a new date it will be posted on our website and social media handle. Thank you.”
From the company’s statement, it is obvious TStv’s roll out may not be happening anytime soon and the prospective subcribers, who are already running out of patience, may have to wait a little longer. But if all the offers promised by the new DTH Pay TV operator are anything to go by, then the waiting may be worth it after all.