By Temitope Ajayi

Considering operating environment with rising energy and power costs, inflation, weak Naira other economic factors, if the company does not have right to increase prices.

Other businesses across sectors and retailers of various hues have increased prices many times over in the last 24 months in Nigeria and across the world. I keep wondering why there is always a charge against Multichoice each time the company attempts to raise prices that are market reality-reflective.

For me, Pay TV is a lifestyle choice that we are free to make or not make. Multichoice is not selling oxygen, liver or other vital human organs without which one cannot live.

The price increase is across their market continent-wide and not just Nigeria. Businesses always pass cost to consumers as the only way to continue serving them, survive and thrive. Otherwise, all stakeholders, including customers lose out from both intrinsic and non- intrinsic value of the enterprise.
In dollar terms, a comparative analysis of what is paid for same service offerings in South Africa and Kenya reveals consumers in Nigeria pay less than their counterparts in other jurisdictions. While DSTV premium subscribers in Nigeria will pay equivalent of $33.11, those in South Africa will pay 43.48 for same service and in Kenya, subscribers will pay $70.06.

The assumption that Multichoice is cheating Nigerians because it is a monopoly is unfounded. Multichoice is not a monopoly as there are other competitors like StarTimes, TSTV and a rash of cable companies under the umbrella of Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON). Prior, we had FSTV, Raymond Dokpesi’s DAARsat, CONsat and HiTV, which famously outbidded Multichoice for the prized football properties before economic factors and, as some said at the time, weak corporate governance, sent it over the cliff.

StarTimes recently increased prices, effective 14 April, and it turned out a non-event. The company cited reasons very similar to the ones Multichoice adduced for its own decision. No hoopla.

Multichoice may be a dominant player in the Pay TV business but certainly not a monopoly and never has been.

Very laughably, many are calling on the government to regulate MultiChoice’s prices, something that was not done when airlines did, when power companies increased and when prices of diesel and petrol, all far more crucial items, went up. As Dr. Babatunde Irukera of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) told in an interview, the agency has no power to regulate consumer prices.