THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nigerian consumer hate against MultiChoice again bubbling up as DStv subscribers say Nigeria 'must protect citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies'.


Ugly and simmering Nigerian hate over pay-TV operator MultiChoice is once again bubbling up after the nasty consumer and political antagonism earlier this year in MultiChoice's second biggest African market, with DStv subscribers in Nigeria saying the Nigerian government must "protect its citizens from exploitation of these foreign companies".

After the raid on MultiChoice Nigeria's head office in Lagos in October 2015, followed by Nigerian politicians in February this year slamming "the menace of MultiChoice" and the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council (CPC) ordering onerous and draconian adjustments, Nigerian DStv subscribers are angry again.

Unable to understand that MultiChoice's DStv is a premium, pay-television service, Nigerians are once again lashing out  at the pan-African pay-TV operator demanding free TV channels and furious that their pay-TV gets cut off "as soon as your subscription expires".

While MultiChoice Africa last month told TV with Thinus the pay-TV operator remains committed to Nigeria and won't pack up and leave as many other South African and intercontinental companies have been doing, DStv subscribers in the West African nation seem to harbour strong negative sentiments about MultiChoice that it sees as a "foreign" company.

With a litany of published complaints and subscribers' venting, DStv subscribers in Nigeria are once again apparently up in arms, saying "the Nigerian government has to stand up and protect its citizens from the exploitation of these foreign companies".

The avalanche of complaints come as even Nigeria's CPC now says MultiChoice in Nigeria has complied with the onerous additional conditions demanded of it - things like toll-free customer care telephone numbers and the ability to switch off DStv and not pay for weeks at a time.

While these MultiChoice consumer "privileges" are unique to Nigeria, clueless Nigerians are again venting their anger, saying things like they "don't think this is how they [MultiChoice] operate in other countries such as South Africa".

Ironically, they're right - the new set of consumer conditions imposed on the pay-TV operator the past few months in Nigeria provides Nigerian DStv and GOtv subscribers with benefits not available in other African countries.

Nigerian DStv subscribers like Erica Ovuakporoye are for instance saying that since she had subscribed to DStv she "had a nasty experience".

Erica Ovuakporoye is apparently under the impression that she's forced to pay for pay-TV and doesn't understand that as a consumer with free will that she can cancel a service if she's not happy with it and had a "nasty experience".

The continuing nasty negative narrative from Nigerians against MultiChoice feels odd.

It feels as if MultiChoice is being made a scapegoat as an easy punching bag for larger consumer issues playing out in Nigeria amidst a worsening economy.

Keep in mind that it is also in Nigeria where increasing TV censorship - specifically of content on MultiChoice from international channel providers - has meant that complaining and irrational Nigerian DStv subscribers have forced content off the air for the entire Africa in at least 3 instances in just the past few months.