Cape Town – Nigerians are furious after MultiChoice Africa announced a 5% DStv price hike coming into effect from May in the west African country, with MultiChoice Nigeria saying that with the tanking naira and runaway inflation it is forced to increase prices.
While MultiChoice has to pay for channel carriage and entertainment and sport programming costs made available through its DStv and GOtv pay-TV services in dollar, the naira has been on a slide for the past four years since 2013 while rampant inflation is eating into Nigerian buying power.
MultiChoice Nigeria made no DStv price increase in 2016. The last price increase was two years ago in April 2015 when the pay-TV provider hiked monthly subscription fees by 20% and blamed the sharp devaluation of Nigeria's weakening local currency.
In November 2016 MultiChoice Africa explained that it has actually been absorbing the increasingly expensive programming costs on behalf of Nigerian DStv subscribers.
John Ugbe, MultiChoice Nigeria managing director said "We haven't been able to pay our bills for about a year now and have been supported by MultiChoice Africa".
The DStv price increase in Nigeria from May follows the one in South Africa when a price increase came into effect since April. In a statement about the new price hike, Ugbe says it was done after a review of its business operations.
"We announced last year that we would do everything possible to hold the price barring any extreme factors."
"However all our content is purchased in dollars and although we have done everything possible to hold the prices even with the price of everything else going up, we are now left with no choice but to adjust our subscription prices from 1 May."
"Our key priority is to put subscribers' needs at the heart of everything we do and therefore, in determining the price adjustment, we took into account many factors including, the impact on the customer, current inflation which stands at 19%, programming costs and efficiencies within the company."
"Please be assured that we have worked really hard to keep this year’s fees manageable".
Angry Nigerian DStv subscribers are upset over the announced price hike and are venting on social media, with some who have called for a boycott of the service.
Nigeria has around 1.5 million DStv subscribers out of the 11 million pay-TV subscribers MultiChoice had by the end of September 2016 across Africa.