DSTV must get a competitor urgently

2015-11-24 19:03

DSTV must get a serious competitor urgently. The issue with this service provider is that it is the ONLY producer of the content it is providing in South Africa. The problem with that is the fact that their decision to sharply increase its price will not have any consequences to their profit no matter how uninspiring its content is.

You'll find a movie getting repeated 4 times a week on DSTV and a soccer match that played last Saturday being repeated everyday until the next match plays again next Saturday. I mean till this day they are still televising the match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs that ended 4-1 on 30-October-2015. As a customer, they charge you a MONTHLY fee that doesn't get a discount when content is repeated for 2 consecutive months. In other words, if DSTV decides to televise the same things on January and February, you'll still be required to pay for both January and February as though the content was new. You are basically paying for the same product twice!

Customers can get frustrated with price increases and the repeated dull content however despite their annoyance, very few if none at all would cancel subscriptions. There is nothing we can do about it because there's no competitor. So anyone who cancels is left with SABC and ETV and no chance of watching a major sporting event live. It's very sad to see people paying so much money for a mediocre service. If there was a competition against DSTV, prices would probably be lower and there would be a diverse selection of shows on TV so that there can be a serious battle for customers by companies.

DSTV is not the only frustrating service provider in this country though. South Africa has far too many other monopolies and oligopolies. You go from industry to industry and you'll find a select few competitors dividing up the entire market. This means that prices in South Africa are much higher than they should be, the quality of products and services is lower than it should be, and that our companies are less creative and innovative than their similar companies in other more competitive countries.

I mean here you find that the wholesale and retail trade sector is dominated by two firms: Shoprite and Pick n'Pay whom both constitute 76% of the market share. They are both available in all 9 provinces of this country, in every major city, town and even township servicing and selling to all 56 million citizens of this country. Are you honestly telling me that its only 2 people who are skilled enough to run a supermarket in this country. Shoprite and Pick n'Pay are not engineering companies or Wi-Fi firms, they are just a supermarket. A mere sell a fish oil or milk or eggs supermarket. Nothing else.

One last problem we have in this country is that we do not own our economy. This is a serious concern. The financial sector which dominated by the banking sector has only 4 large private owned banks (ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank), of which two of them have significant foreign ownership. ABSA is 56% foreign-owned whilst Standard Bank is 40% foreign owned. Shoprite is 35% foreign owned, Truworths is 52% foreign owned, Foschini is 45% foreign owned, Lewis and JD Group are 35% foreign owned. Spar 20%, Mr Price and Woolworths 20%, KFC and McDonald's 100% foreign owned. The list goes on and on and on and on. These large monopolies and oligopolies have occupied all spaces in our towns, on television its only them advertising, they keep coming in our eyes everyday to such an extent that we see nothing else that we can buy other than buying it from them. The people who run these monopolies and oligopolies are not even in the country.

Maybe the reason why our youth unemployment rate is standing at 70% is because there's only a few companies available in the market to employ and compete. In an ideal market perhaps you'd find companies battling it out for the best talent they can find to be innovative and creative. In fact a company that gets the best innovation right like Apple would be the champion of industry in price, consumer satisfaction and quality. Those who choose not to join the labour market or want to exit would be free to start a business and compete. Promoting entrepreurship and increased competition to temper with the uncompetitive state of many domestic industries will honestly benefit everyone.

PEDRO MZILENI

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA

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