BY BISI OLALEYE
Multichoice Nigeria has refuted killing other Pay Tv in order to run a monopolistic affair, however the company was quick to point out the market terrain was tough and only the strong will survive.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the company, Mr. John Ugbe during a paper presentation at the Nigerian South African Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting in Lagos.
Titled: ‘20 years of investment in Nigeria and its people’, Ugbe who reeled off the company’s score cards explained that Multichoice do not muscle out other pay Tv company but that competition was and is still a tough terrain in the Pay Tv sector because contents shores up the cost yearly. Stressing that only the willful and intelligent may survive such dicey terrain.
While disclosing that Multichoice contribution to the economy was a pointer that the company was here on a long term, to invest, see the growth of the company, that of Nigeria and see what the impact has done on Nigeria. Ugbe hinted that MultiChoice was the first South African firm to come into Nigeria, when other companies were scared of the terrain, the biggest Direct to Home Technology (DTH) that has five bouquets: Premium, (+100 channels), Compact Plus (+70 channels), Compact (+ 60 channels), Family (+ 50 Channels) and Access (+ 40 channels).
Adding that the company has provided employment to over 5,000 Nigerians and operates services through 54 dealers, who over 110 offices across the country. “Our company has invested over N51,095 billion since the coining out of the company in 1993 from Details Nigeria Limited.
It still has a bigger plan of investing more in local contents, infrastructure as well as community development projects before the year runs out”. Noting that MultiChoice was the biggest Direct to Home Technology (DTH) network in Africa and the second pay TV in the world to migrate to digital from analogue transmission, which offers up to 100 channels.
The Multichoice boss also hinted that the pay Tv’s 20th celebration would be flagged off in May this year, while x-raying that the company started in Nigeria as a joint venture between Adewunmi Ogunsanya and Multichoice Africa.
“Multichoice Nigeria has expended over N7.1bn($44m) contributing to the economy and growth of pay tv in the country, N3.5bn($22m) was also invested in broadcasting infrastructure and innovation services, over N185m($1m) on training in Tv production skills. The company had also invested over N1bn ($6.3m)on SD and High definition (HD) studios for super sports and M-net expended over N185m to launch W4 satellite, N9bn ($56m) in sports production.
We have also invested over $30m(N4.8m) in mobile technology, especially in Digital Terrestial Tv(DTT) Technology with the introduction of GOtv, which is currently in five states: Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Enugu and Edo.
“Multichoice is the first pay tv service provider to establish a national call centre, first to adapt the cashless economy, first company to introduce the PVR and HD PVR decoders, first to invest in a satellite uplink station in 2003 and the pioneer of Digital Satellite Pay Tv services in the country”.
While also explaining the company’s partnerships with the government bodies like Ministry of health, sports, education and private sector,which are meant to be benefitted by Nigerians.
On the issue of Multichoice offering a ‘ Pay as you watch’ ,Ugbe explained that it may be difficult from technology point of view, stressing that , pay as you watch was not practical and visible because it was one way communication unlike the telephony system.
He hinted that Multichoice has 234 resource centres in 24 states and plan to have additional 40 underway, to adopt N20m a school project annually and other routine support for industry stakeholders.