The Chairman of MultiChoice Nigeria, Adewunmi Ogunsanya (SAN), has debunked the widely held notion that the company has monopolised the Pay TV industry in Nigeria.
In a rare interview with ThisDay newspaper on Sunday July 5, Ogunsanya said many misinterpret the size of the company as the biggest in the industry to mean it has monopolised the Pay TV sector in Nigeria. The right word to describe MultiChoice, according to him, would be a dominant player.
Despite the presence of other cable television service providers in the country like StarTimes (the cable arm of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) owned by the Federal Government) and other defunct operators like HiTV, TSTV, FSTV, DaarSat among others that couldn’t stand the test of time before winding up, there have been debates over the preference for MultiChoice by Nigerians.
While the preference is largely due to DStv’s massive entertainment and sports catalogue which have endeared many Nigerians to the operator in over two decades, there have been series of criticisms and campaigns against the company’s dominance.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while appearing before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee, in Abuja on Tuesday June 30, also said the Nigerian government had amended Nigeria’s broadcasting code to prevent DStv and others from monopolising their channels and contents.
Ogunsanya noted that he understands that MultiChoice Nigeria has become a victim of its own success, but it will be wrong to claim that the company has monopolised the sector, “we may be referred to as a dominant player perhaps, but a monopoly is not a fit and proper way to refer to us,” he said.
Explaining how MultiChoice became dominant in the sector in the last 27 years of operating in Nigeria, he said “we are the biggest player in our sector because we have always invested the most resources over a long period. We have stayed the course over years of investing and getting nothing or very little. That gives us an edge like it should, but we are certainly not a monopoly.”
‘‘Other pay TV concerns have also won and lost the right to, just as we have won and lost in the past.”
“The content market is an open international market open to competitive bidding,” he added. “Nothing is done in secret. We all go there, MultiChoice and the other companies which operate in the sector. We all bid. Sometimes, we lose, but some of the time, we win.”
He, however, wondered if MultiChoice should deliberately lose in the bidding process “just so that we do not get referred to as a monopoly?”