On Thursday, October 19 2017, StarTimes took to its official Twitter handle @startimes_ng to announce that it was commencing Pay Per Day service in a series of tweets.
No surprises as the news was well received by many Nigerians online and social media, with many celebrating what they felt was a move forced by the fiasco of TSTV. For so many Nigerians, they have waited for a day when the Globacom of the Pay TV sub-sector of the broadcast industry will make an entry.
But many questions remained unanswered.
Questions like why now? Why StarTimes? Why Nov 1st? Why N60 daily? All of these have been asked on social media with very little answers available as the company is yet to issue an official statement with details of the plan.
Some people have argued that StarTimes have been in operations for over 7 years and is no longer a new comer in the industry. So why is the pay per day announcement coming now?
Why not a year or 2 earlier, especially since the company claims to have been offering this service in other African countries. Why was the implementation in Nigeria delayed?
Truthfully, if any cable TV operator was expected to introduce the par per day following the pledges and promises of TSTV, it would have been DSTV or Go-TV, since the agitation of most Nigerians was heard towards them due to perceived high pricing and alleged monopoly in the industry.
For most stakeholders, subscribers, critics and the ordinary Nigerian, StarTimes was not the problem for them, in fact nobody joined issues with StarTimes when it came to providing affordable entertainment for Nigerians, partly because their pricing was fair enough.
So, when the announcement was made that faithful morning, it came as a good shock in the morning of October 19 when the announcement came from StarTimes, an announcement that set social media agog, one made on the same day Kwese TV, a new kid on the block was having their official launch press conference. Was this deliberate, to reduce the media share of voice Kwese receives on the day they launch or just another co-incidence?
Why November 1st?
Really, why November 1st? Isn't this the same day the other operator promised to launch? Something is fishy here. Or is this just another coincidence? StarTimes Demand Soars!
Since the announcement was made on October 19th, the demand for StarTimes and general interest in the company has risen dramatically. Some social media users went as far as taking pictures of themselves purchasing the decoders at subsidised rates and with a promise to enjoy 1 month free view.
An inquiry from 2 dealer partners in Lagos mainland indicated a 9% hike in product demand. Can one attribute this to the new pay per view package or just the ripple effect of the publicity the company has enjoyed in past week?
Why 60 Naira Daily?
While we celebrate, let’s ask ourselves questions before we accept a greek gift. Why so cheap? N60 is a very affordable rate by any standard. These days, N60 cannot even buy you a bottle of drink in traffic or any store.
Why would StarTimes offer their daily subscription at such a cheap rate? is there more to it than meets the eye? A quick check on the company website reveals little information about the new package. Why so much secrecy?
In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see what details are made available on November 1st. It is my hope that this is not just another appetiser or publicity stunt, something similar to what we experienced in September, when TSTV came with bags of undelivered promises.