DStv Announces Largest Offering of New products, Programmes and Value  Bundles in over 10 Years | Innovation Village | Technology, Product  Reviews, Business

Adeyinka Davies

As of March 2021, there are 144 million Internet subscriptions in Nigeria according to the sole regulatory body of the country’s telecommunications industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). There is also the part that mobile is the first point of connecting to the Internet for most Nigerians, as with the rest of the continent.

Aside from Internet penetration in the country, mobile is another major trend since the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) spectrum licences were first auctioned by NCC in 2001. A move that has been of great importance, cellular subscriptions grew from less than half a million in 2001 to more than 200 million as of January 2021. And the quarterly contribution of the telecommunications industry to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) can be as high as 14.3%.

Industries like financial services, education among others have since been riding on the convenience part of Internet and mobile technology to offer their products and services. The pay-TV industry is not left out in the drive to use mobile technology, which is evident in activities of some players in the African market over the past.

Having established an edge in the pay-TV industry in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region, DStv has gone beyond serving its subscribers through a television set. And this did not start within the last couple of years.

MultiChoice Group-owned DStv has over the years been making use of mobile technology to serve its subscribers and at a rate that no other player in Africa’s pay-TV industry could beat, a drive which can best be considered as the path to maintaining its leadership status in the satellite television market in Nigeria, and by extension in Africa.

Defunct products like the DStv Walka and Drifta are part of the past moves by DStv to serve subscribers at their convenience. Walka was launched as a handheld device to enrich the mobile TV viewing experience of DStv subscribers. Drifta, which can best be described as a sort of mobile television decoder, converts DVB-H signal to Wi-Fi signal to allow Wi-Fi enabled devices access content on DStv.

DStv’s parent company hasn’t relented on its effort to maintain leadership position in Africa’s entertainment industry with its innovative moves in the use of technology. In 2014, DStv launched DStv Now as a mobile-first product for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The “Now” in the name has since been dropped.

The GSM Association (GSMA) puts the number of smartphones in the country at 23.3 million as of 2019, a figure that is expected to grow to 154 million by 2025. Increasing smartphone penetration in Nigeria is an important factor for the video streaming market in the country, a trend that DStv is riding on to keep subscribers entertained while also expanding its subscriber base.

DStv has since added the DStv app to smart TVs, Apple TV, and media players running Android TV, pointing to the fact that MultiChoice is playing the game of meeting the consumers where they are.

Worthy of note is that StarTimes also has a mobile app, the StarTimes On. StarTimes On is more of a standalone app as one can use the app without a StarTimes decoder. In the case of the DStv app, it is currently being treated as an online version or an extension of DStv as an active subscription is required.

The DStv app allows two streams on separate devices at the same time, excluding watching on the television via the decoder. There’s a small selection of content available for non-subscribers of DStv on the mobile app.

In 2019, MultiChoice revealed plans to separate the DStv app from its satellite TV and start testing it as a standalone service, to make it possible for non-subscribers to enjoy the mobile app to the fullest with a subscription different from the satellite TV subscription.

Beyond using mobile technology to provide premium content to subscribers, DStv subscribers also enjoy better customer services through channels like myDStv app, WhatsApp, USSD channels among others.

DStv has been constantly riding on technology towards expanding its coverage over the last two decades which is only smart considering the amount that the company has been spending on producing original content and acquiring content rights.

Most of the past products of DStv have been around mobile technology, emphasising its importance in Africa while aligning with the claim that Africa is a mobile-first market.

The mobile technology gaining prominence on the continent in the early 2000s was accompanied by a change in consumer behaviour which industries like healthcare, online retail, mobility and logistics are tapping into to better serve their users and customers alike.

Even though the launch of DStv predated mobile technology prominence, the pay-tv company has been aggressive on the drive to use mobile technology to disrupt the African pay-TV industry. DStv’s past moves have positioned DStv in the same light as video-on-demand (VoD) platforms like Netflix and Showmax.

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