Dstv Subscribers Get Less Value For Money

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Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

MultiChoice Namibia can run, hide, duck or scurry around but nothing short of giving DStv subscribers their monies’ worth would satisfy them.

In fact, so far, MultiChoice’s attitude seems to be “do with what we give you”.

This is at best not a very businesslike attitude and at worst nothing but trampling on the very same subscribers that keep the company in business.

To say the least, the company owes these subscribers big time. It has taken away a service they have been paying for without a commensurate reduction in the subscription fees at best, or in the least without forewarning them and explaining duly and in good time what was afoot.

On the contrary, what one sees from the company is continued propaganda to the effect: “Riveting Line UP Soccer on SuperSport”. It is not enough for MultiChoice to explain to subscribers that it has been outbid.

The bottom line is that they are no longer able to provide the service they have promised subscribers and the very product the subscribers want. If they cannot do that, simply why should the subscribers continue to pay fees at the rate they have been for a much-reduced service if one has to consider that subscribers would now only be able to see 20 percent of the English Premier League matches?

August 11, 2007 will go down in the annals of history in this country as the day when the NBC pulled it off. How it did it, perhaps we shall never know it until one day. On this day, the national broadcaster came to the rescue of many soccer lovers in the country, especially subscribers to DStv. It brought into their homes and onto their television screens, one of the much-awaited matches of the opening matches in the EPL between Aston Villa and Liverpool.

Liverpool is one of the top-flight teams of the EPL. Thus any of their features is a must-watch for many soccer lovers. However, this match was for thousands of DStv subscribers and soccer lovers in this country all of a sudden out of reach.

Due to recent changes, Namibian subscribers and subscribers on the continent are no more valued subscribers of the pay satellite television as far as the bulk of the EPL fixtures are concerned.

Unlike their South African counterparts, they can only see 20 percent of these matches and have been barred access to SuperSport channels three (23), four (24) and five (25), the very channels that have been their staple food channels the last few years. This, we are made to understand, is because DStv no longer have broadcasting rights (fit for us).

As a result on Saturday Namibian DStv subscribers had to be content with only one live EPL match. This was of lesser interest for that matter in the eyes of most subscribers and soccer lovers.

Thus the inauguration of the NBC-tv EPL matches could not have come at a better time as delayed as the feed may have been. Albeit for only that Saturday, NBC-tv was the darling of Namibian soccer lovers, and even of DStv subscribers. What effect these would have on DStv subscriptions in Namibia remains to be seen as much as the NBC-tv would only be showing one match a weekend.

One thing is certain, most DStv subscribers feel hard done by, if not cheated outright and taken for a complete ride. Most disheartening, MultiChoice Namibia seems to care little scoffing it off and boasting with more soccer while at the same time saying there is nothing it can do about it.

It looks like the DStv flagship soccer channel, Channel 23, which on the face of it remains the DStv premier soccer showpiece channel, is no longer available to the rest of DStv subscribers in Namibia, and part of the Continent but now a privilege of the South African DStv subscribers.

Worst MultiChoice Namibia has been pretending to have given Namibian subscribers a notice of the implications of the change in channels.

The issue is not so much whether subscribers were notified or not. The issue is that they are expected to pay same subscription fees for less value. Well, one thing is clear with the “rights” saga, and MultiChoice Namibia should now be aware.

They have been paying for a full or near to full bouquet of EPL matches.
Thus absence of these matches or a strict diet thereof as it seems to be the case now, is less value or close to zero value for their money. This is the gist of the dissatisfaction. Subscribers, I am sure, do not expect a quick fix to this.

Equally, they cannot be expected to accept without a moan the hastened and hackneyed explanation by MultiChoice Namibia that there is nothing it can do about it. Less so to the arrogant “take it or leave it” posturing of MultiChoice Namibia. As far as I am concerned, MultiChoice Namibia is in breach of service delivery to its subscribers and the “nothing” or “take/leave it” attitude cannot help it.

De-subscribing is not the immediate attitude of subscribers but if this is the only option that MultiChoice seems to be throwing in their faces, then they do not have much of an option.

It was unknown to most subscribers that channel 17 and 18 would only be shadows of Channel 23 and that Namibians and the rest of the continent would thereby kiss soccer as they have come to know it on DStv goodbye.

Candidly speaking, Namibians and the rest of the continent feel betrayed.

One would have expected MultiChoice as a pay channel to consider the best interests of its subscribers and by extension that of its own.

The raw deal subscribers seem to have gotten lately tells a different story of the inability of the operators to stand for the best interests of subscribers in the dirty politics of soccer broadcasting rights.

It seems that affording is no longer the key to access in the face of extortions for exorbitant fees for broadcasting rights.

The efforts by SuperSport to get a better deal notwithstanding, a fool can realise that what Namibians can access now with the two channels at its disposal is nothing but only a shadow of Channel 23.

It boggles the mind why it may be difficult for Namibian subscribers to have the same package as their South African subscribers, even if it is at a slightly higher subscription fee.

Partial rights, whatever this means, are the ready-baked answer from MultiChoice to this debacle. I am sure most people when they subscribed to DStv did so given a specific package including Channel 23, and attendant channels showing live EPL matches. Only to find down the line this package is no more.

This shows that MultiChoice have little appreciation and respect for its Namibian and continental subscribers.

Should that be the case, one sees little reason why Namibian subscribers should continue to support it? I am sure many subscribers out there, here and on the continent, are dying for the return of their full soccer bouquet.

MultiChoice should be in the better know and adopt the correct attitude that will make subscribers sympathise with its predicament.

This is not the subscribers’ predicament but MultiChoice’s that has left them in suspension but continues to pocket their subscriptions without compunction.

If MultiChoice Namibia think subscribers do not have an alternative, it has got it completely wrong!

It is also interesting and ironic that GTV, the very same company that should logically been channelling their rights through SuperSport and DStv are now seeking broadcasting rights in Namibia from the Namibia Communications Commission. As subscribers, shouldn’t we also worry of their being here that smacks of holding us hostage?

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