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TBT: Remembering HiTV as TSTV comes to town

It appears a stiff competition is going to happen in the Digital Satellite Television, DSTV space in a few months, as a new cable satellite television operator, TSTV comes to town.

The only time this kind of brewing competition happened in that space was between 2007 and 2011 when Entertainment Highway, owners of the defunct High Television, HiTV, had a brief stint in the industry, giving Multichoice a run for its money.

HiTV, on August 1, 2007 launched its multi-channel digital satellite television service in Nigeria using Hypercable  Digital Terrestrial technology  and launched Direct to Home (DTH) Satellite technology.

It later broadcast its material only on satellite at the price of N3, 500 monthly. It was the first television platform in Africa  to deploy Hypercable, a terrestrial pay-per-view TV decoder system.

However, the satellite television operator’s services eventually crashed in November 2011 due to financial difficulties.

Prior to the coming of HiTV, Multichoice enjoyed maximum monopoly, having exclusive right to show the English Premier League games in Nigeria.  Due to the huge followership of that football league in Nigeria, it appears to be the major attraction for cable operators and those who don’t have the right, scramble for crumbs, which amounts to nothing, anyway.

HiTv instantly became a force to reckon with when it surprisingly grabbed the rights to the 2008/2009 Premier League season. By the end of that season, it has become the leader, having 80 percent of Premier League coverage in Nigeria, while MultiChoice owns rights to the other 20 percent.

It however, was not able to pay up or provide bank guarantee when it won the rights again the next season and lurking behind, in case of any eventuality, Multichoice, immediately seized the opportunity to pay up as the second preferred bidder.

So, taking back the right in 2010, Multichoice has continued the monopoly which cumulatively has lasted for more than two decades.

But, just like in 2007 when HiTV crept in, Multichoice’s hold on the market once again, appears threatened with the coming of TSTV.

Telcoms Satellite TV, better known as TSTV  launched October 1, 2017, with a promise to serve Nigerians a bouquet of services with some form of flexibility and affordability that no other PayTV operator has given.

Besides, the operator has also lined up array of powerful contents and channels like sports, entertainment, news and others which it promises to deliver on pay-per view model, in order to bring a new dimension to the competition

Although the operator did not reveal how it is going to do it, it promised to show the EPL games, which right is currently exclusive to Multichoice.

TSTV, is said to have a lot of factors to favour its survival in the industry. One of it is that it is owned by ABS, known to be led by a management team of talented and experienced professionals, and offers a complete range of End-to-End solutions including Direct to Home (DTH), Cable TV distribution (CATV), Cellular Backhaul, VSAT and Internet Backbone services with diverse IP transit through its European, Middle East and Asian internet gateways.

Another is that it has secured government support. After launch in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced that TSTV will enjoy a pioneer status with a three-year tax relief, adding that it will help the company quickly redefine the market. He also expressed conviction that the new PayTV platform, will crash the price of PayTV  in the country.

He said: “You have come at a very good time because this government only recently granted a pioneer status to the Creative Industry and what this means is that you will be entitled to a three-year tax relief and all your investors will not pay any tax dividends,” he added.

He revealed that the Creative Industry played

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