Building on GOtv’s Democratisation of the Pay TV Market

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Raheem Akingbolu takes a look at the recent campaigns being used by the handlers of the GOtv to position it and reckons that the effort would go a long way in deepening its equity in the market

This week, promoters of GOtv, will roll out fresh campaigns that further re-establish the brand essence of the pay TV Company. As a platform that was introduced to democratise the market five years ago, the new set of campaigns are tailored towards consolidating its brand promise and aspiration.

With appropriate visual illustration and captivating messages, the campaigns play up the proposition of GOtv as well as speaking directly to the patrons of the brand. To further position the Pay TV Company as a family entertainment platform, the creative work touches on Africa Magic, Sports, Movies and other areas of interest. For instance, one of the campaigns; ‘TV Wey Go Totori You’ is cleverly used to celebrate the Africa Magic, which over the years has reconnected Africans and their culture through indigenous home videos and programmes that focuses on African culture and heritage. Another one; ‘TV that Gets You Energised’ is deplored to capture the sports channels on the platform. This is also believed to be strategic, considering the positive attitude of Nigerians to sports, especially football. For Nigerians who have passion for foreign movies, ‘the third one; ‘TV that Gets You Glued’ reflects on the international posture of the platform. Aside the messages and illustrations, the words are domesticated to create emotional connection between the brand and the target audience.
Through the campaign, GOtv promoters further showcase their strategy – Hyper-local; using local lingo, slangs and landmarks which their audience could relate to because the subscribers and targets are grassroots.

At the beginning
Multichoice Nigeria, a subsidiary of South Africa-based Multichoice Africa, owners of DSTV pay television, made an entry into the Nigerian market in 1994. The market dominance of DSTV was challenged by another pay television, HiTV on August 1, 2007. The then new entrant used Hypercable Digital Terrestrial technology and launched Direct to Home (DTH) Satellite technology.
It later broadcast its material only on satellite and was the first television platform in Africa to deploy Hypercable, a terrestrial pay per view TV decoder system. HiTV services were stopped in November 2011 due to financial difficulties. The company no longer exists today. Daarsat, another pay TV platform, came but went into extinction in 2009. It resurfaced in 2010 but despite the re-entry, the impact was not felt.

And so, DSTV became the only dominant player in the pay TV market. It was believed in some quarters to be a luxury brand that could not be afforded by many Nigerians. This sentiment was on till the year 2010, when StarTimes hit the market.

At the Abuja lunch of StarTimes, its promoters promised that it would make pay TV a common man companion. The company, which also pioneered pay television industry in China, promised Nigerians greater access to pay television services at a cheaper price. In line with the brand promise, StarTimes Television Network Limited, then, provided its customers with over 35 cable television channels for just N1, 000 monthly subscriptions. Unlike other cable television services already operating in the country, StarTimes introduced Digital Video Broadcast on Terrestrial (DVB-T), a technology, which does not require a dish. It then came with just a decoder, which was sold for N9,000.

This technology, which requires no dish, couple with minimal effect on the pocket, made many subscribers to see StarTimes as an alternative to DSTV. As a matter of fact, owners of StarTimes, NTA-Star TV Network, were so clever in their communications materials subscribers that StarTimes is not on the same technology platform with DSTV.
So, many subscribers “rushed” for Star- Times, only to realise that it was not the same as DSTV. Nevertheless, the “damage” has been done. StarTimes was eating deeply into the pay TV market especially among the low income earners, that is, the mass market.
Some subscribers, again, complained that StarTimes failed in its promise for more local language channels.

Apparently in response to StarTimes “feeding” heavily on the mass market, in early 2012, GOtv was introduced into the market in 2011 to change the game. In what looked like a deliberate strategy to create a bond between the brand and grassroots market, its first launch took place in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State.

Like StarTimes, the Pay-TV service does not require a satellite dish and installation cost except a decoder and a grid antenna. It was first launched in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. GOtv was then described as “a low cost digital television service, offering the greatest selection of local channels, made in Africa for Africans as well as the best international channels,”
From the beginning, the message was simple; it was GO…a clarion call to GO…get a digital decoder and join in the digital migration, enjoy crystal clear pictures & sound, as well as enjoying quality entertainment at an affordable price.

The TV service, at inception, offered many multiple channels at friendly prices. For instance, GOtv Plus: 33 channels was offered at N1, 500 while its 26 channels was offered at N1, 000 only. It was sold for N9, 900, that is for decoder and indoor antenna only.

One major plus for the brand was that it played a pioneering role in digital migration from inception. It was the first to launch the approved DVB-T2 decoders in Nigeria in 2011. It was also the first DTT pay-TV to carry radio channels on its platform – Wazobia FM and Naija FM 102.7.

Knowing well that HiTV and StarTimes had failed Nigerians in the area of customer services, promoters of GOtv began operation with door-to-door customer service scheme, tagged GOtv Sabimen. They also started empowering scheme for youths through the GOtv Canvasser Scheme as well as supporting the development of sports in Nigeria.
Another step taken to penetrate the market was the sudden revival of professional boxing through the GOtv Boxing Night launched in November 2014. So far, eight of such events have been held. In the same way, the brand has consistently sponsored grassroots football club – Ikorodu United FC.
Three years after the launch, the brand had become a leader in the DTT space with many subscribers attesting to the fact that it was a complete companion and choice of channels which they enjoyed with family and friends. It was also viewed as a new journey of escapism and part of their lives. In a way, this insight that GOtv is ‘more than entertainment’ led to a brand refresh, hence the change in pay-off and re-naming of the lower-tier bouquet from GOtv to GOtv Value.

The brand today
Five years after, over 50 cities in 24 states and the FCT are now connected to GOtv. In all, the pay TV has three bouquets, the GOtv Plus, which is 50 channels cost N1,800 monthly, GOtv Value, with over 25 channels attract N1,200 monthly while GOtv Lite, its new offering with over 18 channels can be enjoyed with just N400 monthly.
At the unveiling of the GOtv Lite, it was stated that it was part of the build up to its fifth anniversary celebration next month. The offering which came with a new package also came with a new look, packaged to offer subscribers the best.

The new look of the digital terrestrial pay-TV brand is believed to be more vibrant and captures various emotions which the organisation’s compelling content arouse in its subscribers.
The GOtv Lite package tagged ‘Small Pepper’ is believed to be the most affordable pay-tv package in Nigeria. The new package offers over 20 carefully selected international and local channels and it gives customers the flexibility to choose one of three payment options; N400 monthly, N1050 quarterly or N3100 for one year.

As the brand looks into the future with more promises, theGeneral Manager, GOtv, Akinola Salu, has stated that it would be irresistible and that subscribers cannot stop talking about it.
“Football gets our subscribers ‘GOgetters’ bonding, jumping and hugging, the cartoons get GOkids laughing and learning and the telenovelas get GOgetters bonding and glued to their screens,”
He also added that the religious content gets GOgetters lifted, praising, while the music content gets GOgetters dancing. All these, according to him, informed while the company rolled out new set of campaigns to capture these emotions.
With a promise of more channels, same great digital quality and the best content available on DTT, the future appears bright for the brand and great challenge for competitions.