New Possibilities for Pay-TV Subscribers

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By Wilson Akperi

At a press conference jointly addressed by leading video entertainment company, MultiChoice Nigeria, and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in June, new possibilities for pay-television subscribers were announced. These possibilities, to which MultiChoice immediately committed, came in form of new consumer-focused and service improvement initiatives. The products of months of engagement between CPC and MultiChoice, the new initiatives underline the video entertainment company’s sensitivity to subscribers’ demands and commitment to improved service delivery.

The two attributes were attested to by the CPC which, at the press conference, expressed satisfaction with MultiChoice’s readiness to implement the initiatives and confidence that the company would address issues raised by its subscribers.

“The mandate of the council is to ensure that customers’ rights and interests are protected. The CPC has been working with MultiChoice Nigeria in achieving this and we are confident that the issues have been addressed,” Mrs. Dupe Atoki, CPC Director-General, said at the press conference in Lagos.

The press conference preceded the implementation of the new initiatives, which include the introduction of toll-free lines for easy access to MultiChoice call centres, extension of the working hours of the call centres, which now function between 8am and 9pm daily, including on weekends and public holidays; access to a Free-To-Air (FTA) channel at the expiration of subscription and the option to put service on hold when subscribers are not at home, making MultiChoice the first pay-TV service provider to implement such customer-focused initiatives in Nigeria.

What the last item mentioned implies is that upon request, subscribers can now suspend their accounts while they are away from home to ensure that the accounts are not running while they are not available to watch. This requires a 48-hour notice to MultiChoice and is available for a fixed period of between seven to 14 days twice yearly.

Subscribers can also now access the Nigerian Television Authority International (NTAi) channel, which MultiChoice has made available as the Free-To-Air channel, at the expiration of their subscription. This is in accordance with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) code, which mandates pay-television operators to carry an FTA in their areas of coverage in public interest.

The extension of operating hours of the MultiChoice call centres from 8am to 9pm daily, including weekends and public holidays, similarly gives subscribers considerably longer time and wider space to reach MultiChoice with complaints about DStv or GOtv service and obtain solutions to such.

The toll-free lines free subscribers from incurring phone bills while trying to resolve issues related to MultiChoice services. They also offer easier access, given that the phone lines include one on the four major mobile telephone networks in the country. For Etisalat users, the number to call is 09090630333, while Airtel users can reach the call centre on 07080630333. MTN users have 08149860333 to reach MultiChoice, while Glo users have 08113630333.

Speaking on the new initiatives, Mr. John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “Over the past year, we have worked closely with the CPC to identify our customers’ areas of need and made a commitment towards implementing solutions that will resonate with our customers and lead to improved customer service. We put our customers first

at all times and we hold them in very high esteem. We are committed to delivering world class service to our customers and we are proud to state that we are the first video entertainment provider in Nigeria to implement these service improvement initiatives.”

Earlier in the year, MultiChoice improved its content offering on DStv Compact, its mid-tier DStv bouquet, ensuring greater value for subscribers. In addition, it offered DStv subscribers an open week, during which subscribers have access to DStv Premium content irrespective of their subscription status.