Startimes Pay Television: Hype Or Revolution?


If the claims of the management of Star Television Network Limited is anything to go by, it  appears that the kind of revolution that happened in the telecommunication sector of the  Nigerian economy is about to take place in the pay television sector.

At its official launch in Abuja early this year, the management of the technology company  which also pioneered pay television industry in China, promised Nigerians greater access to  pay television services at an unbelievably affordable price.

True to its words, Startimes Television Network Limited is now providing its customers with  over 35 cable television channels for just N1,000 monthly subscription.

Unlike other cable television services already operating in the country, Startimes uses  Digital Video Broadcast on Terrestrial (DVB-T), a new technology which does not require a  dish. It comes with just a decoder which is sold for N9,000. The technology guarantees  stable signal in bad weather conditions like gusty and rainy days. It also eliminates the  usual cost of installation.

Content wise, Startimes services comes with a package of  channels that focuses on movies,  documentaries, sports, kids/teens, musicals, religion and general entertainment.

There is no doubt that Startimes Cable Television services is a laudable revolution.  Subscribers of the service have testified to the effeciency of the package, while some,  however, are skeptic of the durability of the decoders and the continued efficiency of the  services.

Some say with the notoriety of Chinese products in the Nigerian market, the services may  just be a hype after all.

Responding to these fears, the Publicity Manager, Mr. Chidi Celestine Umeibe, assured  Nigerians that with what the owners of the company have put on ground in terms of  investment, it is in the country for quality and efficient service.

According to him, “we know the kind of fears that Nigerians have about Chinese products but  we want to assure them that we are here for good. We have a strong partnership with the  Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). In China, we have over  seven million subscribers and  the company has been in existence since 1988. We are also in many African countries and we  hope to spread to over 20 countries on the continent in the next five years.

“Also, we have other projects in line, so Nigerians should be assured that we are here for  good and that our services can only improve.”

Related News

Consumers’ Advocate critically examined most of the channels on the platform of the cable TV  company and discovered that over 45 per cent of the channels are our usual local stations.  Other foreign channels on the platform are free-to-air stations. The two sports stations on  the platform, NTA Sports and Setanta, do not feature the popular league games which is the  attraction of most sports lovers.

To some consumers who spoke to Consumers’ Advocate, the content may not be as fantastic  compared to other cable television providers in the country. Since most of the channels on  the network are free-to-air stations, some reason that it is just a clever idea to get  people’s money.

Responding to some of these observations, the company’s Media Manager said “we quite  understand the expectations of our subscribers. They want sports and we are working hard to  meet their expectations soon. However, we want them to understand that the reason we feature  local league matches is to encourage the country’s football development. As for the number  of channels we have currently on the network, some of them are free-to-air channels but that  does not, in any way, reduce the richness of the programmes featured on such channels.

A subscriber, Dan Shuaibu, who claims he has bee using the service for over two months, has  this to say about the service:

“Really, I think it is a fantastic service. At least, those of us who could not afford cable  television before, now have an opportunity to own one now. The content is okay but I think  they can improve. I am a sports lover and naturally I expect them to feature current league  matches. For now, the popular league games are not featured in any of the channels on their  network. Well since they are just starting, may be with time, they will improve.

Another subscriber Michael Adewale said he has been enjoying the cable television since he  bought it but that he would have loved it if premiership matches were featured in any of the  sports channels. “It’s a good service. The technology is commendable. I bought it about a  month ago and I must tell you that the service is good”

Linda Adams who has experienced a problem with the services said “I noticed during a  particular period that the film I was watching froze.  Maybe it was because I did not use an  external antennae but sometimes the channels keeps shaking.”

Explaining why Linda and other subscribers may be experiencing such problem, Celestine said  “some of our subscribers don’t follow the right instruction. We tell them to use external  antennae if they discover that the channels are not stable. We have been receiving a lot of  complaints from subscribers on some many issues and I am glad to tell you that we have been  able to resolve the entire problems for them. Besides, we have a customer care unit that is  very responsive.”

For now, Startimes appears to be doing well, Consumers’ Advocate hopes that the efficiency  of the network will not drop over time as have been the case with other cable television  providers in the country.

Load more