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Near Monopoly: Multichoice’s GOTV ambushes Startimes

Competition is good for businesses and it helps to grow the economy, and bring out the best in companies, as well as help create employment, but sometimes it has the tendency to breed monopoly. The entry of Multichoice and other pay-TV channels into the Nigeria pay television market was a welcome development.

Months back, when GOTV was launched in Lagos to compete in the PayTV market, the new brand was to ride on the  back of the latest Digital Broadcast; (DVB-T2) technology.  Before now, the brand had launched in Ibadan, Enugu, Port Harcourt and other African countries. The brand’s entry strategy, which is affordable pricing was laudable. Other strategies employed  were patriotism, channel variety and superior technological platform. All these were deliberate to rival StarTimes.

Interestingly, StarTimes, also equipped with all the characteristics of GOTV even though  consumers have given GOTV the  chance to succeed where brands like DaarSat, Infiniti TV, Trend TV, FlySat TV, HITV and FSTV had failed.

GOTV like every new product, has embarked on aggressive media campaign not only to fight for market share but also for the share of the voice. While the brand’s payoff clearly says ‘entertaining Africa’, its core message in the Lagos market is Lagos for show apparently coined from the popular Eko for show mantra.

The campaign is hinged on the fact that it has 30+ channels, superior technology driven by patriotism and affordability. However, the brand promoters and perhaps the advertising agency that created this campaign, has not been able to sell one thing that distinguishes GOTV from StarTimes except the fact that GOTV is championed by MultiChoice, operators of DStv against an NTA-driven StarTimes.

Another worrisome communications strategy is that the brand may tend to continue to attach a particular city to itself as it expands. For instance, the Lagos for Show mantra; what happens where brand is extended to other states? The branding of houses remains another strategy deployed by GOTV.

But as Mr. Pang Xin Xing, Chairman, Startimes Group said during the second anniversary of the  company, in the last  two years, the vision of enabling every Nigerian household to afford digital TV, to watch digital TV and enjoy digital TV, NTA-STAR has already set up the DTT network in nine cities, including Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Benin, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba, offering clear and rich digital TV programmes to Nigerians at affordable price and providing digital TV transmission service for national TV and private TV stations.

GOTV is not also very clear with its brand promise. Unlike HiTV whose introduction was hinged on English Premier League and Champions League and StarTimes on affordability, GOTV is talking about several things that seem to put consumers at crossroads.

DaarSat suffered a disastrous end due to non-focused communication strategy. The same can be said of HiTV, which due to stiff competition from DStv brands like FSTV, Trend TV, Infiniti TV and many others, has not been able to see the light of day.

It has also been said that GOtv was introduced by MultiChoice to wrestle the low end segment of the market currently being controlled by StarTimes.


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