No going back on pay-as-you go, Reps tell Multichoice

…It’s not feasible –Multichoice


The House of Representatives yesterday insisted that the request for Multichoice, owners of DSTV, to implement the pay-as-you-go regime for its subscribers in the country was irreversible.


The House adhoc committee investigating the nonimplemntation of the policy headed by Hon. Idem Unyime (PDP, Akwa Ibom), made the disclosure at its sitting yesterday in Abuja. The committee directed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Multichoice, Mr. John Mgbe, who appeared before them to go back and liaise with his management to meet the demands of its subscribers.


“There is no going back on the demand for pay-as-you-go, so you have to go back and discuss with the board and management of Multichioce and get back to the committee,” Idem insisted. But responding to the committee’s insistence, Mgbe, said the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) billing model was not technically and commercially feasible in the pay television industry.


He explained out that Pay- Per-View (PPV) was often confused with PAYG, adding that the PAYG model used in the telecommunications sector was not the right fit for pay television.


According to him, PAYG in telecommunications was a metered service that ensured that consumers were billed only for the service they consume and not for a fixed period. Mgbe noted that PAYG was possible in the telecommunication industry, because it relied on a two-way communication system, which enabled operators to determine when a consumer was connected, the service consumed and duration of connection.


He stressed that satellite broadcasters, unlike telecommunications firms, cannot offer pay television services the same way, because satellite broadcasting was a one-way system and does not enable broadcasters determine when a subscriber was connected and/or watching or what channel was being viewed.


“It is only in instances where there is a two-way communication between the device at the subscriber’s home and the head end of the pay-TV service provider, which will enable the provider to determine when a subscriber is connected or not, that a billing system could be designed to take into cognisance the subscriber’s behaviour.


“For PAYG to be feasible, a total and global remodeling of the satellite broadcasting technical and billing architecture will have to be done. The result will be that consumers will have to pay much higher tariffs to access the service.


“The economics of scale model employed by broadcasters mean that subscribers pay less. We are yet to see a pay TV business anywhere in the world that does PAYG in the sense intended here.


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