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The Future is Messy, End of Pay-Tv as We Knew It



David Abraham, founder of Wonderhood Studios on the value chain of pay-TV has offered insights into the trends observed and how audiences across Africa are changing.


Abraham who spoke at the second day of the Digital Dialogue conference, a thought-leadership platform facilitated by MultiChoice, shared his varied experience running TV channels in the UK and the US between 2001 and 2017 – explaining how the environment for content and channel providers evolved from the early days of digital TV to the much more complex internet-based distribution environment we see today.


According to Abraham, the past used to be all about a battle between free TV and service providers’ intent on building pay-walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote ‘big basic’ monthly subscriptions and minimise monthly churn of customers.


Then came broadband as an additional service to lock in customer loyalty, followed by mobile. “The old walls of traditional pay TV are now tumbling down and what’s coming next is infinitely more fragmented, and messy”, he remarked.


Telecoms providers compete with content platforms to build customer loyalty with original content and rights in a world where global digital competition is intensifying traditional competitive boundaries yet further. The question remains whether consumers will be able to navigate between so many different providers to find the best content in this more crowded forest of choice.


Abraham reviewed the key recent trends in UK, European and US pay TV and his talk offered a look into the future – looking at potential new models such as ‘quasi-linear’ and ‘post cable’ channels; the growth of emerging market platforms such as iflix and will consider what the long-term impact of blockchain technology could be on future models of pay TV consumption and distribution.


Abraham concluded his talk by stating that although the future is uncertain, there are many opportunities for content exploration amongst African audiences: “The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution”.





Note to Editors:


  • For more information, please visit and follow the social media conversation on the hashtag #DigitalDialogue2018 and tag Instagram: MultiChoice Africa; Twitter: MultiChoiceAF; Facebook: MultiChoice Africa.


Speaker Bio: David Abraham – Chief Executive of Wonderhood Studios


David has spent the past three decades working at the intersection of leadership, commerce and creativity in the UK and the United States. He is regularly cited as a prominent media executive in lists published by Variety, The Telegraph, Debretts, The Evening Standard and The Guardian. As Chief Executive of Channel 4 between 2010 and 2017 he led the organisation through a prolonged period of creative and brand renewal and public remit delivery – while also posting record revenues of £1bn in 2015 and 2016. During his tenure Channel 4 ended its reliance on Big Brother and delivered a diversified schedule including shows such as Gogglebox, The Last Leg and Educating Yorkshire. The Channel also successfully delivered the largest events in its history – the London and Rio Paralympic Games and began broadcasting Formula 1 and The Great British Bake Off while winning multiple BAFTAs and Channel of the Year Awards. David has many years of experience operating at the sharp end of editorial risk-taking in all genres of TV and film including investigative journalism, news, current affairs, comedy, drama and live events. Under his leadership Channel 4 also navigated through profound digital change by building an industry leading data strategy which today engages over 15m people across the UK via its All4 platform. Prior to Channel 4, David led UKTV where he launched its biggest Channel, Dave, (which is not in fact named after himself) and spent several years in the United States running TLC, a major cable network. David was also closely involved in the digital expansion of Discovery Channels in the UK and Europe in the early 2000’s. David has recently announced that he will be launching Wonderhood Studios in June 2018 in London.


About the Digital Dialogue Conference:


The 2018 Digital Dialogue Conference is a thought leadership platform facilitated by MultiChoice Africa in order to foster a better understanding of the future direction of the video entertainment industry in Africa. This is the 5th edition of the conference which was established in 2012 to create a better understanding of Digital Migration and its impact on Africa’s digital landscape. Since then, the independent and growing platform has been critical in fostering a better understanding and building knowledge on video entertainment and Digital terrestrial markets while creating necessary conversations with thought leaders about various industry-related issues.


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DSTV Insists on Monthly Contract, Rules Out Pay-As-You-View System



Multichoice, owners of DSTV would not operate the “pay as you view’’ tariff system in Nigeria, according to Martin Mabutho, chief customer officer of Multichoice.


Mabutho’s stance came against the backdrop of persistent clamour by the company’s subscribers for the introduction of a pay as you view tariff plan in the country.


“We are not going to introduce pay as you view system. Our contract with our suppliers is on month to month basis,’’ he said.

“The issue of not introducing pay as you view remains. Nothing will change it. We are not going to do it. Our contract with our suppliers is on month to month basis. The channels do not belong to Multichoice. What we do is to slash our prices in half to make our customers enjoy our services.’’


Mabutho said Multichoice would continue to give acquisition promos or loyalty promos to customers every quarter as incentives.


Customers pay on month to month basis to enjoy the services of the company whether channels are watched or not. Multichoice opened shop in Nigeria in 1994.


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FG Launches Project To Provide Satellite TV to 1,000 Villages



Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has launched the 1,000 Villages Satellite TV Project, which is part of the Chinese government-sponsored ‘Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages Project’.

Launching the project at a ceremony in Kpaduma village, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Monday, the Minister recalled that Chinese President Xi Jiping announced the ‘Access To Satellite TV For 10,000 African Villages’ during the 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said under the project, each of the 1,000 carefully-chosen villages in Nigeria will receive 2 sets of solar powered projector television systems and 1 set of solar 32-inch digital TV integrated terminal system.

Alhaji Mohammed also said 20 recipient families with TV in each village will be provided with 20 sets of direct broadcast satellite terminal system free of charge, adding that viewers in each village provided with the projector TV system will enjoy 21 satellite channels free of charge, while each of the 20 recipient families will have access to 33 satellite TV channels free of charge for two months.

After the expiration of the two months, he said, viewers can continue to enjoy access to the 33 channels by paying N900 per month, or enjoy limited access without payment.

The Minister said the project complements the efforts of the Buhari Administration at democratizing access to information and entertainment through the Digital Switch Over (DSO) for television which has now been rolled out in the several states and the FCT.

He urged the satellite TV implementation agency, StarTimes, to expedite the installation of the TV satellite system to cover the entire country in order to give the people opportunity to be informed on the policies and programmes of the candidates for the various elective positions in the 2019 general elections.

“The 1,000 villages project could not have come at a better time. In just a little over one month, Nigerians will be voting in the 2019 general elections. They need access to information now, more than at any other time, to know about the over 70 political parties that will be participating in the elections as well as about their various candidates,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

The Minister commended the Chinese government for the project which, he said, will undoubtedly strengthen the already very cordial China-Nigeria relations.

In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, who pledged the commitment of China to implementing the outcome of the FOCAC, said Nigeria and China are working closely to ensure access to information through television and satellite technology.

“StarTimes is now working to ensure access and besides access, China and Nigeria are also working very closely on TV and on Satellite. We are building the Made-in-Nigeria TV sets,” he said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of StarTimes, Mr. Justin Zhang, said the implementation of the project will create more jobs as Nigerians across the 1,000 villages have been trained on how to install, recharge and operate the Satellite TV system.

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Broadcaster Abducted in Calabar over 2019 Elections Comments



Peter Etim, popularly called Petex, a broadcaster with the state-owned Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, (CRBC), has been abducted in Calabar.


Irene Igbo, DSS and PPRO of the state police command,said they were aware of the kidnap, and were working to establish contact with the kidnappers.


The incident was said to have happened early in the morning when the victim was about to leave his house to his work place.


Comrade Victor Ndu, chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists in Cross River State, has condemned the kidnap of the ace broadcaster and called for immediate release of Petex.


Ndu called on the security agencies in the state to wake up to their duties.


It is suspected that Petex may have made a political statement that was not palatable.

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