DStv, GOtv subscribers express mixed feelings on Multichoice’s decision to air AFCON matches
By Seun Johnson
Mixed reactions have continued to greet the decision of Multichoice to broadcast all the 52 matches that will be played at the 2023 African Cup of Nations, which commenced last weekend in Côte d’Ivoire.
The South African Cable TV outfit, which operates DStv and Gotv, had announced on January 3rd that its SuperSport Channels would not be airing the continental showpiece after losing the broadcasting rights to New World TV, a Togolese-based Satellite TV group that started operation in 2015.
The development sent a wave of disappointment to millions of its viewers, especially in Nigeria who had initially hoped to enjoy the action-packed football fiesta through the multiple sport channels on DStv and Gotv.
Reacting to the update, a subscriber, Dele Awogbami upon realizing his hope of watching the matches on his DStv package has been dashed, asked on his Facebook page on January 4th: “Any hope of watching the AFCON?”
In a deluge of responses by his fervent friends who are football fans, he was advised to get a Startime decoder, saying they have already activated their decoders that were lying fallow over the years.
Other subscribers, who found themselves in the same dilemma, also claimed to have sourced for other options of viewing the football fiesta ahead of time without having to brood over the reason cited by Multichoice not to air it.
While the search for alternative channels to watch the biennial tournament became rife among soccer enthusiasts, Multichoice made a U-turn on Wednesday evening, stating that it would be broadcasting the matches through its Supersport channels after it had successfully secured the rights.
Although, the latest decision which was coming exactly a week after its previous announcement served as a soothing balm to some of its viewers, several other football lovers, however, believed that the company ought to have been patient a little more to know if the deal would eventually sail through or not before issuing the earlier statement.
A GOtv subscriber, Charles Ejike, who claimed his subscription expired on January 4th, noted that he had already reactivated his Startime decoder since January 5th after it was announced that Supersport wouldn’t be showing the matches. He also confirmed that there are several other people that have toed the same path with him. As a matter of fact, Ejike claimed that he told five people in his neighborhood the process of activating and re-activating their startime decoders to be able to watch the matches.
“How would they make such an announcement and still expect their subscribers to fold their arms without sourcing for alternative? I have been watching Nations Cup since 1993 through different local channels. There was no DSTV or any satellite TV at that time. So if they told us they won’t show it this time, we will always look for alternative to watch it because it is the biggest football event in Africa that comes once in two years,” he said.
Similarly, Adeyinka Lawal who is also a DStv subscriber revealed that most football lovers in Nigeria, including him have already moved on since January 3rd that Multichoice issued a statement that it wouldn’t be airing the tournament. He claimed that it was a bad marketing strategy for the company to make such an announcement without putting into consideration the psychological effect it will have on their loyal customers and its marketing implications.
Like Ejike, Lawal said he would have loved that the the company waited a little while to see how things would eventually pan out before publicly announcing that it had failed to secure the broadcasting rights.
While many DStv and GOtv subscribers believe that Multichoice has deliberately created a competition for itself in the market and openly invited other cable TV operators to challenge its monopolistic power through AFCON transmission.
However, Segun Fayose, its former Head of Corporate Communication holds a different opinion. According to the Hexagon Production and Media boss, the latest decision will not have any significant effect on DSTV viewership because Nigerians have their preferences when it comes to football viewing.
“I doubt if it will have any significant effect, if any at all on the viewership for AFCON. Nigerian TV lovers have their preferences, especially when it comes to football viewing. It’s not just about watching the live telecast but more about the comprehensive coverage and pre, in-game and post-game analysis that Supersport is synonymous with.
“Competition cannot match Supersport/DStv in this regard. Also, Supersport pays international football stars, coaches and analysts to be in their studios or venue of the matches to give viewers more insights. It will take a while for competitors to play catch up in this regard,” he said.
“So, in my final analysis, Supersport will still be the choice destination for AFCON and other international football competitions for some time to come,” Fayose, a Public Relations and Marketing Communication expert posited.