In early January, Netflix, the streaming and Internet TV network, announced its global expansion to 130 additional countries, including Nigeria. The announcement was welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm, much of which was misdirected, in my opinion. The thrill, though, seemed to have gone off after a month.
There was speculation that Netflix’s entry in Nigeria would lead to the end of DSTV, Nigeria’s leading premium pay television service. While Netflix’s entrance in Nigeria has changed the content landscape, the streaming service is still a long way from becoming a viable challenger to DSTV.
Much of the enthusiasm around Netflix’s entry into Nigeria revolved around its cost. This is unsurprising, given that Nigerians have long accused DSTV of predatory pricing, whether correctly or not.
Netflix’s Basic plan (1,600 Naira) costs $7.99 per month and allows subscribers access to all of the content. A higher plan (Standard Plan for $9.99 (2000 Naira) or Premium Plan for $11.99 (2,400 Naira) merely improves the video quality to HD or ultra HD or increases the number of simultaneous views.
DSTV’s basic plan, DSTV Access, costs 1,800 Naira ($9). The most expensive option is DSTV Premium, which costs 13,980 Naira ($69.90). DSTV, like other Satellite/Cable companies, offers more quality content the higher you pay, unlike Netflix, which gives all of its content even with the basic package.
That is why many people in Nigeria, a country dominated by the poor, despise DSTV because, while they want to watch premium programming, it looks to be out of their price range.
So it’s understandable that when Netflix eventually announced its arrival in the country, people were ecstatic.
However, it is vital to highlight that Netflix’s economic model would face significant opposition in Nigeria. While DSTV has complete control over its infrastructure, Netflix relies on third parties to meet its consumers’ needs.
When you pay your DSTV fee, you pay for both the content and the access, however you only pay for the content when you pay your Netflix bill. You must also pay a network operator such as Etisalat, Airtel, or Globacom to access the service through their network.
This is where Netflix’s bubble finally collapses. Because, like DSTV costs, Nigerians find data plans given by network carriers to be prohibitively expensive.
Despite the fact that other networks have developed programs that they claim are aimed at Netflix, the economics of such plans have not yet reached the point where DSTV should consider Netflix a threat.
But, must it be DSTV or Netflix
Some Nigerians reacted to Netflix’s introduction as though one had to die in order for the other to succeed. But, in my opinion, there is enough room in the market for both.
Both services are complementary in my opinion. I now subscribe to both, and I anticipate that other users will do so as well. Netflix has helped me to catch up on various movie programs that I had missed earlier seasons of.
For example, I began watching Arrow on DSTV in season 2 and haven’t stopped since. Despite the fact that the opening episode of the second season did a good job of catching viewers up on what happened in the first season, Netflix has now allowed me to watch the first season of Arrow at my leisure. I intend to do the same with NCIS, which I began watching in season 4.
Netflix can also help you avoid your children. Have they gained control of the remote because of their voracious thirst for children’s programming? You can put them on Netflix and use the remote control for your own entertainment. When you’re on the road and there’s nothing fascinating on the hotel TV, Netflix can come in handy.
For the foreseeable future, DSTV will continue to dominate the content market. Before Netflix can pose a threat to DSTV’s business in Nigeria, data rates must plummet and Netflix’s content catalog must be expanded. However, I am confident that DSTV will not be waiting for that to happen.