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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 June 2024

Columnist: Kweku Opoku

Businesses refuse to learn: A case of DSTV

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In today's rapidly evolving world, technology and people's behavior continuously change, yet one constant remains: market judgment, or simply put, cost per value.

Recently, I read an article about DSTV struggling to maintain its market position. The reason is straightforward: new competitors have emerged, and DSTV's expensive service has led to a decline in its customer base, consequently putting financial strain on the business. You can read more about this in the article here:

A few years ago, visiting a Multichoice office was a daunting task, often requiring a queue management system due to the high volume of customers. Nowadays, you might find yourself sitting alone, waiting for assistance with a ticket in hand.

I recall complaints from Ghanaian customers about the significant price disparity compared to Nigeria and the continuous price hikes due to the USD exchange rate. This issue has significantly impacted the customer base, but I believe there are other contributing factors as well.

For years, DSTV enjoyed a monopoly and seemed oblivious to the inevitable changes in the market. They operated in a bubble, ignoring the growing dissatisfaction of their customers due to poor marketing policies focused on business rather than customer needs.

Personally, I have felt disrespected and undervalued on numerous occasions, as though my loyalty as a single subscriber was insignificant compared to the masses. This poor treatment has led us to the current situation.

My first subscription to Multichoice dates back to 1994 or 1995, around 30 years ago. During that time, I encountered arrogance and condescension whenever I needed assistance, certainly not the best approach to retain a long-term subscriber.

At one point, a business developer introduced GoTV, an in-house competitor that further cannibalized DSTV’s already dwindling client base. Essentially, they asked DSTV users why they should pay more for a full DSTV decoder when they could watch their favorite channels for a much lower cost.

Realizing their mistake, DSTV began increasing GoTV subscription prices by 50 to 100% in recent years.

Despite these challenges, I still hope DSTV can resolve its issues and retain the market share it has built over decades, particularly for the thousands of staff employed across Africa.