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StarTimes suffers from Naira devaluation, VAT hike

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StarTimes suffers from Naira devaluation, VAT hike – Cascading value of naira against the dollar and hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Federal Government has started taking its toll on business operators in the country leading to commensurate hike in the cost of services to customers.

Coming on the heels of the increase in tariff by its competitor, Pay TV service provider, StarTimes, at the weekend, said it has been compelled to adjust its tariff to reflect its cost, adding that over the last three or four months, it has had to absorb the extra cost occasioned by the hike in VAT.

Its Marketing Manager, Viki Liu, who spoke during a virtual media interaction, however, said the firm has refreshed its content offerings, bringing more sought-after content to its subscribers at the most affordable rate in the market.

Speaking on the challenges facing the firm in its quest to provide entertainment to subscribers Liu recalled that earlier this year, the Federal Government increased VAT from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

She said: “This increase did have an effect on our cost but in consideration of our customers’ plight, we continued to bear that extra cost.

“More recently, the impact of the foreign exchange rate has had an overwhelming adverse effect on our business. Our business is not exempted from the effect of the naira depreciation affecting all businesses in the country.

“All of our foreign content is bought in dollars and to continually serve our subscribers the best content we have been constrained to make some slight review on our subscription rates. The decision to make this review is based on compelling external factors beyond our control.

“By this review which will take effect from August 1, for our DTT (antenna) users: basic bouquet subscribers will now pay N1700 as against N1300 monthly to enjoy close to 80 exciting channels; Classic bouquet subscribers will pay N2500 as against N1,900 monthly to keep enjoying close to 100 channels while Nova bouquet remains unchanged at N900 with over 43 exciting channels.

“For DTH (Dish) users: Smart bouquet subscribers will pay N2200 as against N1900 monthly; Super Bouquet subscribers will pay N4200 as against N3800 monthly while Nova bouquet remains unchanged at N900. DTH has close to 200 exciting channels.

“We hope our customers understand as we are not known for incessant price increase. Rather, StarTimes’ subscription prices had on different occasions been reduced in order to make digital TV affordable for every Nigerian.”

Liu assured subscribers that as a business, the brand will continue to make it a priority to broaden its content offerings to meet a variety of their interests without compromising affordability.

“Despite the price adjustment, we shall continue to delight our subscribers with more value at the best cost in the Pay-TV market.

Consumer’s interests are duly taken care of with these flexible subscription options which give them access to pay for what they watch as low as N90 daily,” she said.

She said a new blockbuster Hollywood movie channel and two premium sports rights are coming on the platform.

StarTimes said it pioneered and remains the only player in the market offering flexible subscription options – daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, allowing people to subscribe according to their needs and means.

Liu said due to StarTimes’ giant stride to make digital TV affordable to all families, the price of pay-TV has been greatly lowered, from average $50 per month to between $3  to $5 per month.

She noted that the pay-as-you-go options are available for all bouquets; and whether a customer subscribes daily, weekly or monthly to a bouquet, he will have access to the same channels and services, adding that flexible billing systems are reasonable for people who do not spend reasonable time watching television after subscription.

Viki said although the sharp drop in naira has forced the brand to adjust some of its bouquet prices upwards from August 1, subscribers will get more value for what they are paying, without compromising affordability.

“Over the last couple of months, StarTimes has been adding new and exciting channels, great local and international channels for the viewing pleasure of our teeming subscribers without an additional charge.

These channels, including other existing flagship channels and content, were acquired at a cost which StarTimes has continued to bear to cushion the economic pressure on subscribers.”

“For sports lovers, StarTimes offers varieties of international football tournaments for the entertainment of our teeming subscribers. Europa League, Bundesliga and Coppa Italia are exclusive on StarTimes. We also air English FA Cup, Copa Del Rey among others.

“We also brought back FOX; FOX LIFE; National Geographic; Nat Geo Wild; ESPN; ESPN 2 and BABY TV. We will very soon also be including a new Hollywood blockbuster movie channel on our list of entertainment content,” she said.

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Samson Gabriel a graduate of mass communication from Auchi Polytechnic, he is a passionate writer with experience in radio scrip writing. He brings his experience from the broadcast media into play here as he continues to enjoy his passion as a journalist. He can be contacted via whats-app on: +234701105670

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