Pay TV Giant, Multichoice Nigeria Plc is celebrating its 20years of operations in Nigeria. As part of its PR campaign Thisday recently interviewed its Managing Director John Ugbe. The interview didn’t reveal much of the kind of Info I would have hoped for such as their subscriber base, profitability etc One important info though is his response when asked how much Multichoice has invested in Nigeria till date.

Over the last 20 years, Multichoice has invested a total of N55 billion in Nigeria directly and indirectly.

This comes to about N2.7billion Monthly. It will be interesting to know what makes up this amount. Is it infrastructure? Because I see no significant one or is it the right they acquire to give us content which off course is not an investment (no wonder he says “directly or indirectly”).I also thought this was a lopsided analysis

In terms of investment in Nigeria, musicians that are making money all over the world and bringing such to Nigeria are parts of the company’s contributions. It is because of Multichoice exposure that Ugandans know about our musicians and all that. Let’s take the value of entertainment in Nigeria, especially the movies. Let’s take the value, especially 20 years ago compared to the value as it is now. Our investment is not only about the money we spend. We spend money on training and production and on script writing. We tend to train people because ours is not just to be paying people, it is better to give them the opportunity to continue to pay themselves.

Multichoice seems to forget this is a two way high way. They have also made money from the content Nigerian musicians and indeed movies provide for them. He also even claimed the company is the highest buyer of Movie content locally

If you look at our relationship, we are the biggest buyer of local content in terms of movies. We have a strong relationship. We buy a lot of local content. When it comes to even music royalties, we have a relationship with COSON and we pay royalties for music we play on our channels on DSTV. So we are a company that believes in working very effectively with local regulatory bodies and the local industry.

He also gives an apt response when asked about why subscribers can’t operate a Pay As You Watch System when you pay for subscription.

Not all industries can use card technology. It’s like going into a restaurant and you say look, let me just start eating. If I have to leave, whatever I eat is what I pay for. It is in order to serve you, that they create the menu that you can buy a plate of food at certain amount. Content, unfortunately is not paid for in minutes. You can’t pay to watch a football match by minutes. You don’t walk into a stadium to watch a match by minutes and after some time you walk out and demand that you want half or one third of the cost of your ticket back. If you buy a ticket to watch a football match, even if you don’t turn up to watch the match, it is given that you have watched the match.

You can get the full interview on Thisday website


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