What is the pay-as-you-watch cable service all about?
Pay-As-You-Watch (PAYW) cable service is a unique cable service that allows you to pay for the cable service as you use it. This service is rare because most cable service providers rather use the prepaid or Pay-Per-View option. The PAYW cable service liberates you from monthly contracts, introducing flexibility to how, where and when you watch Television.
Are pay-as-you-watch and pay-per-view the same?
A lot of people confuse PAYW for Pay-Per-View (PPV). The two may share similar traits but are not the same. PPV is restricted to special events, especially those high ticket events or programs. These events agree paid for in addition to having an active subscription. This means paying the usual monthly subscription and additional fee for a particular event, maybe a football match or a wrestling game that is ‘high ticket’.
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On the other hand PAYW cable service is ideally characterized by the ability to;
- watch what you want, when you want and with no additional costs
- travel without worrying about accruing costs
- pause subscription when not in use
How subscriptions are treated
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In a PAYW model, customers are expected to make payments for content ahead of watching. However, as you watch, an amount is deducted from your account when streaming (assuming it is an internet based service) or per second or minute if it’s the regular satellite TV model (which is rare).
Thus, if you switch off your TV or decoder, the subscription stops counting and you are only charged for the minutes paid for or content already streamed.
How much is it
In Africa, the only PAYW Satellite TV we know is Kwese TV. They charge about N990 a week or N6,275 a month. Using N990 a week, it suggest the bill is about N141 per day. From the information we gathered, Kwese’s PAYW model is per day.
Does the PAYW model decoder take as long to boot as other decoders?
The booting period of every decoder generally depends on the quantity of content on that particular network. Each time the decoder boots, it picks up different transpondents, so the more content it generates, the longer it takes the decoder to both.
Challenges with PAYW
The PAYW model also has its challenges. For services that rely on internet, streaming can be slow due particularly in Nigeria. The buffering challenges are real and can be frustrating especially when you are watching intense programmes. Another challenge is determining the rate of 1 kilobyte of data being streamed. How is this metered and at what point does a customer confirm that they will be charged.
For PAYW models that rely on satellite, even though, this option might appear cheap, it is likely to be expensive if you have a family that watches a lot of TV. For those looking for multiple views, it is also likely that you might rack up cost.
What implication does the pay-as-you-watch model have on the cable service provider?
PAYW might be ideal for the consumers but does not bode well for the Cable service providers as they are more likely to run a deficit in no time. Think about it. Many decoders will only be on for programs people deem more important like football matches, soap operas, news, and the likes.
Even major programmes like the voice, Bigbrother, and Naija sings, will only get viewers on eviction days. This will be a financial setback to the cable service providers. They still have to cover costs such as tax, diesel, salaries and insurance.
The truth is that PAYW is ideal for a country like ours where people consume 2-5% average of the total time purchased on the prepaid model. It ensures that billing is proportionate to consumption and not fixed.