Last week I wrote a post mortem, my thoughts on why I believed GoMyWay failed. Seriously guys, I did not enjoy it. This week, I could have written about efritin.com, but I decided against it. So, this week’s article is dedicated to trying to avoid writing another post mortem.
Like Konga and Jumia have taught us how not to build an online market place, HiTV has taught us how not to take on DSTV. However, the same way techies are not learning from the Konga and Jumia experience, the TSTV body language is suggesting that they need to be reminded of the HiTV story all over again. All TSTV’s moves appear to be a replication of HiTV’s. So, this post hopes to serve as a voice of caution to the TSTV management to cut through the fluff and focus on real deal.
Forget the “Wholly Owned Nigerian Rhetoric” – This as far as I am concerned is an emotional blackmail. I will not give you my money simply because you are Nigerian! I hope TSTV has not recruited a politician’s aide to drive its marketing speak, because this sound like a political campaign. You know what I mean – “Omo wa ni, e je ‘o se” meaning He is own son, let him do it! Really? I should part with my money simply because “He is our son? TSTV should not be associated with that.
“Cheap” cannot be your Value Proposition! – This is simple, if you sell below your cost price, you will soon run out of business. All selling below cost price can give you the initial critical mass. However, it will also require keeping the price low to keep this mass. This is where the problem lies. TSTV should rather focus on building good quality bouquet of content, offer great quality customer support, deliver great quality audio visual etc., all these are not cheap! Apple built great quality smartphones (ecosystem actually), and it’s arguably the most expensive pricing. Yet people queue up to buy the latest iPhone. The same way, if TSTV will not build great quality content and price appropriately.
Rely not on Government – We have seen statements from the Minister of Information announcing tax reliefs and all sorts of support to TSTV. I will suggest that the founders and management take such promises with a pinch of salt! The same government is on a drive to improve the Foreign Direct Investment flow into the country, hence, they will easily sacrifice TSTV for the next willing foreign player. I didn’t say don’t work with Government, I am saying don’t rely.
Have a war chest, it’s a long slug! – I sincerely hope that TSTV has enough cash (or at the minimum cash commitment) in its war chest for prosecuting this endeavor. Correct me if I am wrong, this is not a 2-year profitable or positive cashflow business. Hence, I reckon that TSTV has enough cash to survive this long-drawn battle.
Focus on your capital mix (Debt vs Equity) – One of the lessons Toyin Subair (CEO of HiTV) published on his LinkedIn page is his reliance on debt. Debt is necessarily not the most efficient capital to operate this model on. Debt capital is more suited towards capital expenses rather than operational.
To cut the story short, I hope this is not just an excitement play, we have gone down this road before. Many have gone before you, leveraging their experience will better position TSTV for success. Taking on a monopoly is not for the faint hearted and no one will go down without a fight!
Maybe it is not a winner takes all play. Maybe both TSTV and DSTV can operate together in this market, maybe, maybe not… Only time will tell