Before the mid-1990s in Nigeria, television entertainment was just about tuning in and watching any terrestrial channel you could reach, with whatever quality. But the launch of Multichoice’s DSTV in 1996 started a gradual change of the narrative.
While this service majorly served the need of the rich, the introduction of other PayTV options in the 2000s broke monopoly and allowed more Nigerians to benefit from this service.
Amid all the challenges which have plagued the entertainment industry in 2020, Nigerians recently started demanding a pay-as-you-use model which will allow them only pay for what they use, rather than paying a fixed rate for a package monthly irrespective of usage. The House of Representatives was at the forefront of this request.
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MultiChoice refused to bend as it says that it does not have the capacity to operate PPV model, as it operates a prepaid pricing model across the 50 Sub-Saharan African countries where it operates.
While the South-African company was busy trying to explain how its model does not allow it to detect when a customer is enjoying the service or not, its competitor, StarTimes announced that it had already integrated a flexible subscription plan where customers do not have to pay for what they do not get.
The model, according to the PR Manager of StarTimes Nigeria, Lazarus Ibeabuchi, allows subscribers to choose daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly plans and enjoy all exciting content on their preferred package/bouquet valid for the period paid for.
Maybe this was not what Nigerians had in mind when they demanded the pay-as-you-go billing system, but it was a lot more than MultiChoice was offering in its DStv and GOtv bouquets. It still provided a viable alternative giving customers a feel of being in charge of what they pay, and what value they get in return.
With as little as N90 or 160 naira daily, subscribers can watch several exciting channels, both foreign and local entertainment channels.
Note that both companies had, at the end of H1 2020, announced a new price plan for its bouquets in response to the new Value Added Tax (VAT) rate of 7.5%.
In its public announcement, MultiChoice noted the company had absorbed the additional 2.5% tax for the first half of the year, in the hope that the federal government would revert to the old tax rate before the end of Q1 2020.
Even though this action attracted lots of criticisms, the company has insisted that it would not be able to continue absorbing the extra costs given the large market in Nigeria, as it was already telling on its finances.
Some of the critics of this action claimed that the company is exploiting Nigerians, making them pay more than they should, even when the epileptic power supply in the country does not allow customers to get maximum value for subscribed plans.
The sports bait
In July, MultiChoice Group announced a new partnership with Walt Disney Company Africa, a partnership that brought in two 24-hour ESPN channels to DStv customers in Africa allowing them to enjoy the very best of US sports.
Note that some years back, ESPN withdrew from broadcasting in Africa and Europe. Meanwhile, Startimes had earlier in the year already incorporated the ESPN channels into its bouquet offerings. The move from Multichoice could be seen as a step to retain its customers and prevent them from sliding the other way.
MultiChoice was still basking in this euphoria when Startimes announced that it had acquired four-season transmission rights to the Spanish Laliga and the UEFA Nations League, to be broadcast from 2020/21 to 2024 season across sub-Saharan Africa.
Even before this latest acquisition, StarTimes was already making a statement in sports broadcasting. It had exclusive rights to the Europa League, Bundesliga, Coppa Italia and Copa Del Rey. The PayTV operator also airs the English Football League Championship (EFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), Belgian Pro League, Netherlands Eredivisie; and Basketball tourneys – NBA and The EuroLeague; Formula E, MMA and Major League Wrestling.
A little something extra – Startimes was being very generous in offering non-subscribers an opportunity to watch live sports, other sought-after TV channels and over 2000 video-on-demand content, for as low as N400 weekly, with an option to subscribe with their MTN airtime.
Talk about a product that seeks to serve all market sections.
Children and family entertainment
Away from sports, the competitors have taken their game to the children and family entertainment space.
Just recently, StarTimes partnered with the NBCUniversal International Networks’ (NBCUIN) to bring the DreamWorks family entertainment channel on the StarTimes pay TV platform across sub-Saharan African.
According to Lily Meng, head of StarTimes’ media division, the addition of the channel with its range of animated TV series is a timely deal coming at a time when “most kids and parents are staying home.”
On a similar note, MultiChoice had announced moves to integrate Netflix and Amazon Prime Video services into its Explora decoder as part of an agreement. According to the statement, the agreement is a proof of its aggregator model which provides choice and convenience for customers.
“As our industry evolves, we believe that we are well-positioned to benefit from both worlds – a large, growing pay-TV market in Africa, as well as an emerging over-the-top opportunity, where our own OTT services and aggregation capabilities can drive success,” CEO Calvo Mawela stated.
The company also said that it has commenced field trials for its own DStv streaming products, to be launched later in the year. This will be added to the streaming offering currently offered on Explora, the Showmax.
Observers opine that MultiChoice recent decisions are part of a larger strategy to remain the leading pay-TV channel and content aggregators.
The heated competition continues across all channels, especially on social media where both operators try to actively engage their customers with trailers and snippets from their content. During the Sallah celebration, StarTimes sent gift packages to some randomly selected customers as contributions to a bountiful celebration.
There is also the ongoing promo where StarTimes customers stand a chance to win smartphones, bulbs and other gifts, when they do two-months subscription.
I want to express my profound gratitude to @StarTimes_Ng for sending me this flat screen digital LED TV today after buying their decoder few weeks ago. The beauty about Startimes is that I can pay daily and weekly, and it is very affordable. This TV has an inbuilt decoder too 💃🏽 pic.twitter.com/Zg9tDbAe0i
— ᴏᴍᴀsᴏʀᴏ ᴀʟɪ ᴏᴠɪᴇ™☤🇸🇴 (@OvieSheikh) August 4, 2020
This is clearly a competition that is not ending anytime soon, but interestingly, it would appear that the customers are the final beneficiaries of the tussle as each PayTV operator tries to outdo the other.
Canada invites another 4,200 Express Entry candidates for permanent residency
Canada has invited 4,200 immigration candidates to apply for permanent residency.
As countries around the world commence relaxation of ban on international travels, the Canadian government has issued another round of invitation to 4,200 Express Entry Candidates, to apply for its permanent residency.
Canada held its 163rd Express Entry draw, inviting 4,200 immigration candidates to apply for permanent residence on September 16, being the second draw this month, with a comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score of 472. This is three points less than the previous draw held earlier in the month.
This draw matches the 4,200 ITAs issued in an Express Entry round on September 2, which ties it for the second-biggest draw ever. The biggest draw issued 4,500 ITAs on February 19, 2020. The large number of invitations being issued by Canada is a strong indication that it remains committed to welcoming high levels of immigrants in 2021 and beyond.
The recent round of draw brings the total number of invitations issued this year to 74,150; a new record for this date, indicating an 86.4% success rate.
IRCC used its tie-break rule in this draw. The timestamp used was March 9, 2020, at 13:03:40 UTC. This means that all candidates with a CRS score above 472, as well as those candidates with scores of 472 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before the selected date and time, received an ITA in this invitation round.
This rule is used to rank candidates, who have the same CRS score. A candidate’s CRS score remains the primary factor in selecting candidates to be invited to apply for permanent residence. Factors that can affect the cut-off CRS score include the size of the draw (larger draws can produce a lower minimum CRS score), and the time between draws (shorter periods between draws can help to lower the CRS score).
How it works
Express Entry, is the application system that manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s three main economic immigration classes — the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The highest-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool are issued ITAs in regular invitation rounds.
A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence, through regular draws from the pool. These invitation rounds typically take place every two weeks, and the vast majority involve candidates from all three Express Entry-managed categories.
Eligible candidates for each program are issued a score under Express Entry’s CRS, which awards points for factors such as age, education, skilled work experience, and proficiency in English or French.
While a job offer is not required in order to be eligible under the Express Entry system, the CRS does award additional points to candidates who have one. It is worth noting that the Government of Canada has a processing standard of six months for permanent residence applications, filed through the Express Entry system.
Nigerians trooping to Canada
According to the report, Nigeria was the fifth highest country, that migrated into Canada in the month of July 2020, behind India, China, Philippines, and Pakistan. This is an indication, that Nigerians are taking every opportunity possible to move into other countries of the world, perceived to give better opportunities in terms of education, career growth, sufficient earnings, amongst others.
A recent report published by CEOWorld Magazine, reveals that Canada is the third world’s best country to start a career in 2020, which is why many people around the world would troop in numbers, seeking to migrate to the country, while Nigeria on the other hand ranks bottom four, with the likes of Libya, Syria, and Yemen.
Lagos State government seals warehouse repackaging expired curry powder
Following an anonymous tip, LASCOPA has sealed off a warehouse where expired curry powder was being packaged.
The Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), under the aegis of the Lagos State Government, has sealed a warehouse for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder.
This disclosure was made this morning in a press release to the general public, which was seen by Nairametrics, via the official website of Lagos State Government.
Acting on an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public, the Special Monitoring Team of LASCOPA, led by its General Manager, Mrs. Kemi Olugbode, paid an unscheduled assessment visit to the warehouse, to verify the claim. The tip turned out to be genuine.
This decision is in line with the State Government’s core mandate of protecting consumers from unwholesome products. The warehouse which was sealed by LASCOPA, for repackaging unwholesome and expired curry powder with the name Chinchilli and Ducross for sale, was said to be owned by Canvest Nigeria Limited. The warehouse is located at Plot 4, Cocoa Industrial Road, Ogba, Ikeja.
The General Manager, speaking after the exercise, said the enforcement team discovered thousands of expired products stored in cartons, while some were found in sacks that were ready to be repackaged for sale in the market.
The Head of LASCOPA, emphasized that the staffs of the company involved in the fraudulent operation have been arrested. Olugbode disclosed that the property will remain sealed until the government commences prosecution of the owners of the warehouse, and all those involved in the illicit activity are apprehended.
Mrs. Olugbode, also encouraged members of the public to support the present administration’s determination to rid Lagos of all illegal activities, by reporting those who are engaged in unwholesome activities that are detrimental to the health of residents.
FG to seek international cooperation to curb illicit financial flows
FG hopes to strengthen international cooperation in curtailing the menace of illicit financial flows.
The Federal Government has said that there is a compelling need to strengthen international cooperation in the global effort to curtail the menace of illicit financial flows, as current international mechanisms are not strong enough.
This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari in a speech delivered on his behalf by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) Panel Video Conference.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the event was held at the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The session also featured presentations by the immediate past President of the United Nations General Assembly, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and Amb. Mona Jul of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
He said, “The current international mechanisms for asset recovery are not good enough as can be seen in the amount lost to illicit financial flows and the length of time taken before the repatriation of just a small fraction is made.
“The FACTI Panel report can play an important role in bridging the expectations of source and destination countries as well as in harmonising the process of assets recovery and return. We agree with the Panel on the importance of having a balanced approach that reflects the situation in different regions and the priorities of different stakeholders. I believe that for the global aspiration to recover better from the impact of the pandemics and to yield any inclusive result, we must comprehensively address existing structures that make it impossible for countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources. The success of the FACTI panel’s final report will be measured by the clarity of its recommendations in support of global governance reforms.”
According to the President, evidence suggested that the contemporary international tax system used a taxing rights regime that was not fit for purpose.
He added that the system makes combating tax abuses, especially by multinational corporations, difficult for most developing countries.
“It is my hope that the final report of the FACTI Panel would introduce proposals that would lead us towards a fairer international tax regime .I also hope that the report would contain proposals that would address the continuing advocacy for country-by-country reporting, open disclosure and automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership, as well as eliminate financial secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens that facilitate base erosion and profit shifting. Profit shifting, harmful tax competition–the so-called “race to the bottom–and the taxation of the digital economy should also receive adequate attention and focus in the report of the Panel. FACTI Panel’s report should assess how effectively we are meeting our commitments to combating the scourge and strengthening cooperation in dispute settlement and peer learning, particularly in assets recovery and return,” he said.
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Other leaders who spoke at the forum included the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Niazi and Former President of Lithuania, and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, Dalia Grybauskaite.
Ibrahim Mayaki, former Prime Minister of Niger and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, also spoke at the event.