The year has been a tough one, no doubt, and the months spent in lockdown mode has shown us one or two things about entertainment. The huge data cost and speed requirements of getting entertained online got many running back to the pay-TV option which is cheaper and provides an equally wide array of options.
As far as pay-TV entertainment is the topic of discussion in Nigeria, there are just two contenders, StarTimes and MultiChoice (with its DStv and GOtv variant offerings). Each of these options provides equally entertaining channels and contents, but the big question is, at what cost?
While they all stream good programmes, DStv presents the most expensive subscription plans, while giving a cheaper option in its GOtv plans. StarTimes on the other hand is targeted at providing quality content to the average Nigerian at affordable prices. For the purpose of this article, let us do a comparison of the GOtv Jolli bouquet and the StarTimes Basic bouquet.
The GOtv Jolli offering comes at a cost of N2,460 monthly for 68+ channels, while StarTimes Basic bouquet is purchased at N1,700 monthly with almost 80 channels. StarTimes equally offers weekly and daily options for its subscribers so that with as little as N160, a subscriber can access all of the channels available on the basic bouquet in a day. As at yet, GOtv does not have any weekly or daily subscription plans that allow users to pay as they use.
For entertainment, both packages have local and foreign movies and news channels for subscribers.
GOtv Jolli has 5 Africa Magic channels – Family, Epic, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa; and two ROK channels 2 and 3. There is however a downside to this. Most of the movies and series streamed on Africa magic channels to the GOtv Jolli subscribers have already been streamed weeks or months earlier on DStv higher bouquets, but this may not matter much to its subscribers.
StarTimes Basic package has AMC Movies, PBO TV, Area Ten, Wakaati TV; five Yoruba channels – ST Yoruba, Nigbati, Kaftan Yoruba, Orisun TV and NTA Yoruba; Isi Mbido (Igbo); and Hausa channels – Arewa 24, ST Dadinkowa, Farin Wata and NTA Hausa.
On the foreign scene, GOtv Jolli subscribers get Hollywood movie channels, TNT Africa and M-Net Movies 4; StarTimes Basic has ST Zone and TNT Africa.
Both have an almost equal amount of telenovela and Bollywood content. When it comes to Bollywood, both have StarLife channel; GOtv Jolli has Zee World and B4Umovies; while StarTimes Basic has Zee Cinema. The catch for StarTimes is that some of these content is dubbed in local languages like Waaris, an Indian series dubbed in Yoruba and Hausa. Having seen the wide acceptability of this, StarTimes recently added another Bollywood series, Razia Sultan, equally dubbed in Yoruba and Hausa.
Both have BBC News, NTA Parliament, Al Jazeera, TVC News, and NTA 24 News; Arise News and CNN are on GOtv Jolli while Stv News 24, CGTN and a current affairs channel, Human Rights TV (Brekete Family) are on StarTimes.
Let’s go to kiddies’ content. Both brands have Nickelodeon and Jim Jam, but Jolli also has PBS Kids, Davinci Kids and Disney Junior, while StarTimes Basic has Toonami, ST Kids, Cbeebies, NTA Knowledge and Pineapple TV for children to enjoy. So GOtv Jolli has 5 kiddies’ channels while StarTimes Basic has 7.
When it comes to sports, you can watch several Europa League matches, UEFA Nations League, The Emirates FA Cup and La Liga matches, and a dedicated channel for combat sports like Wrestling, Kick Boxing, MMA and Boxing. StarTimes Basic Bouquet also has ESPN that shows Basketball (NBA), EFL (The English Football League) and many other sports related content on StarTimes Basic Bouquet; on GOtv Jolli, you can watch GOtv Boxing, WWE, UEFA Nations League and few EPL matches.
It is safe to say that despite paying less for the StarTimes Basic package, one would be getting more value for it, and a wide variant of programs and content suitable for all members of the family. Another plus for StarTimes is that it has the StarTimes ON app which can be used to watch programs on the go with your phone irrespective of location. Subscribers can successfully connect one decoder to three mobile devices and watch wherever they might be. GOtv is yet to have such an app which would help subscribers stream live, although DStv subscribers have the DStv NOW.
StarTimes also allows non-subscribers to stream from the app and without owning a decoder. For instance, sports lovers can watch all live matches showing on StarTimes on a weekly subscription of N400 only. While GOtv is taking its time to adopt this flexible option, StarTimes stays two steps ahead, giving customers flexibility and much more quality content on the go, for less.
Some features which MultiChoice has restricted to upper bouquets on DStv are available on StarTimes, and much more affordable too (E,g, streaming content online at no extra cost). With the current situation, probably not many Nigerian families are willing to spend too much on monthly pay-TV subscriptions even though they still want the best entertainment options and StarTimes makes this possible with its affordable plans, daily and weekly subscription options, and an app that allows you stream even without a decoder.
If you ask me to choose between GOtv Jolli and StarTimes Basic, it’s StarTimes Basic Bouquet for me. What about you?
Written by Bola Aina