Will The Digital Switch Over Break DSTV’s Dominance In Nigeria?


One monopoly that seems impossible to break in Nigeria is that of DSTV. It has, so far, defied nearly all competitions to dominate the PayTV industry.

The federal government is not taking the DSTV monopoly lying down. They have reiterated the rollout of the digital switch-over in four more states, two years after it was launched in six states.


DSTV dish

The Digital Switch Over, DSO, will change the television broadcasting system across the country from the current analogue to digital mode.

The first rollout was launched in Jos (April 30, 2016), Abuja ( December 22, 2016), Ilorin (December 20, 2017), Kaduna (December 22, 2017),  Enugu (February 12, 2018), and Osogbo (February 23, 2018).

During a radio talk show on Saturday 17th of April, the Acting DG of the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC), Prof. Armstrong Idachaba  discussed Nigeria’s switch over from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcast on Nigeria’s talk radio station, Nigeria Info, hosted by Aghogho Oboh. He emphasized how the digital switch over will provide over free 50 digital stations for Nigerians.

Digital take over radio talk show

Digital take over radio talk show

Could this be the beginning of the demise of DSTV’s jugular hold on Nigeria’s paytv?

But some are sceptical about how the DSO will break DSTV’s dominance. One Twitter user, Ujozz zaky@yugosmiles, responded to the radio show asking, “What happened to tstv, who is monitoring dstv? Aghogho, if we are coming out with a product we should beat the best in the industry don’t come give us ltv and co at this stage. U don’t trust the process I’m sorry to say prof it will fail because u have not try to beat dstv.”

DSTV And Startime Battle Royale

DSTV is undoubtedly Nigeria’s number one digital satellite service providing multiple channels. The platform is owned by South Africa’s MultiChoice. After a few years of operation, DSTV was brought to Nigeria in 1996 through a joint venture between Adewunmi Ogunsanya and MultiChoice Africa. Since then, over 2million Nigerians have been hooked on the DSTV’s platform.

At the height of Multichoice dominance in 2007, Nigerians paid N9,000 per month for the premium bouquet, prompting public outcry of exploitation from Nigerians and government officials. Currently, that same premium plan goes for N18400.
Several local competitors like MyTv, Daarsat, Consaat, Kwese TV, TStv and several others, which had the Nigerian government support to help end Multichoice monopoly, unfortunately,  all ended in vain. None was able to upstage Multichoice’s DSTV.

A promising challenger was HITV. But come November 2011, HiTV met its waterloo. Nigerians, indeed, mourned HiTV’s demise.

In July 2010, in a move to break DSTV’s stranglehold,  StarTimes, owned by the Chinese, launched a pay DTT service in Nigeria, featuring 30 channels which appealed to many Nigerians due to their low cost in subscription. The service, which was only available to residents of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt at its inception, was later extended to many cities and towns across the country.

Threatened by Startimes emergence, Multichoice made a tactical chess move by introducing their own low budget platform, Gotv in 2011, to counter Startimes sudden grip on the paytv market.

As the battle rages on, we hold our breath to see how this telenova will eventually end. Lagos State begins her digital switch over on the 29th of April. Will it be an aye or a nay? Only time will tell.

What do you think? Will the federal government digital switch over end the likes of DSTV and Startime?

Watch Professor Idachaba talk about the digital switch over


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