Court orders DStv to suspend increase in subscription fees

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained Multi Choice Nigeria Limited, operators of the Digital Satellite Television, popularly known as DStv, from implementing its new rates and increase in tariffs payable by its subscribers across board.

The restraining order was given by Justice C.J. Aneke sequel to a suit filed by two Lagos-based legal practitioners, Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji.

In the class action suit, with number FHC/L/CS/404/2015, Justice Aneke granted the interim orders till the hearing of the motion on notice for injunction on April 16, 2015.

He also ordered for the suit and the Interim injunction to be published in national newspapers.

Messrs. Adebayo and Adeniji are challenging the arbitrary increase in tariffs.

The legal practitioners urged the court to order the second defendant, the National Broadcasting Commission, to also implement Pay Per View where subscribers choose the programmes they want and pay as they watch, which is being implemented in some other parts of the world.

In the order given on Thursday, Mr. Aneke ruled: “That an order of interim injunction is hereby granted to the parties to maintain the status quo restraining the 1st defendant (Multichoice/DSTV) from giving effect or enforcing its planned increase in cost of the different classes of viewing or programmes bouquet, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“That an order is hereby granted certifying the plaintiffs’ claim as a class action for themselves as individual subscribers, other corporate subscribers, distributors and retailers of the 1st defendants’ services.

“That an order is hereby granted restraining any other person whether individual or corporate from instituting any other action as may be related to the action against the defendant to prevent multiplicity of lawsuits pursuant to the appointment of the plaintiffs in the class action but may instead opt in or out of this action.”

In March, MultiChoice, owners of DStv and GOtv, announced a 20 per cent price increase for all its satellite pay TV bouquets in Nigeria to take effect from April 1, 2015.

Thus, the subscription fee of DStv’s Premium, Compact plus, compact, access, Family and extra view bouquets were all set to increase, as is the price for GOtv Plus and GOtv bouquet.

MultiChoice explained that the price increase was necessary for it to continue offering the best in local and international entertainment to its subscribers.

PREMIUM TIMES

2 Comments

  1. Nigeria is a capitalist state.
    Dstv is in Nigeria to do business & make profit.
    Court order is not the solution.
    The solution is for us to break the Dstv monopoly so that we csn have an option.

  2. It is wrong to say DStv has a monopoly of that sector. The position currently enjoyed by Multichoice is what the economist dubbed ‘market oligarchy’ with the prevailing business environment and the industry the company operates. As rightly noted, Multichoice is in Nigeria, like every other place to do business and make profit. Suffice to note that may dynamics come to play for th survival and thriving of businesses within a geographical space. Nigeria is a largely free but not properly regulated market and businesses operate with that sense of capitalism and with a touch of social responsibility to their host locality. DStv exist and operates within these frameworks and responsibly so. Much as any business may be poised to making profits at whatever noble and shrew ways, there are other contributing factors that help such moves. One of the factors that has helped Multichoice to have this oligarchy on the satellite television services in Nigeria is the somewhat voracious disposition of Nigerian consumers and MUltichoice customers for the products offered them. For as long as Nigerian cannot control their gratuitous appetite for watching all sorts of relevant and irrelevant imagery on television sets, the more companies providing these services will continuously leverage on consumers cravings to hit and indeed surpass the targeted and projected bottom lines. There are alternatives to DSTV’s deliverables and offerings. If consumers felt they are being reaped off by somewhat outrageous pricing and charges, they should opt for alternative service providers or companies. However, and methinks Multichoice have not taken Nigerians and their customers for granted. The company has indeed show high level of maturity and sensitivity to the reactions of the customers and the general public since the announced increment in subscription rates and tariffs. The company has gone extra mile to explain and lay bear before all the critical and all important forces that necessitated this increase. I think Nigerians should show understanding and avoid being effusively emotive about this issue.Though the regime and rule of law must be put in place to check and control (regulate) businesses that are operating in the country, it is however necessary that the law and machinery of justice are not deployed in ways that shortchange businesses. The attendant impact of any burgled court orders on businesses will tell directly on many lives, households and the larger society. The micro and macro economic impacts of court ‘restraining’ viable and functional businesses from taking economic decisions to sustain and improve its business operations cannot be quantified. Let us all be cautions and considerate in this matter. I tend to forward a more and balance analysis of the issue here discussed and hope such will be hosted as major theme for all to read and comment on.

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