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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

With strengthened Kwacha, should Multi-Choice Reduce Subscription Fees

Economy Feature Economy With strengthened Kwacha, should Multi-Choice Reduce Subscription Fees

By David Chishimba

I know my elder brother Thomas Sipalo is very passionate about this campaign, but I think it’s very important to do some research before one starts or joins any campaign to ascertain whether the campaign is really necessary, genuine or achievable. Most people use emotions or assumptions when joining campaigns. They assume that the initiators have done their research or just feel that something needs to be done because it doesn’t seem right, this however, is an ingredient for wasting ones time.

The “DStv prices must fall” campaign is one which is marred with a lot of missinformation, ignorance and misconceptions. In this article, i will try as much as possible to clear the air as much as I can.

The Digital Satellite Television, commonly abbreviated to DStv, is a Sub-Saharan African direct broadcast satellite service owned by MultiChoice and based in Randburg, South Africa. Launched on 6 October 1995, the service provides multiple audio, radio and television channels and services to subscribers. DStv operates in Africa and Thailand.

1). Are We Paying More in Zambia Than Other Countries?
The following is the chart for African Countries and their DStv Premium Rates for 2021

Zambia – $45 ( Dollar to Kwacha at ZMW22.3)
1.DR Congo – $105 per month
2. Zimbabwe – $75 per month
3. Malawi – $74 per month
4. Kenya – $72 per month
5. Eritrea – $72 per month
6. Mauritius – $68 per month
7. Ethiopia – $67 per month
8. Uganda – $62 per month
9. Tanzania – $60 per month
10. Ghana – $60 per month
11. South Africa – $54 per month
12. Namibia – $54 per month
13. Eswatini – $54 per month
14. Nigeria – $46 per month

This chart shows that Zambia had one of the lowest rates in Africa. But this scenario started changing drastically when the Zambian Kwacha started gaining against the dollar. This year, as of 11th September, 2022 with the rate of the dollar to Kwacha at K15.5 and DStv subscription fee at K1,100 for premium package(Full bouquet) means we are paying $70.51 USD per year. This implies that we are now at number 6 on the chart of African countries with the highest subscription rates.

2). How does Multichoice Adjust Subscription fees?
Multichoice adjusts subscription prices annually. In the case of Zambia, the financial year starts On 1st April and price adjustments are usually announced in March. These price adjustments depend on prevailing economic conditions such as local currency exchange rate, inflation and fees paid by multichoice to other service providers.

3). Can Multichoice Adjust Prices Within a Fiscal Year?
Most likely not. Only in very unusual circumstances. For example in 2015, Multichoice adjusted prices upwards twice in April and in November because Kwacha lost value of about 61% against the dollar from K7.7 to K12.39, inflation rate rose from 7.2% to 14.3%. Meaning it’s possible but not likely.

This year, 2022, in April when new price adjustments were made, the dollar to kwacha exchange rate was at K17.9 and as of 11th September, the dollar to Kwacha exchange rate was K15.5 which shows 12.5% gain. Inflation in April was at 11.5% and at 9.8% as of 11th September.

I am of the view that this is not a very significant gain which can prompt Multichoice to adjust prices within a fiscal year because anything can still happen by the end of the year.

This month, Multichoice increased prices for stay packages. These are packages that you pay for when you are not usually found at an apartment for example if you own two apartments and only visit one during vacations. Most Zambians don’t even have this package. The rest of the packages remained the same.

4). Why can’t the government hear peoples cries and be involved?
First of all, Zambia has a free market economy and the government only fixes prices for agriculture products such as maize, wheat and cashew nut. Besides DStv is a luxury and not a necessity. DStv has also got different packages going for as low as K165 per month.
And government also owns 50% shares in Multichoice Zambia, so the odds are stuck against us.

5). What Then Can We Do?
In 2015 Multichoice suggested that they were considering implementing a quarterly review of prices for their packages, this was due to unstable economic conditions and this was to their benefit.

Now that the odds are in our favor, we can push Multichoice to implement a quarterly review of the prices so that we can benefit from the gains made by the gain in the local currency, inflation or other economic factors. But we should be fully aware that this change will be a double edged sword, should there be a loss, we shouldn’t cry foul as well.

We can also petition for a price freeze so that there is no adjustment in April, 2023.

Since we are all now aware that Multichoice only reviews it’s prices annually, the government cannot get involved and pay per view is not possible since all the other countries have got similar packages. We can do this little by little. We can start with fighting for a quarterly prices review. But remember that however we decide to fight, the petition cannot be fought on social media but by actually visiting Multichoice offices and formally filing a petition.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I disagree….it can be fought on social media by encouraging people to subscribe to other online platforms like netflix. Multichoice has become too arrogant because they are a monopoly under satellite tv, but with online streaming Good Luck.

  2. Africans wasting millions of dollars every month making South Africans very wealthy instead of setting up their own stations…today you dont even need these rip off DSTV boxes you can simply buy a TV Internet box load a TV app on it and you will watch any movie, news worldwide you just need broadband Internet.

    • Very true I can even watch DSTV on mine but since hey are full of repeats I have never tuned to them for one year now. I watch all of Africa’s Europe and American sports. And more shows than I would on DSTV. DSTV need to bring down their prices.
      In fact I think the author should have titled his article “With strengthened Kwacha, shouldn’t Multi-Choice Reduce Subscription Fees?”

  3. Your analysis is good. But why reduce if demand is high. We are in a free market economy driven by market forces.. There is high demand , why reduce. They will only reduce the moment we start subscribing to star TV and not to dstv

    • Demand is not high they are just the only vendor on the market …you try settting up this type of business and see how much red tape they will throw at you because ZNBC has shares in DSTV, its counterproductive. Its the same with the beer market you have Zambia Breweries backed by the largest brewing company in the world Anheuser-Busch Brewing company which bullies independent breweries and start ups in the country.

    • Not very good. For example South Africa doesnt have one price for DSTV. Zambia too as author flippantly acknowledges somewhere.He actually quotes Zambia’s cheapest package (in Kwacha) therefore confusing his audience since his main chart has prices in dollars. We all know DSTV doesnt price in dollars but in local currency so he should have contacted them to find out what ‘formula’ they use for pricing in different countries.

  4. You can not force Multichoice to change their subscription fees. Zambians instead have a choice or right to switch to other TV/Satellite/Online networks.
    Multichoice know their market very well having been in Zambia since 1994.
    Zambians complaining about the “high fees” should accept that Multichoice is actually not targeting them.
    Instead of crying everyday on social media just switch to something else.

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    • Check wherever you are and compare the prices. Multichoice is overpriced because of its monopoly. The satellite prices in Europe are below half of Multichoice. The US prices are even cheaper. Multichoice has been asked for decades to adopt pay per view but they are reluctant because they benefit from blanket subscriptions. They have only recently dismantled these because of the competition they are getting from online services.

  5. kkkkkk stop lying they increse when ever the dollar goes up so they just have to reduce period and please stop telling lies,every were is lies this time why, were isthis spirit coming from kanshi stop it you people.If you a real patriots be fair for mother zambia.All you want is always to call the president to come in no no just reduce baba.The kwacha has appriciated.we are fade up fake stories

  6. kkkkkk stop lying they increse when ever the dollar goes up so they just have to reduce period and please stop telling lies,every were is lies this time why, were isthis spirit coming from kanshi stop it you people.If you a real patriots be fair for mother zambia.All you want is always to call the president to come in no no just reduce baba.The kwacha has appriciated.we are fade up of fake stories

  7. Multichoice knows that this is an artificial appreciation. BOZ is using foreign reserves flooding the market with dollars. The best one can do is buy this cheap dollars and thank me later. You can resell at a good rate in Malawi obtaining Zambian Kwacha as at today.
    There are no fundamentals to point at the current appreciation as we do not even manufacture toothpicks.

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  8. Why can’t govt hear people’s cries and get involved???
    This is a luxury product. It’s not mealie meal or petrol. Government can’t be seen to be wasting its time in apamwamba interests when 60 percent of the population is unemployed

Comments are closed.

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