MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv will carry a pan-African lifestyle channel named Honey from February 12.
The launch of the new TV channel is part of MultiChoice’s efforts to offer content that celebrates and explores African lives by focusing on lifestyle, fashion, food, weddings, dating and reality.
The channel will be broadcast in all key African markets including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC, Cameroon and South Africa.
The channel is operated by South African print media company Media24’s television unit, which is also responsible for Afrikaans lifestyle channel VIA. Like MultiChoice, Media24 is backed by South African internet group Naspers. Honey will air on DStv channel 173.
MultiChoice Nigeria’s CEO John Ugbe said: “DStv is thrilled to launch Honey. The channel is part of our commitment to keep bringing fresh, authentic, and local content to our Nigerian subscribers. For many years, we’ve seen lifestyle is a popular genre in the country; and now our subscribers will see their own talent, food, celebrations and their families as the well-deserved hero.”
Nigeria’s House of Representatives has ordered that MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe be tested for Covid-19 after he failed to turn up to answer a House committee’s questions.
An ad hoc House committee is currently investigating the non-implementation of the pay-as-you-go tariff plan by Nigerian satellite broadcasters and the subscription increase for MultiChoice’s DStv service.
It has now instructed Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to find and test Ugbe after his non-appearance.
Ugbe twice failed to appear before the committee and in the second of two letters said his absence resulted from an illness he had contracted after arriving in Abuja on Tuesday for the hearing.
The letter was signed by Gozie Onumonu, MultiChoice’s head of regulatory affairs, on his behalf and addressed to the chairman of the committee, Unyime Idem. The letter appealed to the committee to again reschedule the meeting until Ugbe regains his health and is cleared by his doctor.
The letter reads: “We regret to inform the committee that we would be unable to appear before it today due to a sudden illness of our chief executive officer, after arriving in Abuja yesterday for this meeting. Because of the abundance of caution needed to be taken in line with the current pandemic, we believe it is necessary that the meeting be deferred until he has regained his health and is cleared by his medical doctor.
“In the meantime, we will submit written submissions to the committee to assist the committee in its investigations. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to the committee and please be assured of our best efforts at all times.”
A motion was moved by a member of the committee, Julius Pondi, directing the NCDC to locate Ugbe, test him for Covid-19 and report back to the house within four days.
Another member of the committee, Prestige Ossy, added: “This person is taking the committee for a ride. If he had written us or the doctor where he is hospitalised, then we will talk about it. But where he is in his house and we are all here seated waiting for him to come and he didn’t send any representative, this is the very height of neglect of parliamentary invitation and necessary sanctions should be invoked to make him appear as quickly as possible.”
Ossy added that the NCDC should also trace other passengers who were onboard the plane with him or had any contact with him at the airport.
Nigerians have criticised the planned move by MultiChoice Nigeria to increase the cost of its pay TV service DStv to reflect an increase in value-added tax.
According to some, the rise in VAT – from 5% to 7.5% from June 1 – is coming at the wrong time since the Covid-19 lockdown has led to an increase in the price of many commodities as well as transportation.
Felix Morka, executive director of the Social Economic Rights Action Centre in Lagos, said: “The vast majority of the people outside the formal system are the major target of the lockdown and it has hit them devastatingly. And any disruption to their daily livelihood has a huge and significant impact on their ability to meet the most basic needs.”
Investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo took to social media to say: “It’s highly insensitive of DStv to announce a pay hike (starting June 1) in the middle of a pandemic that has left many of us broke. While lots of companies have been financially battered for the past six weeks, DStv is one of the few that has gained from the increased patronage.
“Even those who would not ordinarily renew their DStv subscription did it this time around to keep themselves busy at home during the lockdown. DStv should have shown gratitude by waiting for this pandemic to blow over. This is not how to reward your customers.”
However, John Ugbe, CEO of the Nigerian arm of Naspers-owned African pay TV group MultiChoice, denied the company was hiking subscription rates and said the rise had been forced on the company.
“We are not increasing prices. What has happened is that the federal government’s finance act was signed in January and implementation began in February, so the increase in VAT is what we are implementing now,” he said.
“We thought we could absorb the cost for a while, and that was what we did. We’ve absorbed the cost since February and we have been paying the difference in taxes and we can no longer do so. So once again, we are not hiking prices, it’s only the 2.5% increase in VAT that we are implementing.”
New reality TV show The Ultimate Love has unveiled the 16 housemates who will compete for a chance at romance, and even marriage.
The show features people who are single and looking for a relationship and puts them in a tastefully furnished residence known as the Love Pad for two months.
They will be guided by media personality Adesuwa Onyenokwe, who will help the contestants navigate their love life, while Nollywood actor Dakore Egbuson-Akande and radio presenter Oluwaseun Olaniyan host the show.
John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “After a long search, we are delighted to have Dakore Akande and Oluwaseun on board as hosts for our new reality show. We believe they have all it takes to deliver a great on-screen experience that will resonate positively with viewers.
“They have done well in their respective careers in the Nigerian entertainment and media space and we believe The Ultimate Love will be a great inclusion to their portfolios as hosts.”
The couple who emerge as the winner will be rewarded with a N5m cash prize, a well-furnished home and lavish traditional wedding if they choose to stay committed.
The contestants are Arnold, David Wilson, Iyke, Jay, Kachi, Louis, Obichukwu, Bolanle, Cherry, Chris, Ebiteinye, Jenny Koko, Rosie, Michael and Theresa.
The show is broadcast on DStv channel 198 and GOtv channel 29.
Nigeria’s minister for youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, has revealed plans to partner with MultiChoice Nigeria in an effort to revolutionise the country’s sports sector.
The initiative was announced in Abuja when the CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, visited the minister.
According to Dare, MultiChoice is well positioned to assist with a reset of the sports sector, which include a revamp of infrastructure, talent development initiatives and a drive for corporate sector involvement to accelerate financial growth in the sector.
Ugbe said: “MultiChoice’s commitment to sports development, which began decades ago, will remain unwavering. The company is the biggest investor in Nigerian sports as well as pre-eminent supporter of Nigerian boxing through Gotv’s boxing night, NextGen search and the recently introduced GOtv boxing night mini, each of which have rescued the sport from the wretched state into which it fell for over two decades.”
He added that MultiChoice is the broadcaster for the Nigerian Professional Football League and live-broadcasts the matches of the Super Eagles, Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets in addition to games from the prestigious European football leagues and other major global sporting events.
In addition, MultiChoice has funded a training programme in conjunction with the University of Nigeria Nsukka and South Africa’s Wits University to raise sports administration standards.
Dare said: “The desired partnership has the potential to bring about the much-needed renaissance in the sector. The move will be led by Maria Wophill, a deputy director, who will work with MultiChoice to bring the partnership to life.”
Pay TV company MultiChoice Group has introduced five new bouquet packages on its DStv and GOtv platforms to help strengthen its family offering In preparation for the festive season.
The new bouquets include DStv Confam, which has over 120 channels, DStv Yanga (94 channels), DStv Padi (51 channels), GOtv Jolli (68 channels) and GOtv Jinja (47 channels).
Starting from December 1, customers will have the option to choose from any of the bouquet packages that have been exclusively and specially curated for the Nigerian market.
John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “The introduction of the new packages is highly customised for Nigerians to unlock new levels of entertainment and value.
“We are constantly driven to ensure that customers are satisfied with the overall quality of our services. The new packages are exclusively curated from Naija and for Nigerians, driven by great programming and affordable prices. With improved package options available to our valued customers, they can choose a subscription plan that best fits their needs and budget.”
MultiChoice Nigeria has unveiled a new relationship-focused reality show, auditions for which are being held this month.
Ultimate Love will see eight single men living with eight single women in a house in an isolated location for two months, with the participants hoping to find life-long love.
Paired up based on mutual attraction, the contestants will engage in series of locally inspired activities as they attempt to emerge as the ultimate couple.
Similarly to Big Brother, the housemates will be closely monitored by live television cameras and personal microphones as they interact daily with a counsellor.
Viewers will have the opportunity to vote off their least favourite couple on a weekly basis, while the winning couple will be rewarded with a lavish traditional wedding ceremony and a fully furnished home, among other prizes.
Single men and women aged 23 and above who have an active subscription to DStv or GOtv can register to take part in Ultimate Love by clicking here. Auditions are being held from November 22 to 30.
MultiChoice Nigeria CEO John Ugbe said: “Reality TV shows are immensely popular because they showcase real people experiencing real-life situations, thus connecting with viewers and fans on a personal and relatable level. There are fewer things realer than love, and Ultimate Love, our new and exciting reality show, celebrates this.
The show will air live, 24/7 on all DStv and select GOtv packages starting February 2020.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has launched a mobile app that allows its customers of its digital terrestrial platform, GOtv, to make changes to their accounts.
MyGOtv is available as a free download via the iOS and Android app stores.
MultiChoice CEO John Ugbe said the app would enable customers to manage their accounts, including the ability to make payments, check balances, change packages and manage viewing preferences.
“The new app will form part of the numerous digital platforms that are innovative and functional to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of our valued customers,” Ugbe said.
“And with the start of season four of reality TV show Big Brother Naija, customers get 100 additional votes to keep their favourite housemate in the competition when they vote via the MyGOtv app.
“By enabling customers to independently manage their accounts, we expect to see a reduction in queries and queues at call centres, thereby freeing up our customer-facing staff to provide improved one-on-one support to those customers who require it. Our goal is to provide an accessible, affordable and efficient platform for self-service to improve overall customer experience when engaging with GOtv.”
Ugbe added that he functionality of the app would be continuously worked on and updated to adapt to technological advancements and improve the user experience.
Reality TV show Big Brother Naija, which starts its fourth season on June 30, has revealed the winner of this year’s show will receive a N30m cash prize and a total prize worth N60m.
This is an increase on last year’s show when winner Miracle Ikechukwu Igbokwetook home N45m worth of prizes.
John Ugbe, CEO of the show’s broadcaster, MultiChoice, said: “Each edition of Big Brother Naija significantly improves on all aspects of the previous season and this year is no different.
“The winner of season four will walk away from the house with a N30m cash prize and a top-of-the-range SUV, amongst many other exciting prizes.
“The Big Brother Naija winner will also emerge as the most popular and marketable personality on the continent, as the show is known to launch prominent careers in arts, entertainment and other supporting industries.”
In addition, the winner will win a trip to Dubai, a home makeover, a year’s supply of Pepsi and One Africa Fest VIP experience, a year’s supply of Indomie noodles and Munch it, a new Oppo smartphone and also a bonus prize of two VIP tickets to a European football final, courtesy of BET9ja
Pay TV operator GOtv has added nine channels to its Max and Plus packages for subscribers in Enugu and Aba.
The selection of top local Nigerian channels comprises Spice TV, MiTV, WAP TV, ITV Benin, BISCON, Liberty TV, Tiwan Tiwan, R2TV and Rave.
John Ugbe, CEO of GOtv parent MultiChoice Nigeria, said of the move: “This brings to six the number of cities that have in one month seen an increase in our local content offering. We are witnessing a growth in the number of local channels in Nigeria that showcase different genres of TV programming and we are ensuring that our GOtv customers are not left out of that experience.”
GOtv has also added more local channels for Max and Plus subscribers in Jos, Kaduna, Asaba and Onitsha.
Ugbe said the additions were evidence of the company’s commitment to giving more Nigerians access to quality local and international programming at an affordable price, while also supporting the federal government’s digital switchover process.
“We continue to invest in up-to-date technology which ensures that our business is at par with global standards while ensuring our customers keep getting the best services available,” he added.
MultiChoice Nigeria is preparing to launch a special pop-up channel for muslim subscribers on DStv and GOtv throughout the month of Ramadan.
This channel is dedicated to take care of the spiritual needs of Muslims by broadcasting local Ramadan-related content.
The pop-up channel will run from May 5 to June 4 and will air Ramadan content including talkshows, music, lifestyle, cooking shows, docuseries, daily calls to prayer, children’s programmes and conduct and obligations of Muslims during Ramadan.
John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “We are delighted to launch the Ramadan Pop-up Channel, which is a platform carefully created to provide faith-nourishing television content for every member of the Muslim family, including the young ones.
“The month of Ramadan is an important one for Muslims worldwide, as it provides an opportunity for physical as well as spiritual purification through fasting, increase in worship and recitation of the Holy Quran. The Ramadan Pop-up Channel provides a platform for our subscribers to have access to programmes that increase their faith and trust in Allah.”
He further explained that the channel will provide programmes that will strengthen the beliefs of Muslims and also entertain them throughout the Ramadan period.
Active subscribers on all DStv packages including DStv Now, as well as GOtv Plus and GOtv Max Muslim customers, will have access to the channel.
The specific channel codes have not yet been announced.
Online auditions are underway to find the final housemate for the forthcoming fourth season of reality show Big Brother Naija (BBN).
The show’s producers are looking for Nigerians aged at least 21 and with a valid international passport. Candidates must also be subscribers to pay TV platforms DStv or GOtv. Auditions require them to submit a two-minute video of themselves explaining why they should be selected.
Live auditions have already been conducted across eight different states in Nigeria.
John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “We are giving more Nigerians one more chance to be a part of the biggest reality TV show on the continent by introducing an additional online audition process.
“We’ve seen how much the show continues to resonate with Nigerians and it’s our desire to create more success stories from the BBNaija platform.
“We are excited about this new twist and ask that more Nigerians take advantage of this novel opportunity to actualise their dreams of getting into the BBNaija house.”
Big Brother Naija 2019 is sponsored by online betting platform Bet9ja. It is based on the Big Brother reality format owned by Endemol Shine Group.
Pay TV company MultiChoice Nigeria has introduced three more NTA channels as well as a local entertainment network to expand its content offering on its DStv platform.
The channels are NTA 2, NTA Parliament, NTA News 24 and POP Central TV. NTA 2 airs on DStv 369 and is a free-to-air entertainment channel offering music, movies and talkshows.
NTA Parliament airs on DStv 370 and looks at issues affecting Nigeria. It also covers live sittings of the legislative arms of government, the National Assembly (state and federal), House of Representatives and the Senate.
NTA News 24, which airs on DStv 419, is an English-language general news channel that provides news about various sectors of the economy, including analysing topical issues that affect the country.
POP Central TV airs on DStv 189 and is a pop-culture entertainment platform that focuses on expressing diverse culture through the use of content creators and other interest groups.
John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “With the launch of these channels, we have once again enhanced our local content offering and provided our customers with more options to choose from. The new NTA channels and POP Central TV channel will showcase authentic Nigerian content from news to general entertainment that will keep customers in and out of Nigeria abreast of the happenings within the country.”
The new channels are available on DStv Premium, Compact +, Compact, Family and Access packages.
The winners of the eighth edition of the DSTV Eutelsat Star Awards essay and poster competition have been revealed.
The essay category was won by Tirzah Ikiri of Zamani College, Kaduna, while the poster award was won by Prosper Okarike of Graceland International College, Port-Harcourt.
The runner-up in the essay category was Micheal Okwutu of The Heavenly College, Lagos, while Wandoo Ayabam of Hill Crest School, Jos, was runner-up for the poster.
The Nigerian winners can now compete to be crowned Africa’s best in both categories. The competition was open to students between ages 14 and 19 and over 70 entries were received.
John Ugbe, CEO of pay TV group MultiChoice, said: “The award is meant to inspire innovative thinking among secondary-school students in Africa, to create awareness of how science and technology can be applied to everyday life and to showcase the many ways that satellites already impact the development of the African continent.”
This competition was organised by Naspers-owned MultiChoice in partnership with European satellite operator Eutelsat.
Nigerian pay TV platform GOtv is offering extra channels to its subscribers during an ‘open week’ to mark its seventh anniversary this month.
From 19 to 26 October, more than 65 channels from the premium GOtv Max bouquet will be available to GOtv Plus subscribers. They will have access to content such as Fox Entertainment, Sony Max, La Liga football on SS Select 4 and CBS reality.
John Ugbe, MD of GOtv parent MultiChoice Nigeria, said the need for GOtv to give subscribers more entertainment options led to the introduction of GOtv Max.
He said: “We are glad to celebrate this milestone with our customers, who have always been the core of our business. This celebration is indeed a testimony to our commitment to put our customers at the heart of everything we do. As we continue to grow, we will continue to make improvements and add more value to our GOtv customers”.
GOtv currently has four bouquets: GOtv MAX, GOtv Plus, GOtv Value and GOtv Lite.
Broadcaster MultiChoice has released the names of 20 shortlisted applicants who have been selected to join the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF).
Narrowing it down from about 3,000 applicants from Ghana and Nigeria, the MTF judges made their selections based on the candidates’ industry qualifications and their passion for telling the African narrative.
Femi Odugbemi, film director and producer and MTF regional director, said: “From the thousands of applications received, it’s evident there’s a strong desire to learn from and work with other African creatives.
“Not only will the MultiChoice Talent Factory be a springboard to a career in the entertainment industry, it will also create a closely knit community of African professionals with a willingness to narrate Africa’s stories to the world,” he added.
The shortlisted students include Nigerian candidates Idongesit Amba, Allen Onyige, Gilbert Bassey, Precious Iroagalachi, Nanret Paul Kumbet, Akpera Mnena, Umm’salma Saliu, Ugwu Uchenna Eileen, Sonia Nwosu, Moses Akerele, Metong Minwon, Bolaji Adelakun, Joseph Adeniyi, Kemi Tamara Adeyemi, Tochukwu Nwaiwu and Blessing Bulus.
The Ghanaian candidates are Edmund Kobby Asamoah, Henry Konadu Denkyira, Irene Dumevi Yaamoakoa and Patience Esiawonam Adisenu.
MultiChoice will sponsor the students’ tuition, accommodation and stipend for the duration of their training in the academy. The MTF academy will begin on October 1.
John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice, said: “As a company that is deeply rooted in Nigeria, we understand that many young, aspiring filmmakers have the capacity to learn and strengthen their skillset to give back to their communities but may not be financially equipped to do so.
“The MultiChoice Talent Factory focuses on making sure that those gems are nurtured and their talents developed to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s creative industry.”
From next month, MTF students will begin to acquire new skillsets required to work in the television and film industry. At the end of the 12-month programme, they will be expected to produce content for TV and film that will air on M-Net channels as part of MultiChoice pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.
Pan-African pay TV platform MultiChoice is offering subscribers a free trial of its channels.
The Naspers-owned company is to give loyal customers access to some of its channels for 18 days at no extra cost.
From July 13 to 31, all customers of MultiChoice-owned DTH pay TV platform DSTV and DTT service GOtv will have unlimited access to the Supersport channels.
Some children’s channels on DSTV will also be made available without restrictions during this period. The channels include Cartoon Network and NickToons
GOtv Plus subscribers are also going to enjoy free access to five channels – Sony Max, CBSReality, ROK 2, Fox and SuperSport Select 4 – usually only accessible to GOtv Max subscribers. This offer will last from July 13 to 26.
According to the company, this initiative is a way to reward loyal customers.
John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “MultiChoice Nigeria is excited to continue to bring customers the best in entertainment. This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring more value to our customers.
“At MultiChoice, we understand that times are tough for our subscribers who not only want to experience the best television entertainment but to do so at a price they can afford. However, we also understand our subscribers on lower bouquets would enjoy the opportunity to watch some of the content available on the higher bouquets.”
MultiChoice, owner of pan-African pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv, has launched a new initiative to boost the African creative industries.
MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is intended to improve the African film and television industry and comprises three parts: an academy, masterclasses and a portal.
It began with the launch of a regional academy, which offers a 12-month educational curriculum, in Lagos. Others are located in Kenya and Zambia.
Sixty applicants from 13 countries will be admitted to the MTF Academy, which will begin classes on October 1. Applications are currently open and will close on the June 5.
John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “The film and television industries have not developed at the same pace as other industries on the continent, and not for a lack of talent, passion or imagination. We are abundantly blessed in these areas. However, the space given for this expression has at best been limited and, at worst, been relegated to the fringes of the mainstream economy, leaving in its wake, unfulfilled dreams, unexplored talent and unwritten stories.”
Femi Odugbemi, the director of the MTF Academy, West Africa, said: “We must consciously build capacity so that our next-generation filmmakers and producers can also create wealth and create employment by being entrepreneurs.”
MTF Academy students are expected to produce content for TV and film which will air on DSTV and GOtv.
Pay TV company MultiChoice has held the fifth edition of its annual Digital Dialogue Conference in Dubai.
The four-day conference saw media professionals and stakeholders discuss the future of Africa’s pay TV industry.
The speakers included David Abraham, former CEO of Channel 4 in the UK; marketing innovation expert and futurist Paul Papadimitriou; Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MNet; Nollywood filmmaker Femi Odugbemi; and John Ugbe, MD of MultiChoice Nigeria.
Discussing the amplification of African stories with digital technology, Yolisa Phahle said that creative innovation in local content is what keeps viewers interested.
“You speak to any of the people involved in the early days of MultiChoice, one of the things they remind me of is the absolute necessity to not just understand what the future holds but to shape the future, to be a disruptor and, if necessary, even to cannibalise yourself. ‘Why launch GOtv when you already have DStv?’ for example. But MultiChoice Africa was launched by people who were creating a media company not for the present, but one for the future,” she said.
According to her, creating local content in languages audiences understands is what makes content king. Emphasising the necessity for local content, she said that MultiChoice ensures it keeps all of Africa informed by producing 16 local content channels across the continent which showcase local storytellers.
“Today, in the midst of the digital revolution, collectively we have the opportunity to not only tell stories that educate and inform African audiences, but the digital age means we are in a position to take African stories to the world and create a global market for what we do.
“By using the internet and leveraging technology, we have the ability to reach audiences at a global level and the success of companies like Iroko TV, artists like Davido, actresses like Lupita N’yongo and the movie Black Panther are confirmation that the world is ready to consume African stories, celebrate African culture and embrace African languages,” she said.
Agreeing with Phahle, Peter Papadimitriou highlighted reasons why pay TV companies should put consumers’ interest above all else. “The current challenge for pay TV companies is to shift the focus from content delivery systems to understanding its consumers through primary data. For instance, when they watch, how long and how much,” he said.
“The new consumer is nomadic, they can be everywhere and anywhere – tribal, gathering around similarities. Singular, entrepreneurial and being who they want to be.”
Abraham discussed the plight of both pay and free TV. The pay model is about a battle between free TV and service providers’ creating pay walls and maintaining exclusivity over key content in order to promote monthly subscriptions and minimise loss of customers, he claimed. But now, broadband, as an additional service, and mobile phone technology is threatening this.
The advent of telecoms service providers raised the question of whether consumers will be able to shuttle between so many providers to find the best content.
“The African continent, with its younger populations and progressive use of mobile, can both build on and leapfrog Western markets in terms of future models of content creation and distribution,” he said.
The Digital Dialogue Conference is an annual event organised by MultiChoice Africa. Since its inception in 2012, it has become a thought leadership platform that fosters a better understanding of the future direction of Africa’s pay TV industry.