“At first, it sounded like a badly-intentioned prank. I mean, how ingenious is a name like TSTV, which sounds like a parody of DSTV? But there is indeed going to be another satellite television company providing direct to home services to Nigerians. Telcom Satellite TV was formally launched on Sunday, October 1, 2017, also Nigeria’s Independence Day. I’m not sure if there was any symbolism intended, like, TSTV liberating Nigerian TV viewers? But who is TSTV anyway? In their own words on their website, they describe themselves thus, ‘TSTV Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative Pay-TV operator’.
‘As far as arrivals go, TSTV surely arrived in a blaze of glory. Among other things, this ‘wholly Nigerian company’ snagged a three-year tax-free package from the Federal Government, as announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at the launch. In return, TSTV was offering, ‘refined offerings of novel pay as you view subscription, pause subscription, complimentary Internet service, video calls and an array of amazing TV channels with premium entertaining, informative and educative programs that cut across all genres.’
‘Now, as far as expectations go, they are high right at this very moment. Not that many people need much convincing to be excited at the arrival of ‘cheap’ (if that’s your thing), ‘affordable’ or ‘flexible’ satellite TV. Even me, at this point in my household, I could do with a much cheaper satellite TV. I am certainly paying for more than I need. At the very least, give me something more flexible. Really, almost everyone fits into (or can appreciate) any of these categories. If not directly for themselves, for family members, perhaps.’
The above was the situation two years ago when there was so much hoopla about TSTV, as if it were the messiah cable service that had come to rescue hapless subscribers. Today, a few days to the second anniversary of TSTV’s formal launch by the then (and still) Minister of Information and Culture, it looks like a good time to ask, ‘What happened to the TSTV promise?’ It’s either of two things. One, that the station is up, running and making many Nigerians happy, or the station came almost dead on arrival and has taken money from many who must be very unhappy now. Do you know anyone who’s using TSTV? If not, what happened to customers who had already paid money to TSTV for promised services? More importantly, if TSTV has not delivered, has anyone been held responsible? By anyone I mean the government representatives who were pushing TSTV with ‘their chest’ as the ‘wholly Nigerian’ company that was going to deal with DSTV.
What was wholly Nigerian about TSTV anyway? The company partnered with ABS, and although laudable, the fact still remains that ABS is not Nigerian, not even African. Mind you, I have no problems with a Nigerian business in Nigeria taking on a company perceived to be South African; the operative word being ‘perceived’ since we don’t have all the numbers. And this is not to support those working so hard to promote the idea that there are no tangible South Africa-owned businesses in Nigeria in the light of the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
However, using the ‘wholly-Nigerian’ tag is a route we’ve been through before with HITV and look how that turned out. Well, to look on the bright side, at the very least, HITV now represents a free case study of what can go wrong when you overpromise and under-deliver– from their ill-advised decision to acquire the rights to EPL for starters. Suffice it to say that we should automatically be suspicious when some government types begin to ‘form’ patriotic by over-stressing the Nigerian-ness of any person or thing. Because when it’s not politically expedient or when it suits their agenda, they’ll dissect the tribal or geopolitical makeup of certain people. That’s usually when the public would be told about the break-down of states of origin and things like that. Come to think of it, this is the anniversary of the provocative call by a northern group for the Igbos to leave the north.
As I did two years ago, I visited the TSTV website and nothing much appears to have changed. In the past, when I clicked on sections such as ‘Fix A Problem’, TV Guide’’, ‘Contact US’, the ‘drop downs’ returned empty. This time around, under ‘Help and Support’ when you click on the drop-down– ‘Fix a problem’, the site returns a ‘Not Found’ error message. Again, I ask, What has happened to TSTV? Will someone please tell us if my fears about the real ‘tearsTV’ have come to pass?