Nigeria: Bonanza As HiTV Offers Free Airtime to Subscribers


In a move that has been described as unprecedented, HiTV, Nigerian owned pay television station, has announced a one-month free subscription for all existing subscribers, applicable in October 2007.

The gesture, according to the platform owned by Entertainment Highway Limited, is in appreciation to its teeming customers for remaining loyal to the brand despite teething challenges.

In a statement in Lagos made available to Leadership, the station, which commenced operations in February this year, said it was not unaware of the difficulties subscribers have encountered particularly since broadcasting of the English Premier League began last month.

While noting that several measures have been taken to redress the situation, the company said: "We are not making excuses for the lapses experienced because we are under an obligation to apply ourselves consistently and tirelessly to ensure quality services even as a start-up".

It, however, took note of a few salient factors that the subscribers should be informed about, especially as the company has a policy of carrying all stakeholders along by updating them on developments and steps taken.

Among them include the freezing of satellite signals during the transmission of matches, which is as a result of technical issues emanating from the satellite service providers overseas, denial of access, which may be due to expiration of subscription fee or wrong installation of dishes, and the fact that the station cannot extend its cable service outside Lagos based on the license from the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The hooking to satellite since August, the company noted, has made its signals available to viewers throughout the country, while the cable service, which is currently in operation in Lagos only with 17 channels, continues to grow.

Also the shortage of decoders that was experienced at launch due to high demand by subscribers has been addressed with the importation of over 100,000 decoders, just as the distribution chain has been reinvigorated to ensure smooth and prompt deliveries to all parts of the country.

On content, the company noted that the broadcasting of CNN would be discontinued at the end of September due to the malicious activities of a hostile competitor, though it has been replaced with other dedicated news channels as BBC, Sky News, and CNBC Africa.

Managing director and chief executive officer of HITV, Mr. Toyin Subair, who reiterated the company's determination to be consumer-sensitive, added that more content in such areas as movies, news and music,would be unveiled soon.

Subair said the immensely popular Hi Nolly, which showcases the best of Nigerian entertainment including movies, series and documentaries, has been refreshed with the addition of opera and drama, apart from more religious channels, including Love World. More local content is being developed.

Besides ensuring that there are no more breaks in transmission, he said the launching of the station's satellite means that its signals can be received throughout the country without hitch.

From different parts of the country, including Calabar, Enugu, Benin, and Kaduna, among others, subscribers have confirmed receiving clear signals on HiTV even as Subair gave assurances that "we have our eyes, ears and minds open to respond to customers' suggestions while exploring further opportunities to raise the stakes."

(Leadership (Abuja), 3 October 2007)