The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) warns Multichoice- “Revise bouquet plans and abort plans to dismiss Nigerian staff”

Multichoice, the South African Pay-TV company has recently increased its subscription rates across bouquets. The hiked price could be argued to be because of the unpalatable situation the world is caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Nigerian government has however expressed their unhappiness towards this new development. 

NBC has revealed that not only have Multichoice increased bouquet rates, but they have also decided to lay their staff off.

Multichoice in a statement said that the latest developments are very much strategic, and intentional as they are in a bid to keep the business running. Stating that the Nigerian economy has a role to play in this. Considering the slump in the price of crude oil in the global market and the coronavirus pandemic, and the obvious fact that there has been a depreciation in the Nigerian currency, lately, the currency has been devalued twice, making naira very weak. 

Furthermore, Multichoice said there has also been an increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5%, and inflation now stands at 12.82%, following the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in the person of Armstrong Idachaba, said emphatically that the federal government would not take it lightly if there are loss of jobs, neither would Multichoice go against the orders of the government. An order was given by the House of Representatives to multichoice urging them to desist from any intended price hike. The director-general said, “They gave examples of other companies that are folding up because of economic challenges. At the end of the day, we told them that no matter the excuse they have, we are not going to tolerate any loss of jobs. We frown heavily at any attempt to lay off Nigerians because of these excuses. Secondly, we are not tolerating any unnecessary price hike. We asked them how they intend to do the increase and they said they want to start with the premium and then move gradually to the other packages,” 

Multuchoice intends to lay over 2000 people off. The company would enter into a consultation process with 2,194 of its employees within customer care (call centre) and the walk-in centres as part of the strategic realignment of its customer service delivery model.

This process will tell heavily on those workers who are not multi skilled. MultiChoice is looking to create more opportunities for multi-skilled workers with technological prowess, however, with the company looking to advance beyond call centre and walk-in centre by incorporating technology services to interact with customers, chances are slim.

According to MultiChoice Group Chief Executive, Calvo Mawela, multichoice is in an  increasing competition from Over-The-Top  (OTT) companies like NeNetflix and other growing Video-On-Demand platforms that are entering into Africa’s entertainment media market. Hence, repositioning its customer care in order to compete properly will be the right thing to do. In his own words; “The realignment is a response to the changing behaviour of customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to walk-in centres and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company

The video entertainment sector is seeing a rapid evolution with a growing number of players that have entered the industry. We have worked hard to minimise the impact of the business realignment on our people – those directly impacted by the process and their colleagues in the rest of the business.

This has not been an easy decision to make. But, in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies, yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs to ensure that we remain relevant, competitive and sustainable.

“We must act decisively to align to the change in customer behaviour and competition from (over-the-top, or OTT) services (like Netflix) because if we don’t reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk.”


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