Chief Executive of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Mr. Babatunde Irukera, has stated that the pay-as-you-go billing model in telecommunications is not necessarily applicable to pay television.
Irukera said this on Friday while appearing on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s flagship public affairs programme. Responding to a question on the subject, Irukera said many pay television subscribers confuse the operations of telecommunications with those of the pay television industry. He explained that what obtains in telecoms is not necessarily applicable in pay television, as broadcast content must have been paid for and customers only pay for access unlike in telecommunications where the subscriber only pays when the timer starts.
He added that what consumers mean to ask for is actually pay-per-view and went further to differentiate the two terms.
Irukera also said the FCCPC’s role does not include imposing business models on operators, saying the price is negotiated between buyers and sellers.
He however said if the commission sees a business model more profitable and beneficial to consumers, it would advance it.
“Our role is to make sure that consumers get the best possible from a consumer protection standpoint; from the competition standpoint, to make that the playing field is level. And we don’t impose business models on operators. They choose what they want to do and the price is something that is negotiated between consumers and sellers. But if we see that there is a business model that is more profitable, beneficial to consumers, we will certainly advance that.
“My challenge with what sometimes is the discussion around pay-as-you-go in pay TV is that there is a disconnection and we’ve been through this.
“We have conducted some investigations and we have done some surveys in different parts of the world.
“The pay-as-you-go model in telecommunications is not necessarily applicable and so we confuse it sometimes with pay-per-view.
“Pay-per-view is not that you pay for what you view from the point of when you turn your television on.
“It is primarily that there are certain programmes, maybe a boxing match, a soccer match or some movies that are still in the cinemas that some of the pay TV operators have bought and you can literally request instead of going to a stadium or going to a cinema to watch, you can watch it in your home and pay for that view.
“That is pay-per-view, but we confuse it with pay-as-you-go.
“What people are asking for in pay-as-you-go is when you turn on your television and you are watching, you pay. When you turn off your television and you are not watching, you don’t pay.
“It is difficult because the content has been created, what you are paying for is access.
“How you use the access is entirely discretionary and up to you.
“Unlike the telephone where the clock starts and the airtime goes down, you have paid for content,” he said.
The agitation for the implementation of pay-as-you-go in Nigeria is a loud one. An Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives is currently investigating the non-implementation of pay-as-you-go by pay television service providers. In a presentation to the committee on 30 June, Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the adoption of pay-as-you-go will allow consumers to select channels for themselves, pay daily, weekly or bi-monthly for packages.