Subscriber Acquisition Initiatives in Ghana’s Satellite-Television  

(Pay TV Direct-To-Home Bouquet) Market

Gone were the days when Ghana had few television broadcasting stations offering few channels and content to the few television set owners. In recent times, 68.9% of households in Ghana own a television set as stated in the Household Survey on ICT in Ghana published by the National Communication Authority and Ghana Statistical Service in March 2020. The National Communication Authority also stated on its website that a total of “110 television broadcasting stations are on-air as of 20th December 2021”, offering television viewers varied channels and content to choose from.

Regarding the National Communication Authority publication on 31st August 2008, one can use the type of service that the broadcasting stations offer to categorize them into Free to air and Pay TV. Free-to-air stations broadcast their content free of charge to viewers, however, “Pay-Tv viewers have to subscribe to a bundle of content that is broadcasted through a Cable TV, Internet Protocol (IP) TV, or Satellite Dish Network”.

Considering the Satellite Television Broadcasting (Pay TV Direct-To-Home Bouquet) option, clients are expected to buy a starter pack (which includes a satellite dish, low-noise block downconverter, wires/cables, and a decoder) and then have it installed at their preferred location. They are then required to subscribe to a bouquet of content that is expected to be renewed periodically according to the terms and conditions of the agreement set out by the broadcaster or service provider.

With the variety of channels and content options available to the television viewers in the country, it is clear then, that the sustainability of any broadcaster that invests in the Satellite TV broadcasting (Pay TV Direct-To-Home Bouquet) business, hinges mostly on its subscriber base. The revenue from their regular subscription payment is what will primarily keep the broadcaster in business. As such, subscriber acquisition and retention are key activities in this business line.

This article seeks to propose some innovative strategies that can facilitate subscriber acquisition and retention in Ghana.

Subscriber Acquisition

Defining the target market that the broadcaster wants to serve in the country enables the service provider to design and package the contents in the right way. It is the first step in customer acquisition and retention. To succeed in driving subscriber acquisition, broadcasting stations must secure the broadcast rights of some much sought-after content and broadcast them exclusively on their decoders.

In Ghana, it is assumed that action movies and sports content (especially football/soccer) appeal to most of the male population, whilst a greater number of women are also very much in love with African Movies and Telenovelas, especially those from Latin American and Asian Countries. Children are equally enthused by animated content. Additionally, including some Ghanian-owned content and channels on the broadcaster’s platform is also seen as a way to go as this will serve the dual interest of the viewers which will consequentially draw traffic to the service provider.

In the Satellite TV market in Ghana, broadcasters can drive product availability and accessibility through their route-to-market partners (dealers and installers), their self-operated retail outlets, and their frontline field sales team. Having a competitive trade margin, good trade incentives, and regular trade bonding activities for the trade partners (dealers and installers) will aid them to go the extra mile in recommending the brand to potential clients. They will also be willing to lead market-based activities like roadshows, installer engagement activities, and market storms which will drive sales offtakes in their shops and consequently result in subscriber growth for the service provider.

Having an established frontline field sales team to lead and manage sales initiatives for the broadcasting station will help grow the subscriber base. Some of the sales initiatives that the company’s sales team can deploy include market storms, neighborhood sales drives, community sales with social groups, and roadshows on high-traffic routes. They will also be in a good position to undertake Business to Business (B2B) sales presentations to corporate clients like hotels, apartments, restaurants, and other corporate institutions that use the content to drive their business operations. This will impact positively on the subscriber growth and revenue generation for the service provider.

Satellite TV companies in Ghana, are implementing a lot of above-the-line activities to drive brand awareness. However, one media that is least used but quite impactful is the Community Public Address system that is found in our market centers, lorry stations, and peri-urban and rural areas. Even though it is a low-budget media, it has a great listenership as people around its catchment area are always willing to listen to what the announcer has to say.

Subscriber Retention Initiatives

Subscriber retention in this industry is as important as subscriber acquisition and plays a significant role if the business wants to survive in the market. Some of the initiatives currently in place include:

  • Placing direct calls to dormant subscribers to renew their subscription.
  • Empowering selected Dealers to collect subscription payments on behalf of the service provider.
  • Introducing a self-payment option through the use of mobile money platforms
  • Displaying notification messages on the television screen and sending SMS messages to subscribers’ phones; and
  • Undertaking subscription-based consumer promotions to entice subscribers to reconnect.

However, additional innovative strategies can be implemented to ensure customer retention.  

One of such subscriber retention strategies is the display of the client subscription status on the boot screen. This regular update will help inform clients about when their subscription renewal will be due.

Also, aligning subscribers to the installers who fixed their device at the time of purchase is relevant in ensuring customer retention. With this strategy, the installers will be tasked to encourage their assigned subscribers to renew their subscriptions and earn a commission on each successful renewal.

Enhancing the easy and smooth payment of subscriptions is seen as an essential strategy that will help subscribers renew their subscriptions. Broadcasters can develop a self-serving mobile application that will aid subscribers to link their device/account to their mobile wallet to shorten the payment processes they usually go through when using mobile payment platforms.

The payments for the subscription fees by the users could also be structured in a way to increase convenience for the customers. It could be structured along with the ‘Susu Model’ (daily / weekly payment system) where one can pay his subscription fees in small amounts over a period to build a lump sum that will be used as payment fees when time is due. Satellite TV service providers can develop an application/software that will allow customers to pay their subscription fee in bits from their mobile wallet into an assigned account to build a lump sum that can be used as subscription payment when the renewal day is due.

Conclusion

Even though some Satellite TV service providers prefer to come up with initiatives that drive device sales, a lot more focus should be on getting the device sold installed, before a sale can be declared as complete and the owner classified as an acquired subscriber. The customer retention team must also come up with loads of initiatives to retain the active subscribers as that is the only way to guarantee business survival in this competitive market.

REFERENCES
National Communication Authority, List of Authorised TV Broadcasting Stations in Ghana As At Second
Quarter 2022, Page 3. –  https://nca.org.gh/television/
National Communication Authority, List of Authorised TV Broadcasting Stations in Ghana As At 31st
August 2008, Page 2. – https://nca.org.gh/television/
National Communications Authority And Ghana Statistical Services, Household Survey on ICT in Ghana,
March 2020, Page 9. –
https://statsghana.gov.gh/gssmain/fileUpload/pressrelease/Household%20Survey%20on%20ICT%
20in%20Ghana%20(Abridged)%20new%20(1).pdf
Research and Markets,  PayTV Market: Global Industry Tends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2021 – 2016, Paragraphed 2 – https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5442105/
pay-tv-market-global-industry-trends-share?gclid=CjwKCAiAvaGRBhBlEiwAiY-yMIDx4af36k4b8W
pxLA-SeYw5mLJHw6q_F-puTMIrGLakMq5OGjEOyxoCBCAQAvD_BwE
The Susu Collection System in Ghana and experiences in linking formal and informal financial intermediaries, August 20,2013. Paragraph 1, – https://aaeafrica.org/the-susu-collection
-system-in-ghana-and-experiences-in-linking-formal-and-informal-financial-intermediaries/

Joris

Joris  is a sales and marketing professional with extensive working experience in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Telecommunication Industry in Ghana. With added expertise in Business Development, Project Management, Media Sales, and FinTech, he enjoys working with colleagues to build brands, manage projects, work with startup firms and contribute to knowledge-sharing efforts. Joris is passionate about The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and he is always willing to support any initiative that will make the world an exciting and better place for all. Joris lives in Ghana and loves making new friends who want to make an impact. He is currently following his passion by writing business-related articles and conducting web research on various business topics.

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