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Toyin Subair: HiTV 101

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Toyin Subair

The HiTV story is one which will be etched in the Nigerian business history books. After a long hiatus, Founder of HiTV Oluwatoyin Subair has opened up and shared his no-holds-barred view on what happened. The article was originally published on his Linkedin Page.

***

My great mentor asked me one day, a few years ago, why after the appointment of a Receiver/Manager by GTB over the assets of HiTV I gave up fighting and just rolled into a semi coma.

He said this because, he knew how hard we fought to save it. I responded with the story of King David crying to GOD over his sick child but then quickly wiped his face off, ate and started drinking, when the child was pronounced dead. You really just must know when to move on so that you can see and take the future opportunities that will come your way. Thereafter, Solomon, the wisest and richest ruler of Israel was born to David because he looked and lived forward.

People who care, ask me what happened to HiTV and others in their supreme wisdom profess their own reasons. I have kept my peace and quietly moved on in life, until I wrote an article recently about 1 million Digital Jobs from the Creative sector. I realise, however, that if I am throwing a challenge to other entrepreneurs to be bold and creative, I, who used to be a poster boy for a generation and who failed after 5 years of a great business endeavour, owed it to them to share my HiTV experience.

hitvChoose your shareholders carefully and know the implication of every clause in your Shareholders agreement, if you are going to sign one.
HiTV collapsed essentially because of a clause in our original Shareholders Agreement, which allowed a group of founding shareholders to block the company raising money or selling off a subsidiary. This right was exercised to block our capital raise because it was believed to be a possible ploy by another group to take control of the company. We the management were caught in the middle and it took us another 8 months to pursue the alternative that was acceptable to the shareholders but by that time the equity market had gone bust, leaving us grovelling all over for debt.

Every power you give up has future ramifications so don’t sign away your life for what may be a quick fix or a “morsel of bread” as it might come back to bite you. The same right you give to Mr A and is used wisely, will in the hands of Mr B be used to destroy your dreams.

I failed to know and manage my investors properly, which made it hard for me to mediate when they didn’t see eye-to-eye.

Perception is EVERYTHING in Nigeria.
Your neighbour, banker, staff, bloggers, enemies are watching you and it is not what you are that matters but what others see and are saying about you.

Once you are funded by other people’s money, either investors or bankers, it matters what they think. So your lifestyle must be measured. Even if you have access to other sources of income, you must be prudent in spending and seen to be prudent else it will be assumed that you are “extravagant” and/or diverting other people’s money for your own personal use.

Soley because it is common place in Nigeria for executives to mismanage corporate funds , people are quick to judge and assume every situation is the same . I never touched company money or take a single bribe or kick back. HiTV had full corporate governance rules in place and a budget that was jealously guarded by a Board that sat 6 times in a year. Even when I went out or travelled with a supplier, I always insisted on paying, but only my shareholders and management team knew that. This forthrightness of mine made me throw caution to the wind since I knew I was clean BUT unfortunately I didn’t realise the negative impact it could have on my reputation. The first thing your adversaries or haters target in order to bring you down, is your reputation. Protect it.

Whatever you do, train people and invest in them
One thing we did right was to invest in the lives of our people. I inspired all my staff, which grew to about 380 plus, in 6 locations in Nigeria and a London office, including over a thousand dealers, by making sure I led by example, sent them on trainings, exposed them to the international market and bought them books to read about Media, and very importantly made them know we were all in the same boat. If I was comfortable they also had to be, and if they were going through pains, we had to do it together.

I have always marvelled at the Receiver/Manager and people who thought HiTV could be locked up with chains? HiTV is today a force in different companies making or waiting to make a difference.

However, make sure the people you train and inspire do the same to their sub-ordinates. Usually Nigerians are scared to pass knowledge for fear of being replaced and so you have to teach them to let others fly. Reading the 1 Minute Manager meets Mr Monkey taught me not to micro-manage and get people to earn their pay so that I can be free to do the bigger things. The balance to delegation is to make sure there is a system to ensure that those who are working are justly rewarded.

In the absence of a technical foreign partner, we learnt our trade on the job and intensive trainings and we were just implementing our robust researched systems and processes when the company was closed down. How I would have loved to see its results.

Equity Vs Debt
We gambled on building a company with debt with the hope of converting it to equity once we proved the model. As I said earlier, we were impeded from doing this at the right time. At 25-27% interest on debt, most businesses cannot survive and you will be a slave to the banks for life. That is why they take collateral from you. They lend against your collateral not your business case. Regardless of our strong cashflows, the funding requirements continued to increase. Similar businesses in Europe like Sky, Virgin, Polsat etc had worse debt profiles whilst building up their Brands and subscription models but their markets have sophisticated equity and debt.

Unfortunately, we have no sophisticated equity market and I mean Angel investors and/or Venture Capitalist in Nigeria and without that, who can survive? It pains me to admit that someone told the then Minister of Information that Nigerians can’t fund our type of business and I was really hoping to prove him wrong but Alas!

We paid 40 million dollars for the first year of the second term of the EPL from mostly equity. But still had to come up with a guarantee of about 70 million dollars for the latter 2 years and in Nigeria, guarantee requires cash in bank. The alternative bank we were forced to use despite all their assurances and being offered half of the amount by another Bank failed to issue same on that fateful Tuesday and only offered it to us on Thursday. Meanwhile the EPL sold it to our competition on Wednesday morning.

Watch your debt profile. HiTV was paying an average of 1.1billion Naira approximately in interests and guarantee charges annually, for over 5 years! For a new company, we did a damn good job but really got blown out once our house was divided. I never live by debt and so was really ignorant about how interest works up till HiTV and of course since then you wont catch me near it. But what do you do when you have to? They say internationally that “equity is more expensive than debt”, but that is NOT true in Nigeria. Debt is way too expensive and destructive.

At the end of it all I was sued in my personal capacity for the debts of the company by the bank, but we have since sorted out our differences, agreed, signed and filed terms of settlement in all legal actions. The Managing Director simply told me, when we finally met, that since we all owned the company I had to pay out of the liability and not just dump it on them. It made total sense to me and I offered them what I had, they accepted and that was it. Fair is fair. You can’t avoid a lot of skin in the game because investors will be looking for this.

You need Government and regulation on your side
I ignored government to my peril. The competition spent a lot of time courting all arms of government and I was a simpleton. We just expected the whole world to cheer us on. The laws in Nigeria are as empty as they are full. A lot of writings but you have to make sure your business model is adequately protected.

What laws do you need, or what interpretations of the laws do you require, go and get it passed or adjudicated. Don’t assume its there and don’t be afraid of offending anyone. A few weeks before we lost the EPL rights we were approached by the competition to share it with them, in writing. We agreed and were completing the approvals on both sides when we lost the rights. Since they bought it, we asked them for it on the same terms as we had agreed to give it to them just 2 weeks prior, they refused. We ran to government to enforce the fairness clauses of the NBC Act but it fell on deaf ears.

We really should have actively pursued the enactment of anti- monopoly laws and competition rules early enough as exist everywhere else in the world. The truth is we never believed in monopoly and offered all our acquired TV rights to anyone who was ready to share the price with us. Our purchase of football rights was defensive, as that was the only way we could get it. Unfortunately, our government was happy to, as they continue to be, leave everything in the hands of foreign dominant players.

And whatever we were ready to pay for those TV rights was still far less than what Nigeria was losing from the repatriation of profits by the foreign companies operating in the country!

They say Power is not served al a carte, you have to take it forcefully. And if you are going to take it, make sure you succeed! I didn’t, but I am glad I tried. It is the most meaningful, joyful and the greatest thing I have ever embarked on. I can still see the sparkle in the eyes of every true partner of that journey I meet.

In conclusion of HiTV 101, I will say this, our thinking that we were doing the right things and following the patterns of all international Pay TV companies was not enough, we had to successfully domesticate those patterns and that proved difficult. Thankfully, our good intentions and hard work have helped most to get great jobs and new opportunities and challenged foreign companies to do more locally.

Whatever you do, live forward.

60 Comments

  1. Lizzie

    September 7, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Get in here people, there’s a lot to discuss/debate. Pretty please..

  2. Nene

    September 7, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Hmmn…I’m guessing the competitor is DSTV. I don’t know anything about hitv, although I have read that mr tiny was extravagant, so I’m waiting to see what others have to say.

    • Nene

      September 7, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Another tough competitor for HiTV was DAAR.

  3. Anon

    September 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Subi! “I never touched company money or take a single bribe or kick back”….coughing!!

    • Adain

      September 8, 2016 at 6:57 am

      PEOPLE LIKE YOU FFS! Smh,

    • Damilola

      September 8, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Right. It’s not a candid interview. There’s no form of accountability here. The truth in life, when there’s failure or any shortcoming you are responsible for it whether directly or indirectly. Even just the way you respond to it matters.
      One thing that many Nigerians do is, too much focus on the enemy, someone who’s trying to bring you down and blame it on others when it goes wrong. Possible but you had a big part to play.
      Nigerian business need room for competitors. A competitor is NOT an enemy.

  4. Tosin

    September 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    hmm

  5. Tosin

    September 7, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Abimbola

    September 7, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Lots of Nuggets on shareholders & the law SMEs today should learn from.

    Brave write-up.

  7. Papacy

    September 8, 2016 at 12:08 am

    I also think that that hitv depended more on the epl viewership in nigeria to assert their diinanxe in the sector. Take away the epl every weekend, their content wasn’t at par with dstv. Not hating, just being honest. All the same I stil hail him, he dared the odds and broke the monopoly for a while. Very enlightening read.

    • Ernest

      September 8, 2016 at 1:02 am

      Great point, although I remember for almost 10 years DSTV gave us only Kids TV & Mnet if I’m not mistaking.

      #BringHiTVBack.

    • nunulicious

      September 8, 2016 at 10:37 am

      @Papacy, at that time, the EPL was THE golden fish. He gambled on it and sadly, he lost. Imagine if the other market forces and regulatory forces favoured him and if he had been able to ride the tide for another couple of years? Today the story would be different and he would have been hailed as the “game changer” he would have given dozens of interviews and would have been a hero of sorts. Alas, things didn’t go that way…
      Mehn, you gotta admire his spunk! he obviously has a HUGE risk appetite. ,

    • Tito Philips, Jnr.

      September 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Spot on!
      Precisely my point when they launched. No competitive advantage bought with money can last for long. To create a truly sustainable competitive advantage, it’s got be based on what money cannot buy —creativity and innovation. They clearly lacked those content wise!

    • Wayes

      September 9, 2016 at 2:54 am

      but as the saying goes, “almost doesnt kill a bird” i think a fail is a fail. im not impressed by him, today even the monopoly is stronger.

  8. Ms.b

    September 8, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Oh please my friend worked in hitv and it was pure mismanagement. He was living luxurious life and the management of the company was not realistic, giving relatives and friends girlfriends unnecessary managerial positions with brand new prado, with Loan acquired from GTB. Oh please stop quoting the bible when it was your fault.

    • Fifi

      September 8, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Thank you jare, even heard some years ago when he first relocated to the UK leaving his wife and children, kola aluko gave 10k pounds to try b settle his kids school fees in nij, homie went to harrods on a shopping spree instead, he was doing jaiye jaiye instead of him to build a business, driving porshe when his employees were owned salaries and those who paid subscriptions were not getting service twwaaattt

  9. Nunulicious

    September 8, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I feel so strongly about this. As an entrepreneur, it hurts to see /read stories about failed businesses; it’s educational to learn from their errors and it’s VERY annoying to read comments by spectators who dare to judge you when they haven’t ever tried anything.

    I don’t know much about the details HiTv or Mr Subair but as a Nigerian, I was proud to see that one of us was eventually trying to break the monopoly in our media. This article raises several issues about so many important things that businesses in Nigeria go through. Where do we even start?

    After all said and done, “Whatever you do, Live forward”

    • John

      September 8, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Best comment and I JOHN love this

    • tunmi

      September 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      The assumption that those who comment “haven’t ever tried anything.”…….

    • Sean

      September 9, 2016 at 1:25 am

      The only wise comment here. Instead of people to read between the lines and learn from his mistakes. They’ll be arguing blindly about things they have no idea about.

      I couldn’t help but jot down some important business lessons from his article

    • Wayes

      September 9, 2016 at 2:59 am

      My friend sir, the game is dirty nobody said the road will be easy. and nobody wants to be outplayed , you just have to be smart in your dealing its not about how it is in Nigeria. when in Rome act roman.

    • Olanna&Odenigbo

      September 10, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Best comment here

  10. Jules

    September 8, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Lots of nuggets right there. The Nigerian market is unique and striking the right balance between debt and equity financing is more about weighing the costs and benefits of each. On one hand you have to balance debt and minimize the cost of capital. Choosing debt can force you to manage cash flow, while, taking on equity means you’re placing a priority on growth. But in the Nigerian credit market, raising equity may simply be a factor of all of the other pertinent points he raised. So the real question may not be how much you raise or borrow, but who is willing to put their money behind you based on non-credit criteria. There’s “good debt and bad debt”, borrowing money to generate more money—that’s good debt. Borrowing just to stay alive is not.” Many a Nigerian dream has died not because the business wasn’t a good model, great content or the people behind it were not skilled or professional as it appears was the case for HItv.

  11. Titi

    September 8, 2016 at 2:15 am

    My heart breaks for stories like this. Nigeria needs a competition policy fast.Monopoly has eaten deep into our fabric and consumers pay a very high price for this. I hail your courage sir because you dared where others wouldn’t
    Even if he was extravagant,couldn’t it have been his own money?With regards to content,no company gets its right from the start, but hitv was sure on a right path. As a lawyer with a knowledge of competition law,we are just selling ourselves short unless Regulation can ensure that we are not at the mercy of a few.
    The recent European Commission’s judgment against Apple for $11bn to be paid back to Ireland even though the government of Ireland willfully gave illegal tax reductions is a pointer that in developed economies,anti-competitive acts are frowned at.
    Phew.

    • @9jaBloke

      September 8, 2016 at 9:44 am

      “Even if he was extravagant, couldn’t it have been his own money”

      Really? Someone sets up a business that is funded by debt and he has the luxury of being extravagant and it is okay? If he is extravagant with his own money, pause and think for a second what he will do with other people’s money. Any wonder why the business went into administration?

    • The truth

      September 8, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      you do realise that he is a successful lawyer and partner of a firm. As he clearly stated it was his a mistake thinking you can go about living your life as it was before accepting other people’s money even though you can sustain it.

  12. xplorenollywood.com

    September 8, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Nice one, a case study no doubt. I was always in awe as to how Hitv sustained itself. It’s reliance on football might have been is selling point, but that model was just to expensive to sustain when compared with a dstv. At that time, local content was low n probably none existence, if he had adopted the model Ebony life is currently using, he might have gotten more people interested. I am glad you have made peace, you should also rest easy with the fact that cos of Hitv, the likes of startimes, gotv came up.

    • Adain

      September 8, 2016 at 6:59 am

      GoTV is still owned by Multichoice, owners of DSTV. Still square 1. Sigh.

  13. Tunde Adepoju

    September 8, 2016 at 4:32 am

    First;y, I want to thank Mr Toyin Subair for this article cos a failure story is the best way to educate zealous entrepreneurs. However, Nigerian government does not have a friendly law on regulation of the media market among the indigenous stakeholder. Again Nigeria Financial sector is so unconventionally that just at a twinkle of an eye, an impact/progress of ages just crashes out with does not sits right with any of us.
    I hope the present administration will look into the monopoly type of market we have in the media industry!

  14. tunmi

    September 8, 2016 at 4:34 am

    I’ll be back to read

  15. Susu

    September 8, 2016 at 6:25 am

    In my opinion, this is where HiTv got it wrong;
    1. The EPL rights they took over forcefully, they should have a negotiated a longer term with the EPL thus doing sustained damage to Dstv.
    2. When attempting to break a monopoly ensure you have really deep pockets and or legislative backing.
    3. Choose your investors and shareholders very wisely.
    4. Never trust a bank, Nigerian banks have been destroying dreams since 19 gbogboro
    5. Be prudent. Even if you’re a trust fund kid, no bank wants to finance a fancy lifestyle.
    Dazall for now!

    • Quin

      September 8, 2016 at 7:02 am

      You actually didn’t read the post before jumping here, because you’d have noticed what you posted was the same thing he talked about.

    • Syliva

      September 8, 2016 at 11:10 am

      ?. Thought same! Opinion or what was read?!

    • Na

      September 8, 2016 at 8:48 am

      And just like that you have repeated everything Mr. Subair has said in his article.

      Nice job, Einstein.

    • @9jaBloke

      September 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

      No Nigerian bank puts a gun to the head of ANY customer before extending a credit facility. The offer letter is unambiguous about the terms and conditions of the facility and the choice is basically down to the borrower.
      Agreed, interest rates are potential killers but then, the government is responsible for monetary policies that drive these rates. It is usually said that the creation of an enabling environment for businesses is the forté of the government, this is one such reason.

  16. kilipot

    September 8, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Woow. Thanks for sharing

  17. africhic

    September 8, 2016 at 8:49 am

    My issue with HITV was the focus on the EPL strictly. It seemed that there was no real content for none football lovers. That was the time Multichoice dug deeper and started their Africa Magic channels and developed local programmes like Tinsel etc.

    In my opinion that was a major contributory factor aside from the huge debt profile.

  18. Bode

    September 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Well said, just as it happened. I worked with HiTV btw 2009 – 2011, y’all can say my oga lived an extravagant life but for someone who was a copyright lawyer for Microsoft?! He’s earned it and that gave him the nudge to start HiTV. We made some mistakes then and like he said,international practises has to be looked thru carefully for it to be well domesticated, one of those was the idea of running after viewing centres. For every entrepreneurs, there are tips that shouldn’t be ignored in his write up, and trust me every business is war! Govt still has a whose lot to do to help Nigerian businesses

    • Akinola

      September 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

      God bless you for remembering the viewing center issue. Immediately I heard HiTV was going after viewing centers and intending to charge them some fees, I knew that might result in a problem. One of the ideas of a viewing center is just to feel the effect of being with diverse fans and share different opinions on teams and matches. Yeah, people make profit, but trying to squeeze the little profits made from the hands of the owners of the viewing centers was not a good look at all.
      That said, he changed the game for all of us and will continue to be an inspiration for that.

  19. God's angel

    September 8, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Like they say, we learn from our mistakes and I think Mr Toyin has learnt his. One major mistake that nigerian entreprenuers make is that they fail to invest in their business. The business begins to make profit rather that put that profit back to boost the business, you see young entreprenuers eating the money.
    This will obviously lead to debts and then what, you expect banks to finance you. We should sha learn from this as business minded individuals cos its not the end of the road.

  20. shield

    September 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Learning a lot here. I don’t really understand much about equity and all that grammar but I can pick out two things: Know your rights/befriend people in government/power AND choose your shareholders wisely.

  21. @9jaBloke

    September 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

    There are three sides to every story; your side, my side and the truth. Tony has only spoken on what perhaps can be termed his side. One important thing he has failed to acknowledge though is the fact that his model was unsustainable at the time. The only USP (unique selling point) HiTV had was the EPL content. Who does that in the PayTV market? How did he expect to compete? I had both HiTV and DSTV decorders back then and once the football season was over, my HiTV decorder became a museum item.
    Looking back, l am sure he will be full of regrets about how things panned out. However, from his account, it is cheering to note that he has since moved on.

  22. KUNLE

    September 8, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I REMEMBER I VISITED CHINA SOMETIMES LAST YEAR, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE DONT WORK IN NIGERIA, SIMPLY BECAUSE THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT IS SMART, THEY DONT WANT AMERICA COMPANIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOCAL SMALL COMPANIES IN THEIR MARKET…AND THEY ALSO DONT WANT AMERICA COMPANIES TO START REPATRIATING THEIR FUNDS OUTSIDE CHINA

    FOREIGN COMPANIES TAKE OUT IN THE EXCESS OF 15 BILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY AWAY FROM NIGERIA, TRUST ME , IF WE CAN REDUCE THE NUMBER OF AIRLINES, COMMUNICATION COMPANIES LIKE MTN, DSTV, SHOPRITE, STANBIC, ETC TAKING OUT THESE FUNDS, DOLLARS WILL DROP TO 120 NAIRA TO A DOLLAR

    THERE IS SO MUCH DEMAND ON DOLLARS, ONLY BRITISH AIRWAYS ALONE TAKE AWAY OVER 500 MILLION POUNDS ANNUALLY

    WHERE ARE THE SO CALLED ECONOMIST IN THIS COUNTRY, ARE THEY SLEEPING…..I FEEL LIKE CRYING FOR NIGERIA…WE NEED TO WAKE UP, TODAY DOLLAR IS 412 NAIRA TO A DOLLAR

    UBER CAME INTO CHINA, THEY STRUGGLED, THEY COULDNT SUCCEED, THEY HAD TO CALL AND BEG DIDI, THE FOUNDER OF DIDI TAXI IN CHINA ( SHE IS ALSO THE DAUGHTER OF LENOVO COMPUTER) UBER HAD TO BRING HER ON THEIR BOARD AND OFFERED HER A MAJOR STAKE IN UBER, SO AS TO MERGE THE COMPANY, BUT IN NIGERIA OUR USELESS GOVERNMENT DONT POSITION OUR MAJOR ENTREPRENEURS PROPERLY…SHAMELESS LEADERS

    • concernednigerian

      September 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      I would love to believe that Government alone is to blame. Our major entrepreneurs are also to blame because they discourage the implementation of laws that will encourage competition (and subsequently innovation) just so they can monopolise their industries. Dangote is a perfect example,

      In regards to Toyin and HiTV, it is clear that it was a poorly run business whereby the management were funding their opulent lifestyle through company debt. This is the norm in Nigeria where businesses are avenues for “big men” to siphon bank funds by taking huge loans that they never intend to pay back.

      For those of you that are saying Toyin was funding his lifestyle through his earnings at Microsoft, Really? You really think a copyright lawyer could have earned that much to sustain an opulent lifestyle for years? This is how much a copyright lawyer earns on average: http://study.com/articles/Salary_and_Career_Info_for_Copyright_Lawyers.html . I earn almost twice that salary at present and i can tell you for a fact that i cannot afford to be luxurious.

      Bottomline is that we hear too many stories similar to this; Look at Jimoh Ibrahim’s Air Nigeria or Ben Murray Bruce’s silver bird for example.

    • Bukola

      September 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?????

  23. RichyGame

    September 8, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Hmmm…

    Quite an eye opener I must say.

    Hoping the statements on prudence are true, Toyin Subair has poured out a lot of knowledge curated by experience. I was sad that such ambitious setups as 234Next, HiTV, Yes! Records et al. were giving the Nigerian entrepreneur a bad name due to mismanagement but we have since learnt of a good number of successes which kind of calms the nerves.

    In HiTV’s case, I personally felt the EPL represented the only period many subscribers were gingered to tune in to their services as they did not do enough in developing other engaging content; the other vendors/content providers constantly pulled off the platform for reasons I suspect may be cash related thus leaving little for the subscribers to stay with the cable service throughout the year. This may all be due to in-fighting of the funders leading to a cash strapped scenario – I don’t know – but anyone venturing into such business or investor-heavy business in Nigeria can really learn a lot from Toyin.

    This is a rather sad case of “experience is the best teacher”; I’d rather not be the index case but use other people’s experiences to gain.

    • Tincan

      September 8, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Oh gosh, I remember 234Next. They were supposed to revolutionise the ways was reported in Nigeria. Their exit was painful.

      This line from the article struck me:
      What laws do you need, or what interpretations of the laws do you require, go and get it passed or adjudicated.
      Hmmmmnnn. Doesn’t this open the system up to abuse?

    • concernednigerian

      September 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I guess he is implying that if you cannot beat them, you are better off joining them.

  24. rain

    September 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    da dude was spending money extravagantly and was banking on EPL only to drive revenue.DSTV has richer content than HITV. Hes not a good business man

  25. Olulu

    September 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    This is a collector’s item for entrepreneurs. Plenty lessons to gain here.

  26. MICHAEL OLORUNTOLA

    September 8, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I give credit to this great man with a great heart, he has done it AND we have seen it that now it can be done. The question I want to ask spectators AND critics is this ; what risk have you taken in your own life AND business? If you are speechless then lets encourage this great entrepreneur who is our own AND let pray that God will restore all the lost years… I know him, he was invited to speak at our church one time AND I see sincerity in his eyes. I still believe the best of him AND he will come out stronger.

  27. anon

    September 9, 2016 at 8:45 am

    One of our major challenge as a people in Nigeria is our penchant to speak knowingly in ignorance. This man has simply put on our laps the challenges of being an entrepreneur in Nigeria. Toyin teaches what everyone who wants to own his or her business must contend with and put into cognizant as they go, instead of taking this issues and discuss, majority (as typical of Nigerians) are flogging a dead horse. A business that was paying back over a billion naira as loan for five years is a failure? How many of you can run a business and make a profit of 100k per month for a year? SMH

  28. Gabriel Eka

    September 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

    This story hurt me deep at the time…it should hurt every one who sings the national anthem and says the pledge too.
    I don’t care if he had a fancy wasteful lifestyle (never met him or someone close to determine), I don’t care what the loan/repaymeny conditions were…what hurts to my soul is watching a Nigerian dream die and letting a foreign alternative replace it. This is not only a business case…it’s a national security breach. You cannot have the US national team playing at the same time as the super eagles and root for them over 9ja. That should be considered treason.
    HiTV should not have been allowed to fail for any reason whatsoever. It was a national icon and should have been protected. Period. Everything else is semantics and opinions.
    The wretched 9ja banks could not raise ordinary how much for EPL license? Dstv was clearly rooting for their failure and I have no problem with that-haters are supposed to hate…but every one in the ministry of finance, chambers of commerce, cbn, media, FG, state govt, pdp/apc etc etc could not work together to promote a Nigerian company about to explode successfully? Shame.
    Wall street/city of London boys did worse things but their govts still supported them and bailed them out for the greater good.

    They clearly didn’t like this guy, but wisdom would have been replacing him as the MD/chair and making sure the company remained profitable…not crippling another 9ja success story.
    Let’s stay there and be protesting dstv prices everyday…400 years ago we acted like this and became slaves, we refuse to wake up. Big shame.

  29. Calabar boy

    September 9, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Mistakes were made yes

    But fortune favourite the brave

    We have not heard the last of Mr Subair that’s for sure

    Good luck sir

    Gods speed always

  30. MasterP

    September 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

    i remember back in my days in school i had a Hitv and i enjoyed it. I got it when they showed the EPL and the AFCON and it was cheap and affordable as a student. Every guy in d street visited my room every weekends for the EPL. I remember they also showed the spanish la liga too. I left my decoder in calabar after i graduated but i didnt know Hitv has folded up until i saw this piece. I think our government needs to do more to protect local content. If the competition was DSTV then why allow a foreign company outwit a local company in nigeria? I thought we had laws like the Nigerian Local Content (NCD) thing that shld protect local companies. Too bad things turned out that way. No wonder DSTV subscription is so expensive now. When Hitv gave them competition with the EPL they were cheap. You cant imagine paying 13k for premium subscription to a south african company when a nigerian company charged 4k for the same value and were ready to share with NTA, AIT and even the DSTV themselves. I still feel something can be done to bring back Hitv. Let GTB, My Toyin Subair and all other shareholders come together and get it back. I miss channels like naijezie ( which was d only channel then that showed project fame season 1) , hi nolly and hi sports. Pls you guys should come together and do something.

  31. Me

    September 9, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    The best lie is the one built around the truth.

  32. Chiomah

    September 11, 2016 at 11:40 am

    ” In conclusion of HiTV 101, I will say this, our thinking that we were doing the right things and following the patterns of all international Pay TV companies was not enough, we had to successfully domesticate those patterns and that proved difficult. “. I have a lot of respect for Subair for this peace.. A lot of useful nuggets. The above sums it up always adapt models to suit the market. Nigeria is not UK or US so trying to do things the same way without taking Nigerian peculiarities into context is a mistake. I worked for NBC and I saw how DSTV courted agencies under Ministry of Information to their favour. It was the forward thinking Frank Nweke Jnr who gave HITV a chance as he believed in what Subair had to offer.. Sadly mistakes were made and the opportunity wasted. To err is human but not to learn from those errors is folly. Clearly Toyin Subair has learnt the lessons. Wish him all the best.

  33. Bayo onipede

    September 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Toyin.I salute your courage and thank God you are still standing inspite of it..its a free world for comments especially from people who have never ventured selling sweet,or people who don’t have the full picture .But I know Nigeria as a nation has a lot to learn.our govt officials will sell their mothers for pittance.

  34. Akinola

    September 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Mr. Toyin Subair has tried. He has done what most Nigerians haven’t and for that alone, he should be applauded. As long as we live, we will always learn. People can judge, but it is not the man that lives in the great twilight that knows neither victory or defeat that matters. It is the man that ventures despite the possibility of gain or loss that the world remembers.

  35. Ola Soetan

    March 6, 2017 at 4:57 am

    The reason why we do what we do determines its span. If the reason you set up Hitv was beyond you, take for example to grow, develop and create opportunities for any Nigerian youth, it would have given you the values, model and status to withstand any fiery dart. It was obvious that it was a selfish one and I doubt if indeed you will not have monopolised the game like dstv today if you were still in business. Monopoly is not a Nigerian factor. It is everywhere Dangote, Microsoft…even you. How many of you gave your street or neighbor light when you put in your generator? You don’t court the government to fight monopoly for you. You make yourself a force that must be reckoned with then you can wield your influence as you like. Business survives on relationship and influence. Whether Hitv is here on not, this principles are not transient. They are fixed because of those who are fixed on fixing things.

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