On Sunday, the DC Heroes pop-up channel on DStv ended, lasting a week since it opened and rendering DC movie staples like Batman and Superman. For me, it was like the ending of an affair, a whirlwind romance now existing in the boundary of my memories. Superhero movies are currently ruling Hollywood and increasingly becoming the crowd-pleaser. And, as far as DStv is concerned, it knows its subscriber base well enough to cater to a taste subset of superhero lovers.
And the cable service is doing this via its pop-up channel. Back in April, DStv announced that it was going to open a pop-up channel for Marvel movies. Captain America, Avengers, Spider-Man and Thor temporarily found a home on the channel, which massively appealed to Marvel fans and movie enthusiasts alike. Like DC’s, the Marvel movies spanned over a week but it also boldly indicated that the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU was an ever-expanding franchise, which began when the first Iron Man instalment was released in 2008.
What I also observed about the Marvel and DC pop up channels was that they precede huge movies in their respective franchises. Avengers: Infinity War was released in May and DC’s hotly anticipated Aquaman and directed by James Wan will hit cinemas next month. Aside superhero movies, DStv has teetered towards Nollywood, launching a pop-up channel that showcased Nollywood movies and heralded this year’s AMVCA. Pop-up channels are temporary content hinged on hyper-specific programming, and DStv is keenly aware of how this can potentially appeal to different subsets of subscribers.
For years, DStv has held a strong monopoly of the cable landscape in Nigeria, wherein loyalists and new subscribers are merged under such longrunning supremacy. Even through price increments, occasional poor services and losing its licence to broadcast the Carabao Cup and Europa League, the DStv subscriber base is weathering the storm and remaining steadfast, and its pop-up channels are ostensibly a taste marker, and its one of the things DStv is doing right.