MultiChoice and SuperSport have tied up the broadcasting rights for popular sports in South Africa, said Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.
This is an anti-competitive practice that the Competition Commission must look into, he said.
Dos Santos said DStv controls most of the rights for rugby and soccer, making live matches inaccessible to the majority of South Africa.
He said streaming and broadcasting rights need to be unbundled and licensed on a non-exclusive basis to allow for competition.
The statement follows Cell C’s launch of a new entertainment platform called Black.
Black offers streaming video packages ranging from R5 per day to R389 per month.
“I can’t even stream matches played by the Sharks, a team we sponsor. DStv owns more of them than we do,” said Dos Santos.
The call from Dos Santos also follows the publication of a discussion document from ICASA on the subscription TV market.
ICASA found that MultiChoice had significant market power – enjoying a 98.1% market share in the subscription TV space.
Its breakdown of which broadcasters own the rights to premium content categories is summarised below.
|South African Rugby Union||Rugby||MultiChoice|
|Cricket South Africa||Cricket||MultiChoice|
|SA Premier Soccer League||Soccer||MultiChoice|
|UEFA Champions League||Soccer||MultiChoice|
|Spanish La Liga||Soccer||MultiChoice|
|English Premier League||Soccer||MultiChoice|
|UEFA Europa League||Soccer||MultiChoice|
|SAFA – Bafana Bafana||Soccer||Siyaya|
“Movie and sports rights are different”
Despite Cell C’s objection to exclusivity for sports broadcasting rights, the company has secured exclusive rights to several shows that will be available on Black.
When asked how that fits in with its belief that exclusive licensing is anti-competitive, Dos Santos said sport and movies are “different”.
Movies and shows are typically licensed regionally with various types of exclusivity available, ranging from first-air rights and streaming-only exclusivity, to full exclusivity with the right to first refusal for new seasons.
Using the example of soccer in the UK, Dos Santos said licensing is handled differently – with clubs even running their own channels.
South Africa could look to international examples for a model that will serve local sports fans better than the current system, he said.