Naspers chairman Koos Bekker said MultiChoice is struggling against Netflix, which he perceives as a major threat to the company, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
Speaking at the Brics Business Forum, Bekker said MultiChoice would have to improve its digital offerings to compete with Netflix – stating that local companies were not nearly as much of a threat to MultiChoice.
“The big threat is not some local company. The big threat is Netflix,” said Bekker.
He added that there is little investment potential left in the TV broadcasting market, with MultiChoice now looking to digital and video-on-demand offerings to compete with online streaming services.
Bekker also expressed concern over local regulations, which he said do not properly account for international companies like Netflix operating in South Africa.
He said that online platforms removed barriers between countries and allow large companies like Google and Facebook to easily operate internationally, stifling local competition.
“The vast majority of advertisements are going to Facebook and Google, not to any South African company,” said Bekker.
“That’s a big problem and how are you going to regulate them?”
Threat to DStv
Bekker is not alone in his view on Netflix.
MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela has also expressed concern over Netflix’s growing dominance in South Africa, calling for regulatory changes to address the matter.
Mawela stated that Netflix has an unfair advantage over MultiChoice and its DStv service, as the international company does not pay local taxes, adhere to local content, or comply with BEE requirements.
Mawela has called for the local playing field to be levelled, and for regulators like ICASA to ensure all content providers who offer services in South Africa are treated equally.