The Competition Commission is investigating MultiChoice’s deal with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to integrate the streaming services into its DStv Explora decoder.
MultiChoice CFO Tim Jacobs said in June the agreements with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are part of a new streaming platform MultiChoice would launch that would include content from international players.
Jacobs said they want to provide simplicity, choice, and convenience to subscribers, where they can come to one place and can get access to “all of this different content”.
MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela said it makes sense for DStv to become a one-stop-shop where you pay one bill and get access to all streaming content, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube.
Mawela said pay-TV operators like MultiChoice have always operated in a multi-channel environment where they purchase content from third-party providers.
This third-party content is then aggregated into the DStv platform and sold to subscribers in the form of DStv bouquets.
Mawela said adding streaming players to the DStv platform is a natural progression of pay-TV into the online space.
“We have always seen ourselves as a one-stop-shop where you can get content from all content producers in Africa and around the world,” said Mawela.
He added that Netflix is essentially a content provider, as are Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, and many others.
He said MultiChoice is reaching out to all the streaming platforms around the world with the aim of providing their content to DStv subscribers.
Competition Commission investigation
Siyabulela Makunga, head of communications at the Competition Commission, told MyBroadband they are investigating MultiChoice’s bundling plans and agreements.
The Competition Commission could not provide further details about the investigation because it is currently at a “very sensitive stage”.
As the Competition Commission focuses on business practices, mergers, and deals which may restrict competition, it can be assumed that the Competition Commission is concerned about limiting competition in South Africa.
MultiChoice owns and operates two of South Africa’s most popular streaming services – DStv Now and Showmax.
MultiChoice’s plan to bundle Netflix and Amazon Prime with DStv, DStv Now, and Showmax may therefore be seen as limiting competition in South Africa.
MyBroadband asked MultiChoice for feedback on the investigation, but spokesperson Benedict Maaga said they are unable to comment at this stage.