TopTV acting CEO Eddie Mbalo has said that the behaviour of MultiChoice/DStv is anti-competitive, and that the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) should look into the behaviour of DStv.
In an interview on Maggs on Media on eTV, Mbalo said that it is not fair that DStv is using their dominance in the market to crush a new player like TopTV.
This, Mbalo said, is particularly unfair considering that government gave MultiChoice a two decade head-start to establish itself in the market.
As an example Mbalo said that DStv launched a R99 package, which competes directly against TopTV’s entry level service, at exactly the same time as TopTV’s entrance into the market.
Mbalo said that they are currently looking at MultiChoice’s acquisition strategies (which includes sports and general content acquisitions), and may act on the legal feedback they receive.
Mbalo said that they are currently not in discussion with the regulator or Competition Commission, adding that their focus is on customer acquisition.
TopTV currently has around 320,000 decoders in the market, but with only 140,000 to 150,000 paying subscribers. DStv, in comparison, has close to 4 million subscribers in South Africa.
MultiChoice said that they did not act anti-competitively in the past and is also not acting anti-competitively in their content acquisition strategies.
“As previously indicated, MultiChoice embraces competition and we are aware that competition will also come from non-traditional sources such as the internet. We believe competition will attract investment into the broadcasting industry and the South African economy in general,” said MultiChoice.
“Competition will also stimulate the growth of the pay television market, local production industry and ensure that consumers are provided with choice and more diversity of content.”
“Our focus is to continually enhance viewer’s experience and we are always looking at opportunities to improve our overall offering by introducing innovative services and compelling content,” MultiChoice concluded.