Openview scores victory against DStv’s SuperSport

The Competition Tribunal has granted eMedia an interdict that forces MultiChoice to allow the SABC to broadcast live sports sub-licensed from SuperSport on Openview.

Openview is a free-to-view satellite TV platform operated by eMedia, the owner of E-tv.

This ruling comes after eMedia hauled MultiChoice to court and later the Competition Tribunal over restrictions in its sub-licensing agreements with the SABC.

Last year, MultiChoice and the SABC concluded last-minute deals that allowed the public broadcaster to show key matches from the Rugby and Cricket World Cup tournaments.

These included all the matches featuring South Africa’s national teams, as well as the semi-finals and finals, regardless of who was playing.

However, the deals explicitly blocked the SABC from broadcasting the matches on any of the channels carried by Openview.

eMedia argued that these restrictions were anti-competitive.

MultiChoice called eMedia’s application “sheer opportunism” and warned that without the restriction, the rights would be much more expensive.

Despite this, the Tribunal has ruled in favour of eMedia’s interim application to block MultiChoice from enforcing the restrictions while the Tribunal considers the merits of the case.

“The Tribunal has granted eMedia interim relief pending the final determination of its complaint to the Commission, or for a period of six months (whichever occurs first),” it said in a statement on Monday.

“MultiChoice, including its subsidiary SuperSport, and the SABC are interdicted from implementing and enforcing any restriction in the (existing) sub-licensing agreements entered into between them,” the Tribunal said.

“MultiChoice, including its subsidiary SuperSport, and the SABC are further interdicted from including restrictions which prohibit the SABC from transmitting or making available sub-licensed broadcasts on platforms owned or operated by eMedia (through Openview) in future sub-licensing agreements concluded between them relating to the broadcasting of sporting events.”

The Tribunal said the reasons for its decision will be issued in due course.

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Openview scores victory against DStv’s SuperSport