DStv under fire

Satellite pay-TV operator MultiChoice has come under fire from not only its South African rival, On Digital Media (ODM), but also Minister of Communications Dina Pule, City Press reported on Sunday (2 June 2013).

According to the paper, Dina Pule announced the week before that she was going to issue a policy directive to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to look at competition in the broadcast sector through wholesale regulations for premium content.

Long-term exclusive deals for premium content, such as SuperSport, would be the likeliest target of these regulations, the report said.

This follows recent reports that TopTV parent ODM has filed a complaint against MultiChoice for anti-competitive behaviour with the Competition Commission which centres around SuperSport.

City Press reports that ODM’s is not the only complaint about SuperSport’s monopoly on key sports rights, and that a Louis Johannes van der Merwe submitted a complaint in April 2012, six months before TopTV submitted theirs.

The Sports of National Interest regulations from ICASA already explains that these kinds of sports may not be broadcast exclusively, City Press reported.

However, the paper also added that an industry insider said these regulations are worded poorly and don’t actually prevent SuperSport from having exclusivity on some sporting events.

City Press quoted E-tv’s head of regulatory, Lara Kantor, as saying that if wholesaling of premium content such as sport was on the cards, then international best practice suggests that SuperSport will likely be forced to sell sports rights to rival broadcasters.

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DStv under fire