DStv sport exclusivity debate ridiculous: Naspers CEO

Naspers CEO Koos Bekker said that the debate on doing away with exclusive rights on sports broadcasting is ridiculous.

Last month communications minister Dina Pule said that she plans to issue a policy directive to improve competition in the broadcasting sector.

It is likely that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Competition Commission will focus on long term exclusivity deals on premium content, including sport.

One of the biggest differentiators for DStv over its competitor TopTV is premium sports content, including its extensive rugby coverage.

Government seems keen to break DStv and Supersport’s stranglehold on sports broadcasting, but Bekker said that it simply does not work that way.

Speaking to Moneyweb’s Hilton Tarrant, Bekker said that broadcasting rights are the lifeblood of sporting events and sporting teams.

Koos Bekker and Janine Bester
Koos Bekker and Janine Bester

“I was on the World Cup Committee for ten years, the income statement looks like this, 90% of all the income for the Soccer World Cup was from TV rights and everything else, all the seats sold in the stadium, all the scarves, all the sponsorships amounted to less than 10%,” said Bekker.

“So TV pays the bills and if you take the South African PSL soccer league we pay for everything, we pay for every player and the lights at the stadium and…the backroom, we pay all the bills.”

Bekker said that the reason they can pay the bill is because they have exclusive rights on the content.

“So the moment government were to say ‘Okay, e.tv you have it’, it loses all appeal for us because no one will pay us to get something which is available for free, which means the value will drop to a tenth of what it is now and clubs simply can’t pay the players,” said Bekker.

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DStv sport exclusivity debate ridiculous: Naspers CEO