South Africa says DStv monopoly must be broken
March 17, 2017
By Chris Forrester
South Africa’s ruling political party, the African National Congress (ANC), has issued a White Paper ahead of its national party conference at the end of June, saying that a new strategy to encourage rival broadcasters to compete with DStv/Multichoice is needed, and that the country must open up the TV subscription TV market.
The ANC discussion document (“Communications & The Battle for Ideas”) grumbles that there are too many “anti-ANC voices” and that a “trust deficit” exists between citizens and South Africa’s SABC “as it lurches from one crisis to another”.
The ANC document admits that South Africa’s efforts to license competition to DStv and its parent Multichoice have proven “futile” and “it seems there are limited or no prospects under current conditions of any new player successfully entering and competing against the existing monopoly due to its dominance”.
The White Paper argues that a new multipronged strategy is needed, saying: “The current regulatory regime imposed at the time when the subscription market was small and had a relatively insignificant share of the total audience must be changed to reflect the size and therefore the obligations to ensure fairness across the whole television market.”
The ANC says that DTT and digital migration presents an opportunity to break up the monopolies and concentration across the TV and audiovisual content value chain.