eMedia sues MutliChoice
October 4, 2023
By Chris Forrester
South Africa’s pay-TV operator MultiChoice has the rights to show the Rugby World Cup, and rival broadcaster eTV is not happy. eMedia is suing MultiChoice and has taken out advertisements in South African newspapers complaining about what it alleges is a monopoly on sports coverage.
The situation is complicated by sub-licensing rights which the nation’s public broadcaster, SABC, holds with MultiChoice on the games, which are being played in France. These sub-rights permit SABC to show certain games, but SABC is not permitted to screen the games on its ‘Openview’ satellite-based free-to-view service.
SABC paid $2 million to screen 16 out of the overall 48 games in the tournament including all of the Springbok games.
In September, eMedia wrote an open letter to MultiChoice and the country’s sports minister, communications minister, and trade & industry minister, complaining that the rights deal struck with MultiChoice and SABC “undermines consumer welfare and is contrary to the public interest”.
eMedia CEO Khalik Sherrif said in his statement: “The anticompetitive action is nothing short of domination in trying to prescribe to the free-to-air partner on how to use its broadcasting rights. We believe the action should be strongly condemned and opposed. The 3.2 million households which have been affected by the decision should voice their dissatisfaction.”
MultiChoice said on October 1st that it was in receipt of the application served on it by eMedia, commenting: “We consider the application to be without merit and have notified eMedia of our intention to oppose it.”