MultiChoice, the owner of DStv, has criticized eMedia’s application to the Competition Tribunal, calling it opportunistic. eMedia, which operates Openview, has accused MultiChoice of including anti-competitive restrictions in its sub-licensing of World Cup broadcasting rights to the SABC.
Last year, MultiChoice and the SABC reached a last-minute agreement allowing the public broadcaster to broadcast key Rugby and Cricket World Cup matches, including those featuring South Africa’s national teams, as well as the semi-finals and finals, irrespective of the teams playing.
However, the deal blocked the SABC from broadcasting these matches on any channel carried by Openview. eMedia filed a complaint with the Competition Commission and approached the Competition Tribunal to prevent MultiChoice from enforcing this restriction while the case’s merits were decided.
MultiChoice has argued that the sub-license would have been more expensive if Openview had been part of the deal.
Therefore, the SABC had the option of paying on eMedia’s behalf, or eMedia could have contributed its fair share for the rights.
eMedia argues that this argument is a red herring, and the matches should be available on all free-to-air platforms.
MultiChoice accuses eMedia of dressing a commercial complaint in ornate competition clothing and contends that none of eMedia’s competition law complaints has any basis in law or fact.