eMedia said on Tuesday that it had filed papers with the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal over MultiChoice’s refusal to allow rugby and cricket games sublicensed to the SABC to be carried on the public broadcaster’s channels on the Openview free-to-air satellite platform.
eMedia lost round one of a high court challenge against MultiChoice over the rights to broadcast the Rugby World Cup, with the court finding that the matter was not urgent.
“We have lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission and we have filed papers before the Competition Tribunal in respect of the provision in the sublicensing agreements concluded between MultiChoice and the SABC that prevent the SABC from utilising third-party platforms to transmit SABC channels that broadcast national sporting events,” eMedia said in a statement on Tuesday.
“MultiChoice’s conduct in this regard is particularly shocking because it has sublicensed these rights to the SABC, and accordingly, the SABC should not be prevented from utilising whichever platforms it selects to broadcast programming to the broader public,” it said.
“We believe that it is in the national interest that these issues are dealt with as soon as possible and that there are no undue delays in the merits of these matters being ventilated fully. National sporting events are part of our nation building process, and accordingly, MultiChoice’s tactics and behaviour which are simply designed to entrench its dominant position in the television broadcasting sector in South Africa at the expense of the broader public in order to harm its competitors should not be countenanced.”
In response to eMedia’s latest move, MultiChoice said: “This is the third attempt by eMedia to launch urgent proceedings in the last two weeks – with the first two attempts being rightly rejected by the high court. eMedia decided not to acquire the broadcasting rights in any form. It cannot now use the judicial system to ‘free-ride’ on the investments made by MultiChoice. MultiChoice considers the latest application to be entirely without merit and will oppose it vigorously.”
In an earlier affidavit, responding to eMedia and filed in the high court matter, MultiChoice South Africa CEO Marc Jury said eMedia’s case was a “classic example of free-riding — seeking to profit off another’s expense without contributing at all”.
SuperSport said it makes an annual investment of R3.3-billion in South African sport and has made a cumulative contribution in excess of R14.4-billion over the past five years. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media