eMedia Investments – the company that owns eTV, eNCA, and OpenView, a free-to-air service platform – has slammed Multichoice’s decision to omit its subscribers from watching the Rugby World Cup via its satellite TV rival. This, after DStv granted SABC the last-minute sub-licensing deal.
The group of companies has called for Multichoice to revoke its limitations, which have affected 3.2 million households across South Africa.
The Rugby World Cup officially kicks off in France on Friday, 8 September, and will continue until 28 October. The SABC has been granted a deal to broadcast 16 out of 48 matches during the seven-week tournament.
On Thursday, the SABC announced that it had received a sub-licensing deal to air a third of the Rugby World Cup, which Multichoice has the official broadcast rights to via its Supersports channels on Dstv.
In a media briefing Friday, Minister of Sport Zizi Kodwa revealed that the deal came at a price: Multichoice had barred OpenView subscribers from watching the matches on the free-to-view SABC channels.
SABC secured the rights with the help of partners Hollywoodbets and South African Breweries.
However, SABC chief operating officer Ian Plaatjies claims the public broadcaster had received the “short end of the deal.”
In an interview with 702, Plaatjies revealed that Multichoice had charged them three times the actual value of the broadcasting rights to the Rugby World Cup.
He also accused Multichoice of having “bullying and huge anti-competitive behaviour.”
Plaaitjies encouraged sponsors to ditch Supersport and spend it on SABC instead.
“We will have an audience more than five times what SuperSport will have,” he told 702.
Meanwhile, eMedia called on Multichoice to amend its “unjust” limitations against OpenView subscribers to watch the Rugby World Cup.
According to a formal letter issued to the CEO of Multichoice, Multichoice Africa, and Supersport, eMedia made the following points.