VENTURES AFRICA – South African DStv operator MultiChoice will not re-sell rights to the English Premier League (EPL) content despite calls from the Regulator to do so, claiming re-sale would harm revenues.
The operator – which is the provider of DStv to Sub-Saharan Africa – currently holds exclusive rights to air certain particularly popular content, including the EPL.
Faced by calls from the Regulator – the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) – and industry rivals to share the exclusive content in the form of a re-sale of rights, MultiChoice is refusing the demands claiming that rights sharing would not only diminish revenues, but would deter advertisers and reduce the value of content overall.
“Exclusivity is the principle on which pay-Tv works,” Nolo Letele, executive chairman of MultiChoice Africa said defending the company’s insistence upon retaining exclusive content, according to Business Daily.
“The sports rights periodically come up for renewal and anyone is free to bid,” Letele added.
Having dominated the pay-television market in Africa for over 20 years – including in the East Africa region – MultiChoice has also been subjected to an investigation by the Competition Authority in Kenya over the propriety and legality of the dominance which the company enjoys over the Kenyan market.
It is in response to claims that the single-operator dominance is unhealthy in competition terms, that the CCK has decided to back the demands of industry rivals for the re-sale of exclusive content, explaining that this would improve competitiveness on the market and allow users to choose between different providers.
According to the CCK, such a content-sharing model has been successful already in the UK and Italy in Europe, but also in Nigeria on the African continent.
However, MultiChoice has countered with experiments with such a sharing model in South Africa, which resulted in a drop in value of content – given the lack of exclusivity – leading to reduced earnings for the sporting and filming associations involved, and having the knock-on effect of deterring advertisers from the sector.
MultiChoice has suggested that it may be willing to re-sell certain content on the condition that buyers air the content with a delay in order to enable the South African operator to retain priority.