The Competition Commission is investigating MultiChoice’s deal with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to integrate the streaming services into its DStv Explora decoder.
Commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga said the investigation is still in its infancy and that the group is not able to provide more details at this stage.
The investigation comes after DStv announced plans to become a ‘one-stop-shop’ where customers pay a single bill and get access to all streaming content – including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
In its recent financial report, it said it had signed deals with Netflix and Amazon to integrate both of these services into its Explora decoder.
MultiChoice CFO Tim Jacobs said these agreements are part of a new streaming platform MultiChoice would launch that would include content from international players.
“What we are trying to do is to provide an amount of simplicity, choice, and convenience to subscribers – they can come to one place and can get access to all of this different content,” said Jacobs.
Multichoice said that it could not comment on the investigation at this stage.
Multichoice and DStv are already facing scrutiny for it control over existing sports rights.
In December 2018, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) published the Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations which aim to formalise its plans to cut down on the monopoly around sport.
As part of the draft regulations, Icasa listed many popular sporting events which must be broadcast live by a free-to-air service like the SABC.
- Summer Olympic Games
- FIFA World Cup
- Rugby World Cup
- ICC Cricket World Cup
- Africa Cup of Nations
- ICC T20 Cricket World Championships
- International Boxing Federations
- National Netball
- Commonwealth Games
- International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF)
If a free-to-air licensee, like the SABC or eTV, cannot acquire the sporting rights for these events, subscription service broadcasters like MultiChoice can bid for the rights on a non-exclusive basis.
Numerous other sporting events, like Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Premier League Soccer, and the COSAFA Cup, are available to subscription broadcasters on a non-exclusive basis.
The regulations further require free-to-air and subscription services to broadcast at least two minority sporting codes like golf, tennis, martial arts, basketball, squash, and motorsport.
A number of South African bodies have united in a bid to oppose new broadcasting regulations, as they stand to lose significant funding due to the new model.
DStv is the largest funder of a number of sporting codes in the country, with many South African sporting groups reliant on the broadcaster for their day to day operations.