Bloody nose for MultiChoice in sports fight with eMedia

==The Competition Tribunal has granted interim relief to eMedia in its fight with MultiChoice over the carriage of sublicensed sports from the SABC on its Openview free-to-air satellite platform.

eMedia took MultiChoice, which owns SuperSport, to the Competition Commission last year after the pay-television broadcaster refused to allow the SABC to broadcast rugby and cricket games on its channels it broadcasts via Openview.

According to a statement by the tribunal on Monday, eMedia has accused MultiChoice of “abusing its alleged dominant position by concluding anticompetitive and restrictive sublicensing agreements with the SABC”.

“eMedia alleges that MultiChoice prevents the SABC from broadcasting major sporting events (such as rugby and cricket games – including World Cup tournaments), sublicensed to the SABC, on the SABC’s channels carried on eMedia’s Openview platform.”

eMedia lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission last year and subsequently also sought interim relief from the tribunal to “stop MultiChoice from enforcing the restriction in existing sublicensing agreements or including such restrictions in any new sublicensing agreements until the merits of the case are decided”.

“The tribunal has granted eMedia interim relief pending the final determination of its complaint to the commission, or for a period of six months, whichever occurs first,” it said.


As a result, MultiChoice (including Supersport) and the SABC are interdicted from implementing and enforcing any restriction in existing sublicensing agreements between them where the public broadcaster is prohibited from making available these sports broadcasts on Openview.

The companies are also interdicted from including restrictions that prohibit the SABC from transmitting sublicensed broadcasts on Openview in future sports sublicensing agreements.

Read: eMedia and MultiChoice go to war

“The tribunal’s reasons for its decision will be issued in due course,” the Competition Tribunal said.

MultiChoice opposed eMedia’s interim relief application, arguing that “none of eMedia’s complaints had any basis in competition law or fact”, it added.

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for TechCentral, but said previously that eMedia’s “true grievance is simply a commercial one, namely that the impugned restriction is preventing it from being able to free-ride on SuperSport’s investment in sports rights, and from thereby being able to negate the competitive advantage that MultiChoice Group is entitled to derive from the investments that it has been willing to make in such rights”. – © 2024 NewsCentral Media

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