MultiChoice responds to Caxton claims surrounding SABC deal

Investment

MultiChoice has described the allegations by Caxton about its channel distribution agreement with the SABC as far-fetched and has submitted that the application should be dismissed by the Competition Tribunal.

This is in response to a complaint by media publisher Caxton, which claims the agreement is a ‘merger’ putting MultiChoice in a position to influence SABC policy, particularly on encrypting its broadcasts during the digital migration process. MultiChoice responded to these allegations in an affidavit, which was submitted to the Tribunal on 17 April 2015.

“We totally reject the allegations and the misrepresentations they’re based on,” says MultiChoice executive chairman Nolo Letele. “There’s simply no basis to suggest that there is anything wrong with our relationship with the SABC.

“The truth is: this is a standard commercial agreement for the supply of two television channels – a news channel (already on DStv) and an entertainment channel (which will be added shortly). We have the same kind of agreement with dozens of other channel suppliers, locally and internationally.

“It’s also standard practice to commission and license new channels. So there’s no way this can be described as a ‘merger’ that needs approval by the competition authorities.”

Letele concludes, “It’s also not true to say we’ve influenced the SABC’s position on encryption. The SABC has taken different positions on encryption at different times during the digital migration process for reasons unrelated to the agreement with MultiChoice. However, before the agreement with MultiChoice was concluded, the SABC was opposed to encryption.”
Source: Screen Africa 20 April 2015