ICASA Plans To End DStv’s Monopoly In South Africa
24 April 2019
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has released the findings of its inquiry into South Africa’s subscription TV broadcasting services.
The regulator said that this process began in 2016 when ICASA published a notice of its plans to carry out an inquiry into the current state of competition in the subscription broadcasting services space.
ICASA said that it also looked into the impact of over-the-top (OTT) services, such as Netflix, and found that even though these services are growing, their effects on the South African market is not yet significant.
This is because of limited access to broadband, low Internet speeds and the high cost of data in South Africa.
The regulator’s investigations revealed that MultiChoice is the entity which holds significant market power overall in South Africa’s subscription TV services sector in terms of distribution, supply and acquisition of content.
As a result of MultiChoice’s market dominance, ICASA is proposing some new license conditions to address the market failure.
It said that most industry stakeholders support the proposed remedies that include reducing contract duration, splitting rights, unbundling, wholesale must-offer and limiting access to the number of Hollywood film studios.
In addition, ICASA noted that it had identified set-top box interoperability as another potential license condition to impose on MultiChoice.
The regulator said that although most stakeholders agree with its analysis and preliminary views on the matter, MultiChoice generally disagrees.
ICASA said that it might look into developing regulations in terms of Section 67(4) of the Electronic Communications Act depending on the outcome of the final version of its finding report.
However, ICASA added that a separate public consultation process would be followed if the relevant parties were not all in agreement.