eMedia Reportedly Received Interim Relief from the Competition Tribunal

The Competition Tribunal has issued interim relief in favor of eMedia in its dispute with MultiChoice regarding the carriage of sublicensed sports content from the SABC on eMedia’s Openview free-to-air satellite platform.

Competition Tribunal Grants Interim Relief to eMedia in Dispute with MultiChoice
Competition Tribunal Grants Interim Relief to eMedia in Dispute with MultiChoice

What you should know about the background of the dispute, the allegations made by eMedia against MultiChoice, and the implications of the tribunal’s decision. Read on to find out.

Background of the Dispute

eMedia lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission against MultiChoice, alleging that the pay-television broadcaster is abusing its dominant position by restricting the SABC from broadcasting major sporting events, such as rugby and cricket, on Openview.

MultiChoice owns SuperSport and has refused to allow the SABC to broadcast these sports games on Openview channels sublicensed to the public broadcaster.

Allegations Against MultiChoice

eMedia accuses MultiChoice of concluding anticompetitive and restrictive sublicensing agreements with the SABC, preventing the public broadcaster from transmitting sports broadcasts on Openview.

The dispute centers on MultiChoice’s alleged efforts to prevent competition and maintain its dominance in the sports broadcasting market.

Interim Relief Granted by the Tribunal:

  • The Competition Tribunal has granted eMedia interim relief pending the final determination of its complaint or for a period of six months, whichever occurs first.
  • MultiChoice and the SABC are interdicted from implementing any restrictions in existing sublicensing agreements that prohibit the SABC from making sports broadcasts available on Openview.
  • Future sports sublicensing agreements must not include restrictions preventing the SABC from transmitting broadcasts on Openview.

MultiChoice’s Response

MultiChoice opposed eMedia’s interim relief application, arguing that the complaints lacked basis in competition law or fact.

The company contends that eMedia’s grievance is primarily commercial and aims to circumvent SuperSport’s investment in sports rights.

Implications and Next Steps:

  • The tribunal’s decision marks a significant development in the ongoing dispute between eMedia and MultiChoice, with potential implications for competition in the sports broadcasting market.
  • Both parties await the tribunal’s detailed reasons for its decision, which will shed light on the legal and factual basis for granting interim relief.
  • The outcome of the case could have broader implications for competition law enforcement and regulatory oversight in the broadcasting industry.

The interim relief granted by the Competition Tribunal represents a significant victory for eMedia in its battle against MultiChoice over the carriage of sports content on Openview. The decision underscores the importance of competition law in addressing anticompetitive practices and promoting fair competition in the broadcasting sector.

As the dispute progresses, stakeholders will closely monitor further developments and the tribunal’s final determination on the merits of eMedia’s complaint.



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