Broadcast Regulation

ICASA Says That Netflix And DStv Are Not In Competition In South Africa

According to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), there is a significant difference between streaming services such as Netflix and the services being provided by traditional broadcasters in South Africa – such as DStv.

In a conversation with CNBC Africa, a councillor at ICASA, Botlenyana Mokhele said that the regulator has found that the two services are not competing in the same market.
She said that things could very possibly change in the next three years, but currently they are not playing in the same field and do not offer the same service.

This means that at this point ICASA has no immediate plans to regulate streaming services in South Africa.

Mokhele said that Multichoice has a lot of advantages over streaming services.
She noted that Multichoice has live programming, sports, local content and news. Whereas streaming services only have series and movies.

Mokhele pointed out that should streaming services acquire sports rights then that would be a definite game-changer, but at the moment the two platforms serve different segments of the market.
The councillor revealed that ICASA’s studies showed that the two services actually complement each other, as proven by the fact that Multichoice has Showmax -its own streaming service.

In its report that was published on 12 April, ICASA said that it was concerned that MultiChoice might be using its dominance in South Africa to limit competition in the streaming sector after the pay-TV operator stated that Netflix subscribers are approximately only two-thirds of its Showmax subscribers.

According to ICASA, Multichoice submitted that Netflix’s entry into SA posed a severe competitive threat to its operations in the country. However, the regulator said that the group’s business plans contradicted this.

 In ICASA’s view, data shows that Multichoice is in control of the market and its dominance will continue for the foreseeable future, regardless of the entry of OTTs in South Africa.

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