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ICASA’s Draft Regulations May Cause MultiChoice To Change Business Model

Pay-TV operator MultiChoice could possibly be forced to shift its focus and change its business model in order to remain competitive as the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) drafts up new rules to challenge its dominance.

Icasa has been given the mandate to introduce measures to level-up the pay-TV playing field, primarily getting rid of exclusive programming, despite objections by MultiChoice, which is the dominant pay-TV operator in SA.

The continent’s leading pay-TV operator listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in February and is now valued at over R55bn, servicing approximately14-million people in 50 countries across Africa.

Tefo Mohapi, a technology analyst at iAfrikan Digital, said that instead of holding on to its traditional satellite business, MultiChoice might have to shift its focus towards its video streaming businesses to remain competitive if the proposed regulations become a reality.

ICASA recently released its draft findings following an investigation into pay-tV broadcasting services. The findings provide strategies to enhance competition and lower subscription fees in the pay-TV space.

The new suggestions include the reduction of contract duration, specifically for sports rights, and the splitting of content rights and selling them to more than one TV broadcaster.

If the regulations are implemented as is, MultiChoice could find itself having to seek new ways to differentiate itself in the market.

MultiChoice leads the market mainly because it has exclusive rights to premium and international content, such as the English Premier League, the local Premier Soccer League, the Uefa Champions League and the Spanish La Liga.

Mohapi also recommended that MultiChoice could look into streaming sports exclusively as this was such a major attraction for its viewers currently.

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