Sports Broadcasting

Sports Broadcasting: SABC "To Go Against" SuperSports For Better Broadcasting Rights

SABC Sports has criticised Pay-TV giant, Multichoice for not playing fair when it comes to sports broadcasting rights. Gary Rathbone, SABC Sport GM says the unbundling of the sports rights is crucial, as the public broadcaster has been sub-licensing from Supersport.

"I think that is unfair because nowhere else does that happen. It is a great inconvenience for us because whenever that content that we sub-licence from them is set to appear on our digital channel, we have to replace it.

"It is not a fair practice and should not be allowed to continue. Live-stream simulcast rights should be non-exclusive and available to all broadcasters to all platforms that they simulcast their channels on" said Rathbone while speaking to TimesLive.

These utterances come as Icasa Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has been conducting public hearings on its subscription broadcast inquiry.
Icasa wants to stimulate competition in sports broadcasting and has proposed "remedies", but it has also encountered resistance from SA Rugby and the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Among the concerns they listed are reducing the duration of contracts between a broadcaster and a federation to a maximum of three years, requiring the content providers to split their rights into multiple packages and then sell these packages to more than one distributor, as well as requiring content providers to unbundle their rights to enable various parties to distribute the content across multiple platforms.

Rathbone believes the industry has changed rapidly since first started its subscription broadcast inquiry.

"A lot of the technology and a lot of the media space have shifted quite significantly," said Rathbone. "If we arrived at conclusions in 2016 we would probably find ourselves going back to the well and drawing new perspectives."

Rathbone pointed to industry disruptors like Netflix, which have necessitated broadcasters to take a broader view of the landscape they tread. "Now we have to look to work together so that we can protect SA interest," said Rathbone.

MultiChoice responded in a statement: "We trust that on the conclusion of the process, the outcome will be fair, balanced, and based on the evidence that reflects market realities."


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