Multichoice says its competition Netflix must be regulated.
The pay TV operator had lost more than 100,000 premium subscribers in 2017 and a further 40,000 to date. Its SA CEO Calvo Mawela credited this loss of business to what they call unregulated competition from another video-streaming platform – Netflix.
The CEO said that the top pay TV network has “unfair advantage” because it was not under regulatory pressures in SA. Furthermore, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) should “level the playing field” to make it fair for other OTT players.
He amended, however, that they were aware that, should they fail to adapt to modern business models, it could make them a victim of digital disruption.
They also stated that the company was aware of the growing trend of more people choosing to watch online. Hence, they launched their streaming service, DStv Now. For this online streaming service, they were also hoping to introduce a higher-definition, 4K-streaming format.
In an effort to take on other OTT players, the video entertainment and internet company said that they might offer a streaming-online package.
In May, Icasa held oral hearings about subscription television services with the goal of bringing in more players to the pay-TV market. The target is to raise the topics of shared sports rights and shortened premium content subscriptions, among other things.
“Their inquiry was misplaced. We are not exactly against competition,” Mawela stated. “The subscribers will appreciate the value of our content and ultimately benefit through competition. But Icasa is telling us, ‘you need to be regulated more.’”
“Netflix does not pay taxes, they do not employ people from this country, and they don’t have to produce local content,” Mawela said.
Other OTT players should be under the same regulations as MultiChoice, he said, to allow pay TV players to “compete toe to toe.”