Competition Tribunal Grants Emedia Interim Relief Against Multichoice And Sabc Over Broadcasting Of Sporting Events

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competition tribunal grants emedia interim relief against multichoice and sabc over broadcasting of

Competition Tribunal grants eMedia interim relief against Multichoice, Supersport and SABC in relation to the broadcasting of sporting events on television

The Competition Tribunal (Tribunal) said on Monday that it granted an interim relief application by eMedia Investments and its subsidiary, Platco Digital, against Multichoice SA Holdings, Multichoice, Supersport International and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

This comes after eMedia accused MultiChoice of abusing its alleged dominant position by concluding anti-competitive and restrictive sub-licensing agreements with the SABC, the public broadcaster.

The Tribunal said that eMedia alleged MultiChoice prevented the SABC from broadcasting major sporting events (such as rugby and cricket games including World Cup tournaments), sub-licensed to the SABC, on the SABCs channels carried on eMedias Openview platform.

In a statement, the Tribunal said, eMedia filed a complaint with the Competition Commission (Commission) in this regard, and subsequently approached the Tribunal for interim relief i.e. to stop MultiChoice from enforcing the restriction in existing sub-licensing agreements or including such restriction(s) in any new sub-licensing agreements until the merits of the case are decided. MultiChoice has denied the allegations and opposed eMedias interim relief application before the Tribunal, arguing that none of eMedias complaints had any basis in competition law or fact.

The Tribunal further said that the SABC was broadly supportive of eMedias application, though it disagreed with some of e-Medias contentions.

The Tribunal therefore granted eMedia interim relief pending the final determination of its complaint to the Commission, or for a period of six months (whichever occurs first).

In terms of the Tribunals order:

Multichoice, including its subsidiary Supersport, and the SABC are interdicted from implementing and enforcing any restriction in the (existing) sub-licensing agreements entered into between them, in terms of which the SABC is prohibited from transmitting or making available the sub-licensed broadcasts of sports events on platforms owned or operated by eMedia through its Openview channel; and

Multichoice, including its subsidiary Supersport, and the SABC are further interdicted from including restrictions which prohibit the SABC from transmitting or making available sub-licensed broadcasts on platforms owned or operated by eMedia (through Openview) in future sub-licensing agreements concluded between them relating to the broadcasting of sporting events.