MultiChoice has now appeared thrice in these blog pages… After having investigations into its alleged abuses of dominance opened in Botswana (reported here) and South Africa (here), the Naspers-controlled company MultiChoice (which owns DStv as well as SuperSport) has now been accused by Kenyan rivals Wananchi Group (Zuku TV) and StarTimes.
Their complaints reportedly focus on dominant MultiChoice locking up key football rights (U.S. readers need not worry: they mean “soccer”, of course). As any good U.S. plaintiff would do as well, the Kenyan broadcasting competitors plan to lodge formal complaints not only with the Communication Commission of Kenya, but also with the Competition Authority of Kenya. The focus is, therefore, on antitrust claims against giant MultiChoice.
In general, the monopolization/dominance complaints seem to mirror largely those of, for instance, the South African On Digital Media, which had previously complained to the South African Competition Commission about MultiChoice’s refusal to grant ODM’s “TopTV” subsidiary access to two of MultiChoice’s SuperSport channels.
Whether obtaining exclusive distribution rights to football gems such as the English Premier League and the “Tusker Premier League” constitutes monopolization under Kenyan law remains to be seen.