South Africa’s video entertainment and internet company MultiChoice wants Netflix regulated as it fights to hold on to its subscribers.
The pay-TV company lost over 100,000 premium subscribers in the previous financial year and it has lost an additional 40,000 subscribers as of July 2018.
According to MultiChoice South Africa chief executive Calvo Mawela, the loss was attributed to unregulated competition from video-streaming company Netflix giving it an unfair advantage.
However, the company acknowledges that it will need to adapt to the changing times before it becomes a victim of digital disruption. Mawela said MultiChoice is aware of the fact that viewers are now more likely to watch content online than anywhere else.
Proposal to Regulate Netflix
“[…] we are not against competition. We embrace competition. We love competitors to come to the market because we think that, through competition, subscribers will be able to appreciate what kind of a value offering we are giving them, and the consumer ultimately benefits through competition,” Mawela said adding that top players in that market should be subjected to regulation which will allow the company to “compete toe to toe.”
“I am saying bring the likes of Netflix in the same net. Netflix does not employ even one person in this country, it does not pay tax, they do not have to do any local content.”
Currently, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is currently evaluating the situation. MultiChoice is of the opinion that if Icasa fails to regulate leading companies such as Netflix, DStv will suffer.
In May, the regulator held an inquiry with the objective of opening up the market to more players. Icasa is analysing the findings of this inquiry and will publish the findings in March 2019.