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THE MEDIA APRIL 2018

SPORTS “Al rights to sport are open to anyone to bid and al broadcasters (including FTA operators ) are free to tender or negot iate for the rights with rights holders.” No sports rights for e.tv Gone are the days where families gathered in the living room on a Wednesday or Thursday evening to watch UEFA Champions League games on e.tv. In fact eMedia Investments does not own any sports broadcast rights at present. “When we do broadcast sport, it’s on an ad hoc basis on e.tv. Reasons for this include the exorbitant costs of acquiring live broadcast rights and the dominance of DStv in this area. They use live sports broadcasts to increase and maintain their subscriber base,” explains Rosin. Another major loss for the group (though some people won’t consider this a sport in the traditional sense of the word), is professional wrestling programming from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) company. This was a cornerstone of e.tv’s line-up for many years, drawing a large number of viewers, before the rights were scooped up by SuperSport in the middle of 2017. Since then the new content has been heavily promoted across all of SuperSport’s channels. Another change, which is great news for wrestling fans, is that SuperSport shows the entire three hours of each weekly event, rather than the one hour highlights which viewers were accustomed to on e.tv. Again, since SuperSport has more capacity, they are able to broadcast the long-form content, rather than simply highlights. Even though it has no sports rights currently, eMedia Investments is always on the lookout for opportunities in this programming space. “eMedia Investments would be interested in broadcasting sporting events should it appeal to our audience and be financially viable,” says Rosin. “In making this decision, a privately-owned broadcaster always has to balance the cost of a broadcast (in this case the extremely high rights costs) and the impact of the broadcast on audience figures with the ability to recoup these costs. For e.tv, we can only recoup the costs through advertising. A pay TV operator can recoup costs through subscription fees and advertising.” A changing landscape Even though people have bemoaned the lack of sports coverage on free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters, MultiChoice is adamant that the landscape is changing. “Although SuperSport has a number of rights in its stable, the sports rights market in South Africa is changing rapidly and is more competitive than ever,” the company says. “All rights to sport are open to anyone to bid and all broadcasters (including FTA operators) are free to tender or negotiate for the rights with rights holders. Operators such as Kwese and StarTimes compete for rights vigorously. SuperSport has lost many sets of rights to these competitors recently, such as athletics, the US NBA, tennis and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), as well as German, Italian, French and UEFA qualifiers football.” Mark Rosin The Media | wagthedog.co.za P 9


THE MEDIA APRIL 2018
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