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THE MEDIA APRIL 2018

SPORTS SuperSport’s Xola Ntshinga (left) and new Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus (right). The group is also adamant that there are plenty of opportunities for South Africans without access to pay TV platforms to watch sports. “Our sports broadcast rights regulations ensure that sporting events of national interest, such as matches played by South African national teams locally and international competitions such as World Cups and the Olympics, are made available to freeto air broadcasters. Federations such as the PSL also insist that a large number of their matches appear on FTA,” MultiChoice adds. An example of this was seen recently with SABC securing the rights for the 2018 Super Rugby season for inbound and outbound live matches on its radio stations. The main rights holder, SuperSport, waived the broadcast right fees for this coverage, essentially handing content to SABC for free. The SABC said budget constraints were the reason for not being able to pay SuperSport for the rights, while SA Rugby had intervened to ensure its content would be available on SABC radio stations. As South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC is mandated by regulations to cover certain tournaments/leagues/competitions identified as national sporting events. These include, but are not limited to, the FIFA World Cup, IRB Rugby World Cup, ICC Cricket World Cup, the African Cup of Nations, the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games, the All Africa Games, the CAF Champions League Final, the Mandela Cup Final (if a South African team is involved), and the Rugby Super 12 final (if a South African team is involved). Competition from non-traditional broadcasters A growing trend, which will be a must-watch in the future for traditional broadcasters, is competition from global internet giants in the sports broadcast space. The likes of Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter and others are the new frontier and are now beginning to actively challenge for sports rights worldwide, including in South Africa. MultiChoice identified several advantages that they have over traditional broadcasters, which makes their threat that much more serious. “These operators have no regulations that they have to comply with and far fewer expenses than pay TV and FTA broadcasters. They employ far fewer people and do not pay taxes locally,” it says. “They are able to acquire rights globally and easily attain economies of scale. These factors pose a significant risk to traditional broadcasters and this has already resulted in the sports rights landscape experiencing a substantial change throughout the world. This change will continue to accelerate.” Rosin also identified this threat, but takes a more conservative view. “Over the top (OTT) broadcasts are starting to make inroads in the live broadcast of some non-traditional sporting events, but still lag far behind in terms of drawcard live sporting events. This will no doubt start changing as these players have more money to spend on rights acquisitions and it will begin to play out in South Africa over the next decade,” he reckons. While it seems efforts are being made to bring sports coverage to more South Africans, the dire financial state of the SABC, the disinclination of e.tv to spend, and the dominance of SuperSport are all obstacles that still need to be overcome. The introduction of digital terrestrial television (DTT) could level the playing field more as more channels for broadcasters could bring more platforms and money to cover sport. Alternative channels, such as social media, are another emerging option for South Africans to get their sports fix. But despite all this uncertainty and complications, there is one undeniable fact: Sport is big business and South Africans really are sports mad! P 10 The Media | wagthedog.co.za


THE MEDIA APRIL 2018
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