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Why govt agency wants DStv to re-sell Premier League rights

MultiChoice Kenya, which owns the DStv brand, is facing a fresh push from the country’s competition watchdog to re-sell its exclusive English Premier League (EPL) rights to rivals in a bid to open up the pay-TV market.

A two-year investigation by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) into the local pay-TV market has found that MultiChoice has unfair monopoly of football content, skewing competition in its favour.

The inquiry found that MultiChoice’s exclusive rights to EPL and Kenya Premier League (KPL) matches, which are aired on its SuperSport channels, disadvantages other firms.

“A few months ago, we gave MultiChoice our preliminary findings, detailing the areas we found uncompetitive. We are now in the final stages of the matter,” a CAK source, who requested to remain anonymous, told the Daily Nation.

Naspers, MultiChoice’s South Africa-based parent company, has rebuffed claims of wrongdoing, saying exclusivity is at the core of its pay-TV business and that anybody can buy the rights from the UK’s Premier League.

SuperSport spent Sh25.2 billion to secure the rights for sub-Saharan Africa between 2013 and 2016, a fee which is set to grow to Sh36.4 billion for the three-year period beginning August 2016.