MultiChoice ups ante with Carrim

MultiChoice has upped the ante further with communications minister Yunus Carrim in its efforts to have encryption in digital television set-top boxes scrapped. By Duncan McLeod.

Yunus-Carrim-640-4

Yunus Carrim

MultiChoice has upped the ante further with communications minister Yunus Carrim over government’s policy on the use of encryption in digital terrestrial television. In a statement, it has accused the minister of not telling the truth when he claimed that MultiChoice and its partners were misrepresenting the situation.

Tensions between the pay-television operator, which owns DStv, M-Net and SuperSport, have been rising since the weekend when it published an open letter to Carrim in Sunday newspapers in which it accused him of advancing the “narrow commercial interests” of “certain” broadcasters, in a clear reference to rival e.tv.

Carrim hit back, labelling MultiChoice a bullying monopoly and saying the letter was “astonishingly inaccurate” and served to “substantially weaken the case of those opposed to the government’s policy”.

MultiChoice and e.tv are engaged in a high-stakes war over whether the set-top boxes that consumers will need to watch digital television when the country switches off analogue broadcasts should contain a control system based on encryption technology. Carrim has been trying to reach a compromise agreement between the warring parties, but that now appears impossible.

MultiChoice now says it is “extremely disappointed at the response to date” by Carrim to efforts by it and by “black-owned electronics companies and the community TV sector to raise public awareness about the negative impact of the department of communications’ digital migration policy on the poor”.

“We urge him to put the interests of consumers first,” MultiChoice’s statement says.

“Over the past few days, the minister has accused MultiChoice, Namec [the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronic Components] and the community TV sector of ‘misrepresenting’ the situation. Nothing could be further from the truth,” MultiChoice says.

“MultiChoice, the SABC, the community television sector and Namec are all on record in support of the ‘unencrypted’ set box option because of its multiple benefits to South African television viewers.

“The minister has disregarded all our voices and attempted to deny anyone but himself the opportunity to speak for millions of South African television viewers.

“Rather than engage with the merits of the debate, the minister has chosen to divert attention by questioning the position that MultiChoice occupies as a significant contributor to the broadcasting industry, and the South African economy in general.

“We have to ask why. If South African consumers don’t matter, who does?” the statement continues.

“It is clear that, like everywhere else in the world, an unencrypted option is not only the best low-cost option in terms of initial outlay, but is cheaper in terms of ongoing costs to consumers.

“Tagging those who choose to differ from him as ‘bullies’ does not contribute to a solution that is in the best interests of South African television consumers.

“We remain open to constructive engagement on this matter, but believe the minister is ill advised. We, however, welcome the minister’s comments that he remains open to dialogue.”  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

Share this article

Why TechCentral?

We know that as a prospective advertiser, you are spoilt for choice. Our job is to demonstrate why TechCentral delivers the best return for your advertising spend.

TechCentral is South Africa’s online technology news leader. We don’t say that lightly. We believe we produce the country’s best and most insightful online tech news aimed at industry professionals and those interested in the fast-changing world of technology.

We provide news, reviews and comment, without fear or favour, that is of direct relevance to our fast-expanding audience. Proportionately, we provide the largest local audience of all technology-focused online publishers.

We do not constantly regurgitate press releases to draw in search engine traffic — we believe websites that do so are doing their readers and advertisers a disservice. Nor do we sell “editorial features”, offer advertising “press offices” or rely on online bulletin-board forums of questionable value to advertisers to bolster our traffic.

TechCentral, which is edited and written by award-winning South African journalists, cares about delivering top-quality content to draw in the business and consumer readers that are of most interest to technology advertisers.

We’d like the opportunity to demonstrate the value of directing a portion of your advertising budget to TechCentral, whether your company is in the technology field or not. Numerous opportunities exist for companies interested in reaching our audience of key decision-makers in South Africa’s dynamic information and communications technology sector. We offer packages that will deliver among the best returns on investment available in the online technology news space.

For more information about advertising opportunities, and how your organisation can benefit by publicising itself on TechCentral, please call us on 011-792-0449 during office hours. Or send us an e-mail and ask for our latest rate card and brochure.