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Hospitality sector up in arms about DStv price hike before Rugby World Cup

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The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) has invited DStv management to immediate talks about the television group’s near tripling of the prices of its packages to the hospitality sector at the start of the Rugby World Cup.

Many local rugby fans are fuming that the SABC will not be broadcasting the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which kicks off tomorrow, as the SABC has refused to pay MultiChoice R37.7 million for the rights to broadcast live all potential Springbok games.

The games will only be available on SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby channels on the most expensive DStv Premium package.

Rasa CEO Wendy Albert said yesterday in an interview that the hospitality industry had on several occasions requested DStv to talks about pricing, which DStv had ignored, and the association viewed the latest increase as unconscionable, unjustified and unaffordable to many restaurants and businesses in the hospitality sector.

She said Rasa has previously laid several complaints about uncompetitive pricing to the Competition Commission. The Rugby World Cup was not being shown on SABC, MultiChoice’s DStv held a monopoly over the event, and the event should not only be accessible to a privileged few, she said.

She said that with SABC not broadcasting the Rugby World Cup, MultiChoice was being opportunistic in raising the prices of its business packages right before the event, and “South Africans can’t be left in the dark like this.”

“The calculated timing of this massive 50 percent increase is designed to hold our members and broader hospitality industry to ransom,” Alberts said.

“The Rugby World Cup belongs to all South Africans … it is an incredible opportunity to stimulate tourism and boost the hospitality industry, which is still recovering from the effects of lockdown, load shedding and many other challenges,” she said.

In response, MultiChoice said it had announced a Business Play package update from September 1, aligned to its goal of “providing the best value and unrivalled access for Super fans.”

It said it had been forced to readjust its pricing and content offering for three of its DStv Business Play Packages as it had faced increased costs in the local currency versus the US dollar after it was required to renegotiate content rights.

“Our DStv Business Packages have not had a price review in many years, despite the weakening rand, inflationary increases to double digits in some areas, and a poor economic trading environment,” MultiChoice said in response to Business Report queries.

It said it had successfully secured highly sought-after sports broadcast rights for another five years to 2028, rights that carry “live sporting events in high definition from all angles, complemented by world-class commentary.”

“Sport continues to play a major part in attracting fans into our business customers’ pubs, taverns and shebeens.

“We are proud to offer the widest coverage of live sporting events in the world as part of our commitment to delivering the best sporting line-up to our customers.

“We deliver live sporting events in high definition from all angles, complemented by world-class commentary,” the broadcaster said.

“Providing the best value and unrivalled access for Superfans via our competitive product options and world-class quality broadcasts is the foundation of how we put our customers first,” it said.

BUSINESS REPORT

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