NBC and Multichoice in Broadcasting Tussle

WHILE the rest of the world was enjoying the first match of the Fifa World Cup 2014, some Namibian viewers were met by a blank screen when they wanted to watch the game on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on their DStv and GOtv decoders last week Thursday.

The blank screen was followed by a message on the screen saying that the match would not be screened on NBC because of contractual agreement between MultiChoice Namibia and the national broadcaster.

Viewers who wanted to watch the match on NBC with commentary from Namibian commentators had to opt to watch the game on other sports channels on DStv, consequently missing out on the local commentary.

According to the Director General of NBC, Albertus Aochamub, MultiChoice N amibia only informed the broadcaster late on Thursday afternoon that no World Cup matches would be screened on the NBC channel on the DStv decoder.

“MultiChoice on Thursday afternoon sent a letter to NBC that there was an instruction from Fifa that no matches should be broadcasted on terrestrial broadcasters,” Aochumub said, adding that he had no clue why Fifa would give such an instruction.

He said the competition being the biggest of its kind should be available for viewing to everybody, regardless of economic or any other background. He believed that this may also be the view of Fifa, thus he can only speculate why it was an issue to for NBC to broadcast the games on the DStv decoder.

The matter has since been resolved and viewers can now watch the matches on NBC on the DStv decoder after NBC and MultiChoice management engaged in discussions on Friday, and MultiChoice reconsidered NBC’s plea to broadcast the tournament.

“We had a long conversation and they reconsidered and put us back on the decoder,” Aochamub said.

MultiChoice General Manager Roger Gertze confirmed that they did receive instruction from Fifa to block NBC from broadcasting, but requested Fifa to permit NBC’s broadcasting of the World Cup.

In a media statement released late Friday afternoon, MultiChoice informed DStv and GOtv subscrobers that they received special permission from Fifa to allow Free To Air (FTAs) on the DStv platforms.

“MultiChoice would like to inform DStv and GOtv subscribers that it has obtained special permission from Fifa to allow FTAs on these platforms to be accessible to customers wishing to view the World Cup, as these are the only pay TV platforms authorised to screen the World Cup. All FTAs on these platforms are therefore not required to block their signals and subscribers will now be able to view the World Cup games on any channel they choose to select on pay TV platforms,” the statement read.

Source : The Namibian