Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has ordered DSTV’s parent company, MultiChoice, to extend license of some channels and programmes to Nigerian-owned cable tv, Metro Digital Limited.
The court, presided by Judge Olabode Adegbehingbe, gave the directive on Wednesday, stating that the South African company should comply with the broadcasting code of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Recall in 2020, the broadcasting regulator had reviewed the ownership of content by subscription-based television company. NBC had implemented the code to eliminate monopoly that has seen many Nigerian-owned cable tv close down.
MultiChoice had criticised the policy, as the law will see the company lose its monopoly on customer-driven programmes such as English Premier League (EPL), South American and Asian telenovela, amongst others.
Following the code that compels broadcasting stations like DSTV, GOTV and Startimes to sublicense their contents to market rivals, Metro Digital Limited took MultiChoice to high court in Port Harcourt, over its refusal to share its programmes in 2021.
Metro Digital had requested some programmes from MultiChoice, but the South African company said it can’t sublicense them cause MultiChoice doesn’t have ownership right to do so.
The domestic cable tv filed a lawsuit against MultiChoice in the high court, however it lost the case, with the judge stating that Metro Digital hasn’t done enough to prove DSTV’s parent company wrong in its decision.
Metro Digital approached the appeal court to seek redress, and the presiding judge ruled against MultiChoice, ordering that it should sublicense the programmes in line with the NBC rule.
The appeal court gave MultiChoice 21 days to begin the sharing of the programme with Metro Digital. The judge’s directive will break DSTV and GOTV monopoly on the requested programmes.