eMedia Holdings, the parent of Openview and eTV has filed papers against MultiChoice in the High Court over the screening of World Cup rugby matches, reports TechCentral.

This was confirmed by MultiChoice after Openview published full-page advertisements in various Sunday newspapers in which it hinted that it had taken the matter on review.

It is not the first time that Openview and eMedia have taken aim at MultiChoice over the rugby rights.

Last month, when it emerged that MultiChoice’s sub-licensing deal with the SABC prohibited the public broadcaster from carrying the games on Openview, a free-to-air satellite platform that carries the SABC channels, eMedia threatened legal action against the pay-TV broadcaster.

This threat came even though it wasn’t party to the discussions with the SABC and MultiChoice over broadcasting the games from the World Cup.

In an open letter to MultiChoice on 8 September, eMedia first threatened court action. That letter accused MultiChoice of forcing a deal on the SABC that ‘undermines consumer welfare and is contrary to the public interest’.

The SABC reportedly paid $2m that would allow it to broadcast 16 of the 48 Rugby World Cup games, including all matches involving the Springboks.

eMedia CEO Khalik Sherrif said in a statement about the SABC deal: ‘The anti-competitive action is nothing short of domination in trying to prescribe to the free-to-air partner on how to use its broadcasting rights. We believe the action should be strongly condemned and opposed. The 3.2m households which have been affected by the decision should voice their dissatisfaction.’

A spokesman for MultiChoice said on Sunday that the company will oppose eMedia’s court challenge.

’We are in receipt of the application served on us by eMedia. We consider the application to be without merit and have notified eMedia of our intention to oppose it.’

Full TechCentral report