Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Martin van Staden of the Free Market Foundation appealed to MultiChoice not to become involved in cronyism and pervert our economic system (Cronies out to nail Netflix, Friday, July 13).

He is right. But he is also too generous. The noises emanating from MultiChoice about Netflix are more than cronyism. They are the desperate cries of a dinosaur trying to prevent its extinction.

The mob justice tactics we have been seeing from the metered taxi association is just a more crass, dangerous and illegal version of the same thing. Metered taxis cannot compete with Uber and so the only alternative, it would appear, is to beat drivers and smash windscreens.

The job losses and inability to compete across various industries should be giving our government sleepless nights. Instead it is pandering to populist sloganeering as the rest of the world upskills in time for transformation of the digital kind.

MultiChoice should step back and admit that it has been disrupted, legitimately so, by an agile, digital solution that resonates with a tech-savvy consumer who can choose to hire a movie on DStv’s Box Office for R30, or pay a subscription to NetFlix for just more than four times that amount and watch seemingly infinitely more content.

The sense of entitlement stems from its previous dominant market position.

There will be more and more of these monopoly crashes and tragic job-loss scenarios in the coming years unless the government and business act fast to strategically plan for the changing global marketplace and prepare workers (and their c-suite and boards) with the relevant skills. No amount of regulation is going to change the digital consumer’s mind about where to spend money. The digital native will follow the innovation. Every time.

Of course, "reg tech" will become big business in the next few years as regulators try to play catch-up, but innovation in Industry 4.0 means the consumer has more power than ever before. Adapt or be disrupted. No one is entitled to extort R809 a month.

Devlin Brown
Johannesburg