Broadcast industry calls for anti-piracy alliance
by Roger Field
Leading broadcasters called for the formation of an industry alliance to tackle the scourge of TV and movie piracy in the Middle East, during the ITP Broadcast Forum in Dubai on Monday.
Star Middle East’s country head for MEA and Pakistan, Sumantra Dutta, described the formation of an alliance as “imperative”. “There needs to be a collective effort to tackle piracy. There isn’t yet an association of broadcasters and platform owners to be able to take the issue of piracy, to go to the lawmakers and make them aware of the evil of piracy and the leakage in the distribution revenues. We are still working towards that,” he said.
Dutta added that the association should be targeted specifically at television piracy and should include South Asian and Western broadcasters, as well as distribution platforms.
Maaz Sheikh, chief sales and operations officer, OSN, added with Dutta, but also added that the association should be expanded to include other distribution platforms.
“We do need to come together as an industry but we need to expand the industry lines to include satellite operators as well as telecoms and ISPs in the region,” he said.
However, he also stated that broadcasters must look for ways to encourage consumers to opt for legal ways of accessing content. “We as broadcasters have to continue to invest in making our value proposition valuable to the consumer so that they have less reason to pirate the services in the first place,’ he said.
John Illingworth, sales director for MENA at Irdeto, a company that specialises in anti-piracy technology, said that the industry must work together to understand “where piracy is coming from”.
“Not all pirates are criminals, you have got to work together in collaboration to find where the piracy is coming from, whose producing it, who is the criminal behind it. So it needs a lot of work together from the producers, manufacturers, the operators,” he said.