MBC Group and OSN detail the impact of Cima4U piracy operation, shut down by ACE

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Based in Giza, Egypt, Cima4U was a major piracy outlet serving the Middle East & North African region.  Its shut down was announced earlier this year through the efforts of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) and member companies.

In its heyday, Cima4U operated nearly 500 domains and had more than 11 million unique visitors in a single month. The illegal service offered a VOD library of more than 165,000 movie and TV series titles in Arabic and original versions.

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ACE’s recently-established Alliance in Action blog caught up with executives from  Dubai-based OSN Group, and MBC Group/Shahid; two major media companies serving that region. The illegal traffic traffic to Cima4U originated primarily from Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, which are major media markets for both companies.

Big impact

Cima4U was a widely viewed outlet that pirated MBC Group’s content and was … one of the top piracy outlets that we had on our radar,” observed Ahmed Quandil, Director of Growh Marketing, VOD, at MBC Group.  “It had accumulated significant  pirated  traffic that diverted users away from our legitimate properties, which impacts our business on different levels including ROI and brand.

“Pirates make this (stolen) content available for free without any licensing fees or costs incurred. They then try to make money by advertising around the content. This would limit the audience reach of the legitimate platforms and hence limit the addressable customers that could be served advertisements or be acquired as subscribers, which could have a negative impact on the content investment ROI. Subsequently, piracy can impact the investment that legitimate platforms put into making the content available,” continued Mr. Quandil.

Big challenges

“The unfortunate reality is that, in our region, the streaming of paid content through illicit means is rampant. These operators affect our ability to maximize our audience for our legitimate content offering,” added Fiona Robertson, OSN General Counsel. “(But) Enforcement actions, such as raids on owners or administrators of pirate websites, have a positive impact on our business and the industry generally.”

Ms. Robertson continued: “As technology evolves, pirates adapt swiftly, making it easier for them to operate behind proxy services, and making it harder for the enforcement of the law. Additionally, high-speed broadband is increasing its penetration in the region, allowing illegal streaming to rise.

“In the face of these challenges, legal frameworks do struggle to keep pace with technological advancements, leaving legal operators grappling with outdated regulations and slow enforcement mechanisms.”


The ACE article also provides highlights of technology-, market-, business- and law enforcement-based countermeasures employed by OSN and by MBC Group to detect and disrupt piracy activities.   Both companies also run ongoing consumer awareness campaigns.

Further reading

Member Spotlight: MBC Group and OSN. Our conversation with two members about the ACE shutdown of Cima4U.  May 23, 2024. Alliance In Action Blog.  ACE

Egypt-based illegal streaming service shut down; operated nearly 500 domains. Article. January 26, 2024. by Steven Hawley. Piracy Monitor

Why it matters

OSN’s Fiona Robertson commented that content piracy is a formidable adversary for broadcasters and distributors of content across the globe and is particularly severe in the MENA region. It is estimated that anywhere between $500 and $750 million are lost due to content piracy every year by Pay TV operators and streaming services in the MENA region alone.

“Despite these alarming figures, piracy is often met with leniency from regulators in the region, who suffer from a lack of resources, and so this results in a lack of awareness of the consequences for pirate operators,” she said.

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