Virtual IBC 2020: Experts share views during sports piracy panel session

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On September 8, IBC hosted Outsmarting the pirates – An intelligence-led approach, an IBC 2020 panel on the future of intelligence-driven anti-piracy.

The panelists observed that the industry is at a crossroads. Service providers won’t be able to afford to provide high quality services if they continue to lose consumers to piracy.  If the value of content can’t be protected, both content owners and rights holders will also suffer.  At the same time, closing the loopholes that can be exploited by pirates is an opportunity to be creative; not just technically but with law enforcement and regulators.

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The panelists were:

  • Eva Norroy, Broadcaster Servicing Manager, FIFA
  • Yael Fainaro, Senior Vice President Security, Synamedia
  • Minal Modha, Consumer Research Lead, Ampere Analysis

Piracy is easy

The panelists quickly agreed that biggest evolution in piracy over the years has been the pirates’ level of technology sophistication, combined with their ability to adapt to consumer trends. Barriers against establishing a pirate site are very low. Pirates have found content easy to steal , and it’s no longer expensive to implement a pirate streaming site. They also agreed that the risks of pirates being caught are low.

Whose problem is it?

According to FIFA’s Eva Norroy, piracy is everyone’s problem. When it comes to pay TV and free-to-air broadcasters. As long as they invest in acquiring rights, it’s their problem. Therefore, piracy is their biggest competitor.

Because sports rights are valuable, the economic impact of piracy against broadcasters and sports rights holders is very high. FIFA is motivated to invest in anti-piracy on behalf of broadcasters, to maintain the value of sports rights. Rights revenue also impacts the the amount of money invested in the game itself.

How should piracy use-cases be prioritized? Follow the money. While social media platforms are used to create demand for pirate services, the money is made by the sites that are promoted by social media; not by social media itself. Some social platforms are beginning to recognize and take responsibility for enabling promotion by pirates.

Identifying and deterring pirates

Interestingly, rather than having a regional strategy for anti-piracy, FIFA favors having an effective technology tool-set that can be brought to bear anywhere. That said, piracy use cases reflect consumer behavior, which differs from region to region. Also, the regulatory and law enforcement toolkits differ from country to country. But both perspectives are valid: pirates operate worldwide and a global tool-set should be adaptable to local and regional situations.

Who is responsible to drive enforcement?

In practice, FIFA sees itself as responsible for enforcing anti-piracy globally, and relies upon broadcasters to inform them about instances of piracy to help with the task. Together they approach national authorities, law enforcement and regulators to help fight piracy and protect rights.

FIFA suggests that you start by drawing a map of where the threats may exist, and to plan ahead.  FIFA even warns would-be pirates prior to matches, against stealing a match.

What makes anti-piracy successful?

Anti-piracy starts with a plan that can be informed by intelligence, to establish metrics and KPIs, and then to measure streams, the availability and sources of content, the types of devices expected, and to be able to identify unexpected behavior.

Video providers should not lose sight that the best deterrent against piracy is to “up their game.” To offer a good service, a good user experience and good value; to make it sufficiently compelling to motivate consumers to use legal services.

Effective anti-piracy efforts also rely on cooperation between content owners, rights holders, broadcasters, distributors, the technology industry and law enforcement. All of them share the responsibility to fight piracy, by sharing intelligence that helps them maintain their return on investment and should start by setting high and measurable standards for anti-piracy.

View a video of the session via the IBC Web site.  

Note: Thanks to Synamedia for supporting Piracy Monitor as a Gold Sponsor. This article reports an announcement made by Synamedia in September 2020.  It does not represent an endorsement by Piracy Monitor, nor is Piracy Monitor responsible for the accuracy of content contributed by third parties.

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