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BeIN Black Flags Formula One for Not Protecting Broadcasters from Piracy

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As widely reported, BeIN Sports has opted out of the bidding for the Formula One television rights in the Middle East region. The main reason for their decision was that BeIN’s expensive content was being pirated by beoutQ and that Formula One wasn’t doing enough to stop it.

“A rightsholder stance on beoutQ’s piracy – in other words whether they’re taking legal action, making a public stand, and doing everything within their power to combat the industrial-scale theft of their rights – is a critical factor that we’re now considering when bidding,” said BeIN MENA managing director Tom Keaveny in a statement.

A new 5 year deal, at an estimated $30-$40 million per year, was on the table, but the continued piracy by beoutQ made F1 unaffordable. Interesting to note is Keaveny’s assertion that “BeIN would pay less for rights that cannot be protected.”

The notion that broadcasters will pay less for rights that cannot be protected, should ring alarm bells with all sports leagues, TV and movie studios, and other media rightsholders around the world as it’s something that we been saying for years, and BeIN’s position is tangible proof that it’s happening.

In a previous blog post, we asked the question “Does Content Have Value If You Don’t Protect It?” BeIN succinctly answered this question with a firm No.

Also interesting is BeIN’s position that rightsholders should be doing “everything in their power” to stop piracy. And we agree.

Whether it’s the wholesale theft of content as in the case with BeoutQ or clamping down on content being geo-pirated and leaked by the widespread use of VPNs and DNS Proxies, it’s up to the rightsholders themselves to ensure they are doing everything in their power to protect their content from piracy and subsequently, also protect the value of their content for broadcasters.

The piracy situation may be hitting a tipping point, as Keavey says in his statement, calling it an “existential threat to the economic model of the sports and entertainment industry.”

If you’re a sports league, Hollywood studio, or premium OTT provider with high value content that needs to be protected from geo-piracy and geolocation-fraud via VPNs and DNS Proxies, we’re here to help. Content piracy takes many forms, but geo-piracy and geolocation fraud is one that can be easily solved.