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Could This Be the World's Biggest State-Sponsored Piracy Operation?

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Could This Be the World's Biggest State-Sponsored Piracy Operation?

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:39 pm

Story :

Salem al-Dawsari’s low corner strike, scored deep into injury time, may not have been enough to usher Saudi Arabia into the second round, but it did help banish memories of the country’s humiliating 5-0 drubbing at the hands of hosts Russia on the tournament's opening night 11 days earlier. It also ensured they ended the World Cup one place above their neighbors across the Red Sea who, despite the presence of talismanic striker Mohamed Salah, returned home with heads bowed and zero points.

By all rights, however, nobody within Saudi Arabia should actually have been able to watch the match.

Most screens — from the projectors temporarily erected in the shisha cafes on Jeddah’s corniche to the TVs in Saudi Arabian Airlines' business class lounge in Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport — were showing broadcasts brazenly stolen from Qatar’s beIN network and aired by a pirate broadcaster called beoutQ, which had come into existence less than a year earlier.

Far from being the usual amateur piracy outfit, beoutQ is — experts assert — almost as sophisticated as a legitimate broadcaster, involving satellites and set-top boxes and with estimated annual running costs of several million dollars. It’s also an operation that threatens not just the TV sports business across the Middle East, but, according to many in the industry, the region’s entire entertainment ecosystem.

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