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The Battle Against beoutQ

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:49 pm

Story : https://worldscreen.com/the-battle-against-beoutq/





Since it first popped up in the Middle East in 2017, beoutQ has emerged as one of the most prolific, extensive piracy platforms in the world today. For an annual subscription price of about $100 (varying by market and often cheaper), the beoutQ box offers up, over a mix of satellite and live streaming, virtually every major channel across the globe—broadcast, basic cable and premium—live sports events, 10,000-plus on-demand movies and more than 35,000 TV episodes. The content rights holders certainly aren’t being compensated; indeed, beIN Media Group labels it as “industrial-scale theft of world sports and entertainment.” beIN Media Group was beoutQ’s first target, but the Qatar-based company is sending a message to the global media economy that it’s not the only one being affected—and that it can’t fight the battle on its own.

“There are two big misconceptions,” says Keaveny. “One is that it’s a Middle Eastern problem; it’s not. The IPTV element to the box is everywhere and has every single channel you can think of, sports and entertainment. And the second misconception is that it’s political, Saudis against Qatar. It had its roots in that dispute but is now affecting rights holders across the world. It’s pure and simple commercial theft of content. So when anyone says to us now, from a rights holders perspective, Oh we don’t want to get involved in politics. We say to them, that’s not acceptable, this is theft.”

The beoutQ story began in the months following the blockade against Qatar by a group of Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia. Once the embargo started, viewers in Saudi Arabia no longer had access to beIN Media’s channels, with the broadcaster kicked out of the country overnight. At the same time, news emerged that Saudi Arabia was launching a new sports service, PBS Sports. That platform never came to fruition. “What did materialize was beoutQ, basically a hybrid, in logo form, of beIN and PBS Sports,” Keaveny says. “beoutQ was launched as a streaming website and quickly morphed into an encrypted, ten-channel, satellite pirate TV operation. Those ten channels were taking the live feeds of beIN and other broadcasters. There’s a seven-second delay. In those seven seconds, beoutQ’s logo is imprinted on top of ours in the top right-hand corner. Occasionally their own commentary is inserted. They have their own advertising breaks. They sell that space. If we make an announcement about beoutQ during intervals, they’ll cut to something else. Every major sports event for the past two years has been stolen—from the Super Bowl to NBA games to FIFA, UEFA, every single game of the World Cup, the Asian Cup, Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, Formula 1. Every sport you can think of has been distributed on the ten live encrypted channels, which in turn are distributed over Arabsat, a regional Saudi-headquartered and owned satellite provider.” For its part, Arabsat has publicly denied that its frequencies are being used by beoutQ, despite, beIN says, “beoutQ openly advertising on its Facebook and other social channels the specific Arabsat frequencies to receive its service.”

Soon, beoutQ was selling its own branded set-top boxes featuring the ten pirated channels plus what Keaveny describes as a “bespoke app store” that serves as a gateway to the global content landscape. “You can access everything from HBO to FOX, every entertainment channel you can think of, Netflix, all the sports channels, the latest blockbuster films, almost the day they are in the cinemas.” The boxes are available across the Middle East and North Africa, but, Keaveny notes, they are spreading further afield. “These boxes are appearing in Florida, in Geneva, in London, any major city—it’s a contagion.”







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