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Not backing down: BeIN CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly on the uncomfortable truth of sports broadcast piracy

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Not backing down: BeIN CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly on the uncomfortable truth of sports broadcast piracy

Postby MrFredPFL » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:13 pm

Story :

“If we look at the things we have been doing in year one, we are truly global,” notes Al-Obaidly, who spearheaded BeIN’s international expansion in his previous guise as deputy chief executive. “We are not only a MENA business – a lot of people think we are sports and MENA in short, but there are a lot of things that we have been doing across the globe.”

It would be fair to say, though, that of the challenges to which Al-Obaidly refers, one has been quite unlike any other previously confronted by a broadcaster. Saudi Arabia-backed piracy operation BeoutQ - or “one of the biggest issues that has faced our sports and entertainment industry”, as Al-Obaidly describes it - has been an unwelcome distraction for BeIN for well over two years, a parasite the company has struggled to contain as it has slowly infected various strands of its business.

BeIN claimed in a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia in October 2018 that the theft of its content by BeoutQ had caused it US$1 billion in damages - a figure that will now amount to considerably more. A few months later, in June 2019, the company laid off a fifth of its workforce in Qatar, citing a downturn in revenues that could be traced back to the brazen bootlegging operation.

With BeoutQ chipping away at the very core of BeIN’s business, it is tempting to label Al-Obaidly’s job as one of the most testing, perhaps even intimidating, in sports broadcasting – not that it sounds like he was deterred when Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the company’s chairman, asked his compatriot to succeed him in the role.

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