Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business

Features

Broadcasters are World Cup losers owing to piracy trend in Africa

LibrevilleGabon, Jun 27 – Blaise has a beer in his hand, he’s in front of a TV screen showing the World Cup, and the smile on his face suggests life doesn’t get much better than this.

But Canal Plus may disagree – it owns the broadcasting rights in Gabon to the match being illegally shown in the bar in Libreville, the capital.

“I’ve got a Canal Plus box, but I got hooked up to BeIN Sports for the World Cup – it costs less!” says Blaise.

BeIN has no rights to broadcast World Cup matches in the western central African state.

But that is overlooked by a host of private firms, unconnected to the Qatar-based pay-TV group, which will happily link up punters to the BeIN feed in exchange for a sum.

Blaise shrugs off any legal or moral qualms about broadcasting piracy, a common phenomenon across Africa. “It’s their problem, not mine.”

AFP contacted BeIN, but it did not respond.

BeIN’s direct competitor, Canal Plus, says piracy costs it between 15 and 20 percent of its turnover, according to Mamadou Mbengue, the head of the channel in Gabon.

“Canal Plus has a virtual monopoly on sports broadcasting rights in all of French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, but some companies are committing industrial piracy. They get a free ride, while we paid for the rights,” he said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“It worries us because it impacts our business. There is a risk of the same thing happening which occurred in the Maghreb – in the long term, we have to pack our bags.”

The station pulled out of the Maghreb region years ago, with BeIN now the only authorised World Cup broadcaster in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.

‘Do something’ 
Bizarrely, Canal Plus is back in Algeria – but illegally so. Viewers are able to quite easily buy set-top boxes, which break through the channel’s encryption.

“It’s piracy,” says a hawker at a large market in Algiers. He said the devices are sold everywhere legally for between 100 and 150 euros ($115 and $175).

The practice is widespread across the region, particularly in the Moroccan city of Casablanca known as “the Mecca of pirated material”.

In four of the five African countries that made it through to the tournament – Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia – public television channels have bought the rights to broadcast the national team’s matches.

In Senegal, the National Council of Audiovisual Regulation threatened penalties against any illegal transmission of games, coming after a row between two broadcasters over the rights that ended with both being able to show matches.

“The costs of broadcasting rights for sports events are often too high for our organisations, this partly explains the piracy,” said Gregoire Ndjaka, director of the African Broadcasting Union.

He has received between 10 and 15 calls a day since the start of the World Cup: “They come from Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast… they all ask me to do something so that local actors respect the arrangements and stop hacking.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Beatrice Damiba, president of the Pan-African NGO Convergence, which fights against piracy, said it works to inform people that it’s theft.

“It’s not only football that is hacked, there is also music, cinema, and that concerns all of Africa,” she said.

Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Ask Kirubi

It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the whole world by surprise. Although its full impact is yet to be...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...