• FIFA warns of growing sophistication of pirate TV operations
  • The footballing body was speaking as part of Synamedia panel on piracy
  • Sports TV providers need to continue “upping their game” to tackle IP theft

Sports TV outfits need to up their game as video pirating grows in sophistication and becomes smarter at adopting to the latest consumer trends, executives from FIFA and Synamedia have warned.

Synamedia pirates

Synamedia pirates

In Tuesday’s IBC Showcase Session Outsmarting the Pirates Synamedia’s security expert Yael Fainaro said the best method for combating pirates was to view them as competitors.

“It’s the most effective way I’ve seen Pay TV clients fight back to ensure people use legitimate services over pirated ones,” she added.

To this end, one of the measures Synamedia has taken is to provide business intelligence on the pirates’ latest modus operandi, so that OTT operators can fight back by offering their best service.

Fellow speaker Eva Norroy, FIFA’s broadcaster servicing manager, noted that Pay TV companies were already broadening their offerings and ‘upping their game’.

Both execs admitted that pirates were growing in sophistication and prevalence as new technologies and platforms decrease the barrier to entry.

A recent Ampere Analysis study found that only sixteen per cent of those surveyed claimed that they’d never watched illegal pirated sports.

Fainaro added that there were over 20m active subscribers to illegal pirate sites in Europe - a 25 per cent increase over the last 18 months.

Her advice was for companies to have an “all encompassing strategy” that needed to be regularly revised.

For many rights owners, anti-piracy measures are becoming a contractual requirement and Norroy adds that football’s governing body expects broadcasters to “do their upmost to protect themselves and ensure their feeds aren’t being circumnavigated.”

Historically, Norroy said that FIFA’s PayTV clients have made heavy investments in the fight against piracy, although many tend to leave one plank of anti-piracy strategy – educating end users about illegal content– to the rights holders or public bodies.

While social media streams are a low barrier to entry for pirates, both FIFA and Synamedia agreed that it was not as big a threat to the industry’s revenue streams as browser-based or IPTV-based piracy.

“Consumers with the potential for conversion won’t settle for the poor quality that exists on social networks, but it has been used as an important marketing tool for illegally streamed pay-per-view events,” Fainaro noted.

Norroy said that measuring the success of anti-piracy measures could be a thankless task. “When the amount of piracy is lower you start to worry about whether your detection mechanisms are working…but if the rate of detected cases is high, then that’s also no reason to celebrate.”

Fainaro added that Synamedia was making strides in this area and was introducing tools to measure the effectiveness of anti piracy measures on its platform that would enable service providers to trigger certain actions.

She added that Synamedia’s platform can currently identify and measure the number of non-paying members of an OTT service, for instance, producing data on where they were coming from, which devices they used and how many were casuals sharers etc.

“The industry has been operating on a ‘best effort’ basis but now we’re coming at it from a different approach: You build the intelligence and an action plan, relevant to you, that allows you to make an impact and get a clear ROI on that,” she said.

Synamedia’s panel Outsmarting the Pirates is now availabe on demand