Sportv Series Latin America debates strategies to fight against online sports piracy

‘Detect and fight online live sports piracy in Latin America’ ​​was another of the virtual panels that were part of the second edition of Sportv Series Latin America, held by Dataxis this last Tuesday, October 6th. The executives who participated in the discussion panel were Jose Platao Rocha, General Manager Latin America at DirecTV Sports; Gabriel Ricardo Hahmann, Sales Director Brazil & Southern Cone at Irdeto; Matias Rivera, CEO at Fanatiz; Guillermo Santa Cruz, VP Latin America, Mexico & US Hispanic at IMG Media; and Luis Santos, VP Engineering and Operations at Fox Sports Brazil.

In relation to the measures to be implemented to detect piracy in time and combat it operationally, Rocha said that piracy is a daily fight. ‘We work on the side of rights holders and leagues to help us detect “pirates,” he said. Furthermore, Santos added that ‘there is very high competition with pirates. Working with rights holders is key. Today, at the beginning of each match, we have the correct tools to start canceling links, but whenever we do, new ones are added. Today, it is a very strong fight. We are moving forward, looking at technologies and partners, but we need to see how to block these websites more quickly’, he reported.

‘Rights are global. We are not going to kill all the pirates during a broadcast. We have to do everything possible so that people who are watching it without paying, choose to do so’, said Rocha. Accordingly, Rivera stressed that there must always be a legal alternative. ‘As industry players, we owe it to the fans to make content available to them in a legal way, even if they are small audiences. We must bring a legal and good quality alternative, so that clients do not fall into piracy’, he said. ‘Music was the first victim of piracy in the US. The Government of the country arrested people and iTunes emerged, which allowed them to consume music in a better way. In the sports market, the problem is more difficult. We must find a way from the legal and criminal ways to exercise the laws that are available’, said Santa Cruz.

Regarding how to block ‘pirate’ streamers, Hahmann argued that there are different ways. ‘We always try to do an investigation into the links that make the redistribution, and there were times where the original platform had a security problem and allowed subscribers to do pirate streaming’. The executive also quoted the problem of credential sharing.

‘Watermarking is an expensive technology for certain leagues. We cannot work on a single solution. We have to give people the option to see something legal’, said Rocha. ‘The more content is available on legal platforms, the more effective it will be. The solution is to allow access to news and highlights, which create more interest in the content and generate subscriptions to platforms. Users think that there are no victims here, without thinking about the damage caused by piracy’, Santa Cruz added.

The executive also indicated the lack of organization and coordination from the industry, as well as the lack of a worldwide unit to fight against piracy, as the main problems to be solved. ‘We must come to terms with sports rights holders. We are a large part of the piracy target. In all of our discussions with holders, we try to agree that they will work with us against piracy. Without them, we cannot fight against it’, added Rocha.

Santos emphasized the need for awareness campaigns to show that there are companies that lose and viewers that lose quality content. ‘There are clients who are not aware that certain services are illegal. There is a lot of work to do. They are criminal organizations that generate a lot of income. It takes education, enforcement and being alienated as an industry to implement the fight against piracy and block the websites’, said Rivera. There is much to learn from what the music, movies and series industry has had to experience. We saw how those industries were reinvented, and today it is our turn. We must find a way to provide value initiatives and innovative business models. If we deliver a good service to final consumers, it is the best way to face this challenge’, added the executive.

‘We have to start with a solution that is already prepared for this type of problem. For traditional TV it is more difficult to implement it, but for OTTs today it is the simplest stage to combat it’, concluded Hahmann