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BeIN’s Briceño: Sports industry may need Spotify model to solve piracy

Photo credit: Sportel

The sports media-rights industry may need to move to a Spotify model to solve the problem of content piracy, according to Antonio Briceño, deputy managing director of pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports’ North America division.

Briceno (pictured, second from right) told delegates at the Sportel conference here in Miami: “It’s a very complicated achievement to get because we are so complex in this industry, but I think at some point we definitely need to have that conversation and find out a model where we all contribute and create something like that.”

He said that adopting such a model was complicated by market players’ self-interest, although the experience of the record industry suggested this obstacle was not necessarily insurmountable.

He continued: “In the music industry, I remember it was the same feudalism, and then all of a sudden they said: ‘unless we hold hands and we create…’ And they were able to extract value, a low value, but for many transactions, and make people again do something that they were doing in a legal way.”

Qatar-headquartered beIN has been particularly affected by piracy due to the activities in the Mena region of pirate broadcasting service beoutQ, which is alleged to be operating from Saudi Arabia.

The beoutQ service was launched in the wake of the Saudi-led economic blockade of Qatar which began in June 2017.

Major sports federations recently urged the US government to keep Saudi Arabia on its main list of countries that do not adequately protect intellectual property as a result of the widespread piracy of content in the region.

The federations, including the International Olympic Committee, Fifa, Uefa and a coalition of US sports bodies such as the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have written to the US Trade Representative ahead of its annual ‘special 301’ review of countries that fail to adequately protect IP.