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BT tackles piracy with Ateme link-up

Sadio Mane takes the ball past Dean Henderson and goes on to score his side's second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Sheffield United (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

UK telecoms operator BT has moved to combat the illegal piracy of its premium subscription-based content by teaming up with video infrastructure company Ateme.

The company’s sophisticated encryption techniques will be used to protect satellite-uplinked content in a secure manner. Ateme’s technology will be offered to media and broadcast customers around the world to clamp down on the number of illegal streams.

Rights held by pay-television operation BT Sport include football’s English Premier League, FA Cup, Uefa Champions League and the Community Shield.

BT recently secured the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference rights from 2021-22 to 2023-24 in a deal worth £400m (€471m/$522.7m) per year.

BT becomes the first UK company to provide the industry with Ateme’s encoder, which uses  “Basic Interoperable Scrambling System Conditional Access” encryption.

The encoder was first used during the Community Shield match between Liverpool and Manchester City in August and has since been used to protect each of BT Sport’s live Premier League broadcasts.

The encoder will allow BT’s media and broadcast unit to deliver high-quality video at minimum bitrates with minimum latency, which keeps broadcasts secure. The encoder can determine the origin of an illegal stream and watermark content, while media-rights holders can also grant and revoke receiving rights in real time to secure broadcasts from the source to its end destination.

Dominik Wrona, head of TV outside broadcast for BT, said: “By incorporating Ateme’s encoder in to our satellite solutions we’re able to provide customers with the greatest efficiency and security while also maintaining the highest video quality standards for content in the UK.”