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NAGRA Blog: 3 things the pay-TV industry must do to tackle sports content piracy

By Simon Trudelle, Senior Director Product Marketing​

We know that the threat of content piracy has evolved significantly over the last few years.

IPTV services and Kodi add-ons installed on retail set-top boxes have completely altered the landscape – it’s estimated that there are 38 million Kodi users worldwide, with more viewers connecting every month. This, coupled with the rise of illegal web streaming, has started to contribute to a slow-down in pay-TV revenue growth worldwide.

As the piracy ecosystem continues to evolve, and the threat increases for live sports content, there’s one question stakeholders are asking all around the world: “What can we do to combat it?”

The truth is, the situation isn’t as hopeless as some may think. But the pay-TV industry must first act on three fronts if it wants to topple piracy in sports content.

First, we’re entering a new era of innovation for pay-TV operators. At the recent Pay-TV Innovation Forum, an overwhelming 76 percent of pay-TV operators indicated that innovation must be a top priority to grow. Creating innovative solutions, and investing in product and service portfolios that enable viewers to find the content they love and keep them engaged, are now vital for providers if they want to keep up with the shifting landscape.

Second, illicit IPTV services and Kodi add-ons aren’t the low-rent pirated offerings of years gone by – today, they can offer a quality viewing experience at low cost. The pay-TV industry therefore must continue to make access to content and the user experience even better.

And third, consumers today want streamable, multiscreen sports content – sports leagues and the likes of Twitter and Facebook have started to offer it, it’s time the pay-TV industry did more of it, too.

Obviously, these aren’t the only actions they must take. Fighting piracy takes time, ingenuity, determination – and the right tools. Organisations like NAGRA are helping to turn the tide in this regard. Our anti-piracy solutions played an essential role in helping Times Content Limited (TCL) receive a permanent injunction against websites illegally streaming IPL cricket games in the United States.

And when it comes to innovative solutions to piracy, a great recent example is NAGRA’s work with Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL). Focusing on IPTV piracy, DFL and NAGRA have collaborated to tackle pirated live sports content – a challenge that needs fast action given it is only valuable while it’s live.

Ultimately, the key to tackling this new sports piracy ecosystem requires the rights owners and distributors to forge a closer partnership with the TV and video ecosystem at the regional and international level, working with experienced anti-piracy vendors. It is also about communicating key messages effectively to consumers about the impact that illegal streaming, IPTV services and Kodi add-ons have on the future of high-quality sports content. When coupled with investing in providing a great legitimate service, it creates a key parallel move to help secure the business model of the content industry in a more connected world.

If you wish to read more about the services we can offer to help you in your fight against illegal content sharing, please contact us at dtv@nagra.com.​