The Anti Piracy conference in Dubai, hosted by Satellite Pro ME and Broadcast Pro ME, showcased a panel of media experts who assessed the dangers that piracy poses on content owners in the region.
“Pirates are packaging content, offering content on their platforms that the industry isn’t making as good as they are, and so that their ranking in Google searches is higher and appears better and more frequently to consumers,” said Ahmed Abbas, chief executive officer of DigiSay, a digital media agency based in Egypt.
Pirates will always have the upper hand because “they don’t have to worry about acquisition costs”, “territorial rights” or “legalities” of content, said Abbas. “I think piracy is an issue that will not stop. As long as there’s good content and there’s an opportunity, there will be pirates.”
Territory Head of Zee Network, an Indian mass media company, and one of the conference’s panelists, said piracy can even lead to tragedies.
The impact of piracy has been felt for over 10 years, said Matthew, who still recalls with sorrow the tragic murder of his boss at the hands of cable mafia/pirates.
The panelists said that one way to fight piracy in the Middle East and North Africa was to reduce the pricing of content subscription fees, so that people wouldn’t have to resort to free, pirated content. “How we win is by offering better pricing and better experiences.” says Farah Ramadan, Digital Planning Manager at MBC Group.
The MENA region is the fastest growing TV market, making it a content hotspot for pirates. Despite the prevalence of piracy in the region, the U.A.E. is currently listed within the best 20 countries in the world, and the best in the Middle East, in anti-piracy rating, according to a study conducted by the Business Software Alliance.