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Pay TV, entertainment industry risk survival over piracy – MultiChoice CEO
Weak support for intellectual copyright, lack of appropriate punishment and low level of awareness on the issue of property right have over the years been a bed bug on the life of entertainment industry. Apart from pirating films, which experts say cost Nigeria over N32.5 billion annually, perpetrators of copy rights abuses have gone a step further to tap into pay TV for free viewing.
Assessing this development, Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice Africa, operator of DStv channels, warns that the pay TV and the entire entertainment industry risk long-time survival over threat by piracy.
Describing piracy as a big concern and a threat, Meyer, who addressed African journalists in Mauritius at the MultiChoice content show, says the industry is content production industry and therefore needs to be protected, but if piracy is not checked, the industry will die.
“If everything is for free, then the artists will get nothing in return for their incredible talents. We are a company in forefront of combating piracy. We will continue to roll out new technologies to identify piracy. In many instances, the internet or other mobile network to link decoders but we have deployed various devices to make sure that does not continue.”
The organisation sent teams to work with legal operators on the issue of cable piracy or we simply terminate the cable piracy in areas where they exist, he says.
Meyer, who says the company has invested about $55 billion over the period on content acquisition and technology, says combating piracy is an ongoing battle for MultiChoice and “we are working with local governments in terms of policies around the crime to ensure we protect the industry, because as piracy proliferate it will simply kill the entertainment industry.”
On whether MultiChoice could share the European Premier League (EPL) right with any competitor in Nigeria, he says the right is dictated by property owners and they make it available on certain rules, and “when we bid for the right it was exclusive.”
Due to too many would-be interested bidders for the right, the price jumps to the skies, Meyer says, noting that it is the nature of some of the rights “and we have seen this over the last five years that the price has completely escalated and our approach is that if the rights come up again, we will simply enter into a bidding process again to secure it. But it is unfortunate that the price of these rights have continued to increase.”
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