Joseph Hundah, managing director, MultiChoice Nigeria has frowned on piracy of broadcast content, which he identifies as one of the greatest challenges for pay-TV operators in Nigeria.
He told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that pirates sign up a decoder as an individual user and distribute to other people at little or no cost. “This is a form of piracy that people are not very much aware of.”
“In some cases however, you find that people do not know that they are pirating. For example, you walk into a shop that sells DVD players and the shopkeeper tells you to buy a particular decoder, which would enable you receive the Premier League. If you do not understand the laws around piracy, you would think it is okay.”
“People need to be informed so as to stay out of trouble. They should not buy decoders that are not from licensed pay-TV operators,” he warned.
“What I have noticed in some hotels in the country is that the pay-TV services there are not even licensed in Nigeria. You find Arabic channels, some relaying EPL – not just pirating MultiChoice’s and HiTV’s rights, but those of the operators around northern Africa. That is illegal!”
Hundah said they were collaborating with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to put a stop to piracy as it does nobody any good.
Besides, he said that MultiChoice was not in any agreement with any cable TV operator in Nigeria at the moment, to transmit CNN and a score of other channels. “If we must do that with the cable operators, they must get their encryption right because they are not properly encrypted. If we give some of our contents to them, people are going to start pirating those channels. Once those channels are pirated, we have a big issue.”
“The problem with the cable operators is that often they want popular channels but they want to pay nothing for it. It must to be an open market arrangement whereby if I see a particular channel is what so much, I must be prepared to pay what it is worth. So, it is an ongoing debate as to what channels should be shared and under what terms that should be done. That is where we are at loggerheads with the cable operators,” he stated.
The MultiChoice Nigeria helmsman added that the DStv network is very well encrypted and as a result, pirates cannot hack into it to steal signals.