Television Signal piracy is a real shortfall for the audiovisual industry nowadays. During the African Nations Championship held in Cameroon in January-February 2021, opportunity was given to the African Union of Broadcasting to (re) take stock of satellite and online piracy, during broadcast time. Out of 32 games delivered in 21 days, several were screened illegally.
As the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) approaches with leaps and bounds, stakeholders involved in the exploitation of broadcasting rights are committed to tackling audiovisual piracy during encounters.
On October 15, 2021, the issue was at the center of discussions between the delegation of the Canal + Group and Officials of the African Union of Broadcasting, in Dakar.
Grégoire Ndjaka, AUB’s Chief Executive Officer, expressed his concern on the legal measures taken saying: “Our permanent concern is the protection of TV signal. The fight ought to be carried at all levels. Are you allowed to screen the match? If yes, there is no problem. Secure your signal. But if you don’t have a broadcast contract, should you be allowed to operate illegally while others are paying? That’s the problem!”.
On a technical standpoint, Alexandre Gruner, Director of Channel Relations and Partnerships at Canal , reassured both parties of the technical prowess of the Canal Group: “If we have compelling evidence and take note of any illegal activity on Canal+ bouquet concerning AFCON or the FWC, be rest assured, we will suspend your signal!”.
On the other hand, Sebastien Punturello, Managing Director of Canal+ Senegal, acknowledged the difficulties on the ground: “I spend at least 20-30% of my time fighting signal piracy. For several years, we have actively led the battle thanks to the support of local authorities, our relations, various ministries (Culture, Communication, and Justice) as well as the National Audiovisual Regulatory Council – CNRA Senegal”.
Whether encrypted or not, TV signal piracy is a threat to intellectual property rights. A football competition which is not bought ultimately and ends up being squandered on the piracy market is a threat to the development of the audiovisual industry.