As pirates get smarter, creating disruption remains key for broadcasters

Vijaya Cherian, Editorial Director, BroadcastPro ME.

We do not live in a world of traditional TV viewing anymore nor cater to consumers who will lap up any content we send their way. It’s not enough to know this and talk about it extensively. It is really critical that our business models and strategies evolve to live this change if we are to make any dent at all in piracy.

BroadcastPro ME just concluded the second edition of the MENA Anti-Piracy Conference and in response to feedback from delegates, we brought a raft of new voices and perspectives to the panel discussions. While the odd sceptic may complain that they have heard it all before, the truth is that most others haven’t and if we are still stuck at square one, perhaps it’s important to hear some of it again and again until we set the wheels of change in motion.

One of the key points that came out of that discussion was that pirates are not just smart and continuously evolving, they actually seem to have a much better understanding of viewer needs than traditional players. As a result, they have packaged their products better with greater SEO ranking and discoverability on search engines. They are user-friendly and affordable, and consumers like to view their entertainment on those terms. What pirates can’t seem to guarantee is a reliable service. This is what legitimate services should pick on and in addition to offering packages at similar prices with flexible payment options, they should be able to ensure a consistent and reliable service.

While it’s very tempting to dwell more on the discussions from the broadcasters, the tech experts and the lawyers while it’s still fresh in my mind, I shall leave it for the June issue, which will cover the Anti-Piracy conference in more detail.

I’m sure all of you have already seen a great deal of press around new launches and acquisitions announced at NAB so I won’t discuss that in further detail.

As we go to press, however, I have just discovered that Abu Dhabi Media is getting ready to launch its first virtual news anchor. With every new technological innovation, a number of jobs in the newsroom seem to be taking a hit. Will news anchors be the next or will humans now evolve differently to differentiate ourselves from the unique capabilities of AI?