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BBC, Sky call for action over beoutQ

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC and pay-television broadcaster Sky have urged the European Commission to take formal action against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over pirate channel beoutQ.

The channel, which is allegedly supported by Saudi Arabia and Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat, has attracted a string of complaints from governing bodies and broadcasters in recent months for its illegal distribution of properties such as football’s English Premier League and the Fifa World Cup.

BeoutQ’s reach has spread overseas with set-top boxes now available internationally, and Sky, which operates in seven European countries, and the BBC have called for stronger action to be taken.

According to UK newspaper The Guardian, Sky’s letter to Anna Malmström, the European Commissioner for Trade, highlighted “threats posed to European broadcasters and rights owners by a relatively new, but rapidly growing, source of audiovisual piracy, namely the beoutQ service”.

It added: “(Sky) understands that (the directorate general of trade) is planning imminently to launch a démarche towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia authorities regarding the issue. The purpose of this letter is to confirm Sky’s full support for that démarche.”

A letter from the BBC added that the availability of its channels and content via beoutQ would “adversely impact” its ability to license these channels to partners throughout Europe.

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