BeIN Sports returns to Du screens, Oman takes action against beoutQ

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports has resumed carriage via UAE telco Du ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, while Oman has taken action to block beoutQ, a pirate channel that has been broadcasting beIN content.

BeIN Sports channels had disappeared from the screens of Du customers on Saturday, with the telco stating that this was due to action taken by beIN’s parent company, beIN Media Group.

The ArabianBusiness.com website said that on Sunday, beIN had stated “lengthy” talks had broken down and their programmes would not be carried on Du – including matches from the upcoming national team football showpiece.

The UAE was one of the countries that ended diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar, where beIN is headquartered, in June 2017, accusing it of sponsoring hardline Islamist groups. This initially led to beIN channels being blocked in the UAE, only to return to air the following month.

In a statement on Monday, Du said beIN Sports channels had resumed “regular broadcasting” while announcing the launch of four exclusive beIN channels for the World Cup.

The statement added that Du and beIN had reached an agreement to offer Du customers the 64 matches live across four exclusive beIN Sports channels. Customers who wish to subscribe for this exclusive standalone package for the duration of the World Cup can do so at a cost of AED551 (€125/$150).

Meanwhile, Oman has banned the import of decoders that would allow viewers to watch beoutQ. The AFP news agency, citing sources in Oman, said BeIN has sent requests to several countries asking them to ban beoutQ decoders.

“The import of these decoders, called beoutQ, was banned because they violate the law on intellectual property,” an Omani official said on condition of anonymity.

BeIN last week stepped up its campaign to eradicate piracy of its sports broadcasts by making a request for world football’s governing body Fifa to take legal action against Saudi-headquartered communications satellite operator Arabsat.

BeIN has been fighting a long-running battle against what it claims is Saudi-backed piracy of its content, and has made its latest request ahead of the World Cup, for which it holds exclusive rights across the Middle East and North Africa region.

BeIN has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to shut down beoutQ in the country. BeIN claims that beoutQ is showing the broadcaster’s “propriety media content.”

BeIN said that since last October, beoutQ has been using a signal from Riyadh-based Arabsat to illegally transmit its broadcasts. It added that Illegal transmissions from beoutQ had appeared in Morocco, Jordan and Syria, and it was likely they would soon reach Asia and southern Europe.