Premier League the focus of Rambler, Setanta anti-piracy effort

Russian media and entertainment company Rambler Group has agreed a partnership with international sports broadcaster Setanta Sports designed to combat online piracy in Russia, Ukraine and the CIS countries, with the two parties saying the agreement will have a particular focus on the English Premier League.

Rambler acquired exclusive rights to the top division of English club football under a deal struck in April. The contract covers the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22, with matches broadcast via OTT platform Okko Sport.

Setanta holds rights to the Premier League in Ukraine, Moldova and Kazakhstan, launching in the former nation in August.

Through the Memorandum of Understanding, Rambler Group and Setanta Sports will monitor, block, and exchange information about pirate operations on the internet in Russia and the CIS. Owners of websites illegally broadcasting Premier League matches or providing other related content will be asked to delete this material. If they fail to fulfil this demand, the two companies will look to take legal action.

Mikhail Gershkovich, head of Rambler Group’s sports projects, said: “Statistics say that effective piracy fighting positively affects subscription sales. The coordination of our efforts will allow us to counter video piracy more effectively.

“Now we not only will be able to fight and block pirate broadcasters of the English Premier League in Russia, but also, where the primary source of the pirate signal is a Setanta Sports subscriber located in another country, we will be able, supported by our colleagues, to block such a subscriber’s access to the source of content.

“Setanta Sports, in their turn, will also inform us on identifying in their broadcasting territory illegal broadcasts, the source of which is an Okko Sport subscriber. We will use every opportunity established by law to fight piracy. Subject to the RF Criminal Code, offending persons may be subject to criminal liability of up to six years of detention and major financial penalties.”

Dwyer McCaughley, chief executive of Setanta Sports Eurasia, added: “Setanta Sports is a major international sports channel which has been broadcasting in the CIS since 2011. Our channels are currently available in 13 countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

“As of August 1 this year we have also commenced broadcasting in Ukraine. We look forward to working with Rambler and the sports rights bodies in tackling illegal piracy in our combined markets.”