Piracy is badly affecting Latino pay-TV
October 15, 2012
By Chris Forrester
Signal and smart card piracy is badly affecting Latin American broadcasting, says a study from Dataxis. According to their report, there are some 11.4 million illegal pay-TV users, or a huge 27.4 per cent of the total in seven key markets that were analysed.
The total market (legal and illegal) amounts to some 53.2 million households at the end of last year, representing 32 per cent penetration, and some 9 per cent higher than that recognised by legitimate subscriber registrations.
The seven countries covered (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela), suffered different categories in the definition of piracy. Legal Pay TV subscribers’ under-reporting., that is where the pay-TV operator understates the true number of viewing homes and is employed to avoid payment of payments of fees related to the amount of subscribers they have. Piracy over analog cable systems can be done through the theft of a signal or the withdrawal of the filter directly from the distribution post. With cable’s digitalization, new modalities appeared. “On the one hand we can find the tampering of STBs and on the other, what is known as ‘Neighbor Plan’ -when a subscriber acquires a service, distributes it to other homes and divides the cost. There is also card-sharing, in which independent receptors obtain simultaneous access to a Pay TV network by decoding CAS’ keys from a certain operator.
The most popular form of piracy is Internet Key Sharing (IKS), similar to card-sharing but prepared to support a large number of illegal subscriptions at the same time. The logic in this system is to decode the CAS from certain DTH operators. In fact, the ‘pirate STBs switch off’ process which started on October 1st in Chile, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia, is specifically designed to thwart this practice.
At the end of 2011 there were 4.78 million homes with illegal DTH reception. This number was the equivalent to 27 per cent of the total amount of legal DTH subscribers. Dataxis points out that the IKS method has accumulated 2 million homes. The amount of homes with an illegal DTH reception was relatively even in the region; among 20 per cent and 25 per cent. Brazil and Chile exhibit higher rates, but we have to take into account that both countries were the first ones where an important development of the IKS method was detected.