Advanced Television

Gulf anger over Premier League blackout

February 13, 2014

This past weekend subscribers to Dubai-based OSN lost coverage of the English Premier League as well as other premium football matches. Initially OSN blamed a “technical issue”.

But OSN is now firmly blaming supplier and rights holder Al Jazeera Sports (which now calls itself beIN Sports). Al Jazeera Media Network admits that it has changed its encryption system to help curb piracy.

In an interview with a Dubai radio station on February 12th, OSN’s CEO David Butorac placed the blame for the debacle squarely at the door of beIN Sports. “BeIN Sports are in the process of doing the swap of their systems to upgrade them to be more secure, and in so doing they have literally switched off hundreds of thousands of customers. Unfortunately, on Friday, these changes were done completely out of the blue and the end result was that those who have paid a subscription are no longer able to receive the signal they paid for.”

Butorac told listeners that OSN had invested $60 million in 2009 to supply new set-top boxes (also capable of handling NDS’s ‘Videoguard’ encryption). “There is a right way and wrong way to do this. We paid the price [and] we gave customers a new box in 2009. They are doing it the wrong way by switching the customer off and expecting customers to buy a new box.”

OSN customers who want to view the EPL and other top-level football leagues, must now buy an approved beIN Sports receiver, and new ‘smart’ card. Approved receivers are Humax models HD-Free and IR3000HD.

Coincidentally, OSN is no longer listed as a ‘partner’ to beIN Sports.

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