The BBC and Sky have called on the European commission to take action against BeoutQ, the Saudi Arabian streaming service they say provides UK viewers with illegal access to pay-TV content including Premier League football.
BeoutQ STBs are available internationally, including the UK. The service has had a surge in popularity after making global headlines for pirate broadcasting the entire World Cup.
The BBC and Sky have sent letters to Anna Malmström, the European commissioner for trade, outlining their concerns and backing a formal EU protest, or démarche, to the Saudi government about BeoutQ.
Sky’s letter, reported by The Guardian, highlights “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.”
The BBC’s letter, which also backs EU action, meanwhile, highlights the damage that making its content and channels available via the pirate service will do to its finances.
beIN Media launched a $1 billion lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, and the Premier League and Fifa have appointed legal counsel in the kingdom to try to prevent the theft of its intellectual property rights. The Saudi Ministry of Media did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.