Split Card For Showtime Vs. Hackers

It appears the restraining order Showtime obtained earlier this month from a federal court against websites that had advertised they would make the pay-per-view Mayweather-McGregor bout available for free was effective. Legitimate video distributors charged $100 to buy the event in HD. But the far more widespread theft of Saturday night’s boxing match took place through the use of a software program and “add-on” apps that consumers worldwide are now using steal programming, channelsFlo and content of all kinds.

(Satellite Business News) — Showtime Networks won a few rounds and lost a few rounds Saturday night in its effort to stop its massively hyped pay-per-view event from be stolen and watched for free.

On the winning end, it appears the restraining order the company obtained earlier this month from a federal court against websites that had advertised they would make the pay-per-view program available for free was effective. Legitimate video distributors charged $100 to buy the event in high-definition.

As reported, Showtime asked that 44 websites that had claimed they would be displaying the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor battle for free be blocked from showing the event. As the fight was taking place, Satellite Business News attempted to log on to the first 14 of the websites Showtime had obtained injunctions against.

In some instances, the owners of those websites, Showtime had indicated, were in Dhaka, Bangladesh. But each of the websites that were checked were offline, and displayed the message: “This site can’t be reached … [Internet] address could not be found.”

There were reports on the Internet of other websites that claimed to be showing the event for free, but that could not be independently confirmed. In addition, there were widespread accounts of people who put the program live on the Internet using services which allow users to stream audio and video in real time — usually employing their cellphone’s camera and microphone.

But the far more widespread theft of Saturday night’s pay-per-view event took place through the use of a software program and “add-on” apps that consumers worldwide are now using steal programming, channels, and content of all kinds.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Satellite Business News has published a series of stories on the software and “add-ons,” but it is the policy of this publication not to mention the name of the program or any of the “add-on” apps. In the hours leading up to the fight, more than a dozen of the purveyors of “add-ons” hawked their wares on the Google owned “You Tube” website, posting videos of how their “add-ons” worked and how those who already had the software in place could install the apps to steal the fight.

Some of the better known “add-ons” that specialize in sports programming seemed to be ready for Saturday night’s per-per-view event. Several of them listed dozens of versions of the pay-per-view event, in various languages. The Showtime pay-per-view presentation was being shown though at least 10 “add-ons’ that could be found in the limited time.

The other version that appeared popular was produced by Britain’s Sky TV, which markets its sport pay-per-view events under the “Sky Sports HD box office” brand. Another widely used feed seen through this method was produced by France’s Canal-Plus channel. At points during the main event, the traffic on some of the “add-ons” apps appeared to be so heavy that intermittent buffering occurred.

As reported, the use of the software program and “add-on” apps has grown exponentially in the last two years. Users can buy inexpensive standalone streaming devices, some costing as little as $35 on the Internet.

One of the biggest sellers of the standalone streaming units is Amazon. Users who do not want to buy a standalone unit can also download the software and the “add-ons” to mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

This past spring, a European court ruled the sale of the standalone devices that are sold with the software and “add-ons” pre-installed was essentially illegal. That lead to an escalation of the efforts in Europe, especially in Great Britain, to crack down on the use of the units to steal programming. But that campaign seems to have waned in recent weeks.

And only one company—Dish Network—has tried to thwart the spread of the devices and software in the U.S. by filing a lawsuit in federal court in Houston. That suit, which is attempting to identify the developers of the software and units in Europe, is still in its earliest stage.

Satellite Business News is a leader in coverage of satellite TV and related fields. Its FaxUPDATE is published three times a week. To subscribe, email [email protected].


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