In 2018 Irdeto joined over 600 leading professionals watching over 90 influential speakers on stage at the SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid in November where the issues the live sports industry is facing were made clear.

Centered around two key themes, Technology and Strategy, the 2 days saw fully booked sessions around the summit. The big players in the industry such as NBC Sports Group, Sky and Fox Sports attend giving insights into viewer experiences by streaming live HD and UHD video content and how to provide OTT and end-to-end multi-platform services at scale, which drew in a full house. The available content and global reach are extensive, and continually growing.

Social media is changing the game. The way fans consume, and experience sports is rapidly evolving and their expectation for flexible viewing options requires broadcasters, rights holders and brands to create more content and viewing options than ever before. Driving much of this demand is the rise of mobile and social video and more recently live-streaming is also at the heart of this growth, for example Facebook added live video and Twitter acquired the live streaming app – Periscope who are aggressively stepping up their pursuit of live and on-demand sports rights as a way of building up these new features.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are revolutionizing sports video production and distribution. There was a strong focus on how technology is changing sports coverage for global reach and how AI and machine learning is now being used in sports video production and digital distribution.

Live sports broadcasts attract a lot of viewers and big advertising dollars, making them a primary target for pirate services.

The dark side of live sports was particularly visible at this year’s summit, with 3 panel sessions focusing on the growing threat of online piracy that pay media operators and content rights holders are facing. With the illegal supply of premium content, especially live events such as football, on the rise companies are facing more challenges than ever as they manage new technology implementations, combat piracy and address consumer demand for high quality, multiscreen experiences.

It’s clear that rights holders, operators and distributors alike need to work together to protect its value.

To highlight the importance of Industry and Law Enforcement collaboration, Irdeto was joined onstage by Cameron Andrews, Senior Legal Counsel, Anti Piracy, beIN Sport, Emilio Fernandez, Head of Piracy, Laliga and Marlene Álvarez Vicente, Inspectora, Spanish Policia Nacional who each provided unique anti-piracy perspectives and case studies.

This global threat does not discriminate: affecting operators, studios or sports rights owners. Tackling piracy is a battle that needs to be fought not only with robust content protection and cybersecurity services but with teamwork and collaboration across Industry, Government and Law Enforcement.

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