Piracy hampering growth of Pay Tv - player

Wednesday December 10 2014

A viewer scrolls through Pay TV channels. Some

A viewer scrolls through Pay TV channels. Some industry players say government needs to come in and deal with the problem of piracy. FILE PHOTO 

By EMMANUEL AINEBYOONA

KAMPALA

Piracy is hindering the growth of pay-television industry in the country, Multi-choice Uganda general manager Charles Hamya has revealed.
“We are having a challenge of piracy as an industry. There is lack of respect for intellectual property or copy right in Uganda,” Mr Hamya told Daily Monitor in an interview last week.
Mr Hamya added: “For example, Supersport has rights to the English Premier League but then you find that there are some cable operators who get the same feed, put it on their network and broadcast to the clients and these are people who don’t pay taxes...”
“SITI cable used to pirate our content but the company has since been sold,” Mr Hamya said, adding that some hotel owners pretend to use our services for domestic consumption but later use it for commercial purposes.
Mr Simon Arineitwe, the general manager Azam Tv, said: “We are just two months old in the market, we have not registered any cases of piracy but I have been hearing that other players are facing it.”
However, Mr Fred Otunnu, the UCC corporate communications manager, told Daily Monitor that they have not received any formal complaints where Pay-Tv players with exclusive rights that have had their programmes pirated.
“Let someone complain to us that their programme has been used without permission when they have exclusive rights. Then we shall be able to take up the matter and take action,” he said.
Besides piracy, with the entry of other players, including: StarTimes, Zuku Tv, Pearl and Azam Tv as the latest entrant, the Pay-Tv industry is braced for stiff competition which is partly evident in the latest reduction in decoder prices.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) attributed the current price war among Pay-Tv companies to new players in the decoder importation business.
On the price wars, Mr Hamya said: “Competition is healthy, as you know we are market leaders and it’s helping us to become much more responsive to our customers and also become more innovative.”
Multi-choice controls market share of 90 per cent for cable television and about 65 per cent of terrestrial digital space, marking it the biggest Pay-Tv company in the country.

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