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Friday, September 22, 2023

Piracy Steals €290m Yearly From Sports Industry- Report

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Sports subscription service and media company DAZN has called on the Italian parliament to speed up the introduction of a new bill targeting piracy, following the release of a report outlining that illegal access to live sport streaming events is costing the industry some €290m ($316.9m) per year.

The new survey on audiovisual and sports piracy was conducted by market research company Ipsos on behalf of the Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content Industries (FAPAV).

The event also saw discussions over a bill on the fight against online piracy which last March the Chamber of Deputies approved unanimously after a process that was interrupted by the early end of the last legislature.

The bill, now under discussion in the Senate of the Republic, aims to give new powers to the communications regulatory authority, AGCOM. In response to a notification from rights-holders, it is proposed that AGCOM be given the power to order the immediate shutdown of the site that illegally broadcasts the content.

An increase in penalties is also envisaged, both for those who illegally make copyrighted content available and for end users who risk fines of up to €5,000 and up to three years in prison.

Speaking during yesterday’s presentation, DAZN Italy chief executive Stefano Azzi put pressure on the government to ensure the legislation passes.

He said: “Although sport is stable in fourth place in the ranking of the most pirated content, after films, TV series and programs, live sporting events have continued to register, since 2017, a continuous growth in terms of piracy acts committed: 41 million alone in 2022.

“We are talking about a criminal phenomenon that steals more than €800,000 a day from our sector, over €24m every month.”

He added: “The work done to date by the government has been important, the figures that are subtracted from the sports system every day tell us how much it is necessary for the bill to be approved quickly, hopefully by the start of the new sports season.

“With more severe and rapid sanctioning methods we are sure that piracy would be significantly reduced.”

The FAPAV data confirms a stable overall incidence of piracy among the Italian adult population, equal to 42 per cent, but at the same time records a growth in the volume of pirated audiovisual content. Around 345 million illegal acts were estimated to have occurred in 2022, 30 million more than in the previous year.

The study said the year-on-year increase was mainly driven by live sport, which recorded a 26-per-cent rise in piracy acts, with FAPAV stating it is the only sector that shows an overall growth trend compared to previous surveys.

DAZN is currently engaged in the process to determine the next set of rights deals for Serie A, the top division of domestic football. Earlier this month, Lega Serie A elected to move into a period of private negotiations with three broadcasters after bids submitted for domestic rights from 2024-25 onwards were rejected.

Incumbent live rights-holders DAZN and Sky Italia, along with commercial broadcaster Mediaset, are the three broadcasters to have submitted bids in the invitation to tender. Private negotiations were due to be held today.

Under current three-year contracts, DAZN holds exclusive domestic rights to seven Serie A fixtures per matchweek and co-exclusive rights, along with Sky Italia, to the three remaining matches. DAZN pays €840m per season for its rights, while Sky pays an average of €87.5m per season for its rights package.

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