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Is Latam piracy triggered by operator pricing?


Published: 1 February, 2013


Latin America was always going to have a major piracy issue at some point. It has the highest pay TV ARPUs out of any developing region, and although pricing has lowered slowly over the past 5 or 6 years, there remains a significant incentive for people to seek out free content.

Which is why it is surprising that the move this week, among Latin America's DTH operators to club together to create the Alianza Contra la PiraterĂ­a de TV Paga (Alliance Against Pay TV Piracy or AAPP) is long overdue.

The relatively sudden advance of DirecTV across Latam has perhaps brought the problem to a head, and now Sky Brasil and DirecTV PanAmericana have been joined by Telefonica, VTR and Claro to protect mostly US owned content interests, from Discovery, ESPN, FOX, Turner and HBO as well as local companies Globosat, Telecine and Televisa. In this region Nagra leads in content protection and so has most to gain from making this work or more to the point, most to lose if it doesn't fix things.

Collectively they will track down free to air satellite receivers and the sites where they can download software upgrades which decrypt paid programming. The aim is to track them back to their suppliers and arrest whoever has compromised the system in the first place.

AAPP's efforts will be focused on chasing pirates, raising public consciousness, and training regulators and tipping off law enforcement authorities.

Perhaps they feel that a few quick arrests will send the right message - but it's that incentive - a region that has been enriched by a long spell of economic growth but which still has pockets of relatively poor customers, combined with high ARPUs. That's not something that will be easy for Nagra and friends to attack.

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