The Saudi pirate broadcaster came to light in the summer after its illegal transmission of the World Cup. But it has now emerged that BBC and Sky programming such as Premier League football, John le Carré drama Little Drummer Girl, and Game of Thrones is also a target.
The broadcasters concerns are outlined in letters sent to trade commissioner Anna Malmström and calling for the EU to make a formal protest to the Saudi government over BeoutQ.
A copy of the letter from Sky to Ms Malmström reported by The Guardian refers to the “threats posed to European broadcasters and rights owners by a relatively new, but rapidly growing, source of audiovisual piracy, namely the BeoutQ service”.
For its part the BBC’s letter details the threat to its commercial revenues: “The availability of the BBC channels and content via BeoutQ’s pirate activity will adversely impact BBC Studios’ ability to license these channels to partners throughout Europe and also the ability of our European partners to sell subscriptions to their television services,” the letter says.
BeoutQ has opened up a new front from the pirates, which in recent years has used IPTV to illegally distribute content. By contrast, BeoutQ is broadcasting its content from Arabsat, evidence of which has been gathered by another high-profile victim, the premium broadcaster BeIn Sports.
Its presence on Arabast, which counts the Saudi government as its leading shareholder has been verified by Cisco Systems, Nagra and Overon.