MBC Group, the largest and leading media company in the MENA region, has joined the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).
According to ACE, it recently also welcomed its first Latin American telecommunications company and two Asia-based media and entertainment firms as members.
Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and chairman of ACE, commented: “The addition of MBC GROUP to ACE demonstrates the value of continuing to build our membership base and network in key local regions.
“Together we will strengthen our global network and expand the resources and expertise needed to tackle the serious threat piracy poses to media and entertainment companies all over the world”.
Natasha Hemingway, chief commercial and marketing officer at Shahid, MBC GROUP added: “Protecting our content is of critical commercial importance for us and, as the leading streamer in the region, this has become a significant component to our success. We are delighted to partner with ACE to strengthen our anti-piracy efforts”.
According to local insights shared by MBC Group, hundreds of websites pirate MBC Group content daily, including but not limited to Arabic-language and locally produced films, series, and programmes, as well as international content including English-language titles from North America, anime, and Korean series. Pirates commonly aggregate content from multiple pay-TV operators and SVOD platforms in the region through so-called “IPTV” offerings that can cost as little as $15 annually.
Piracy is not limited to IPTVs, however, as piracy via social media is also widespread, with many full-length titles shared on platforms including Telegram, for example.
ACE says it has already made significant progress combating piracy operations in the MENA region. Earlier this year, the coalition also recently took down four illegal piracy operations in Egypt in coordination with beIN Sports, which joined the coalition in April. Last year, the coalition shut down the popular, illegal streaming services Electro TV Sat in Morocco and 123movies.la in Tunisia. In 2020, it also shut down the Algeria-based IPTV subscription service Akfasat, which provided access to over 3,500 live channels and over 26,000 movies and TV shows.
Now in its sixth year, ACE has consistently grown its global membership base; the coalition is now comprised of 41 members, including MBC Group. In October, ACE welcomed Tigo, a Latin America-based telecommunications company, as a member. In June, ACE added Hong Kong-based Viu and Thailand-based True Visions, marking the first Asia-based media and entertainment companies to join the coalition.
ACE was founded in 2017 by the MPA and many of the world’s leading media and technology companies to combine efforts and resources to jointly combat the threat and prevalence of online piracy. Its governing board is comprised of the MPA’s six members – Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. – as well as Amazon and Apple TV+.
Since its creation, ACE has successfully led or participated in thousands of global enforcement actions, averaging several dozens of actions a month against illegal streaming services and sources of unauthorised content and their operators.