Read this: The great TV piracy scandal
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BBC sounds music Radio podcasts and this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 it's the biggest priority scam in the world and possibly in history a complex and frankly bonkers tale of geopolitical rivalry between the Saudis and Qatar as expressed through the media or satellite TV all will be explained we are both sides on both sides of the dispute on only one decided to accept our invitation that man is David Sugden a director of the be in Media Group David will come to the details of this extraordinary Story out shortly before that being isn't a brand that many people in the UK will have heard of very briefly tell us about it.
How big is it? It's what we are huge where the equivalent of Sky Sports which is very well known in the UK but we're almost three times as big so we operate across 43 countries where big sports broadcast.
We hold the most sports right side of any broadcast in the world valid up to 15 billion US dollars, we are mirror Max film studios, when did you take which is a big pay TV platform in Turkey and we have 55 million subscribers worldwide, so we're big independent media company show on ITV called small fortune and is hosted by Dermot O'Leary the brains behind it is our second David but it was coming to you.
You never get over 10 weeks to get to its glory.
This is David Flynn co-founder of youngest media and David Flynn with the greatest respect your not a member of generation z and you're not even a millennial.
So why call your company youngest Media well, there's actually very good reason for that say I am actually the youngest of seven and my business partner Lucas is the youngest of four so there is a very good personal reason for that.
We always think the youngest has to shout the loudest to make their voice heard.
And that's what we're trying to do, but it makes little sense more from you shortly David Flynn thank you.
Let's start without old friend showing a ghost senior reporter at Business Insider showing is really good to see you at all be in a Grim context because BuzzFeed is now plans to lay off hundreds of staff from offices around the world at famous for its listicles and quizzes and more recently investigative journalism.
It published that notorious dossier about President Trump and Russia and it's one international plaudits for the long reads on issues.
Such as match fixing in tennis, but it's trouble to make a profit despite massive investment from some feedback.
Is that we did invite BuzzFeed to join us today, but they declined Ham Shauna what jobs are going that cuts across the whole Newsroom but at the UK offices are disproportionately affected say that the bulk of staff are in the US for BuzzFeed is an American company, but it's across the news team so I think that's security teams a lot of editorial staff being laid off and in the UK as well and some countries as well as it's 17 out of 30.
Jobs are going if you can do the cut from last year that has a huge reduction is down from 76 staff to just 20 am in just over a year and that's editorial what justifications been given or giving falling off so many staff it's clear that BuzzFeed wants to focus on the things that it can do really well.
It's perhaps expanded into different areas of coverage a little too quickly expanded little too fast.
I mean that's a huge number of Staff to have to begin with I think you know in total it was something like 1500 staff across all their offices which is a really bad number of people for a nimble digital media startup so I think they realise maybe it was time to cut costs use a member you say startup which is intresting BuzzFeed always class itself as a tech company in that certainly attracted the attention investors, is it a tech company? Yeah? It's a good question so I mean if you want to get very technical about it, so the content management system which is the way that journalists are firework stories.
It's sort of like WordPress for Janice and each Media
Publication will have different variants are apparently BuzzFeed cms is very good and BuzzFeed did acquire different companies to Bolster its tack offering so if it's attack is a lot to do with that success is its ability to distribute content and interesting ways, but fundamentally you know as as the son of struggles to make revenue show it is a media company see his I think as I think about a lot of tech companies is that they don't have to make a profit write a lot of these Silicon Valley mass of name their Pumped Up by venture capital in the expectation that they're going to bring in big butt but then when the revenues don't actually meet expectations those investors demand cut so did BuzzFeed over expand naively.
I think it probably did ever-expanding.
I think there is a difficulty and that some of its backers were very well-known text back as so Anderson Horowitz was one of its venture capital back is very famous American venture capital firm who also I want to keep back Facebook which arguably as we know one of the reasons for buzzfeeds cuts to this week and investors like that.
Are after a set period of time they have their own metrics to meet and they are going to need a return from their companies invested in now the difference with tech startups as that there are Amazon's there a Facebook Sarah Google to have huge amounts of cash to buy them out and offer these investors are Returns because they can you know pay over the odds for these tiny tech startups that may not make any money but perhaps have a lot of promise.
I don't know who the Amazon the Google on Facebook of Media is except for maybe the Facebook and Google in the sunset.
You don't have these big meet wealthy Media conglomerates really there also have been got it all at the same time.
So who would buy BuzzFeed for billions of dollars and giving bastards overtones that is difficult in and it's not jamming with mention BuzzFeed course.
It's not just their Verizon the owners of half post an ad 800 job losses, what do these companies are all making cuts having, What are they all doing wrong basically? Yeah, I think I think that's on the way to build a new media brand.
So he's a new names.
They're possibly people listening who haven't really heard of BuzzFeed or
Huffington, Post or least never gone on their website please of web only will mobile-only brands, they never had a print product for example interestingly what people don't to draw a connection between is it BuzzFeed was born out of huffington, Post interesting see the both brands are a kind of suffering because perhaps some of the core problems a similar and so what they would perhaps have done wrong as rely too much on other distribution channels like Facebook for example which is well.
Lots of people get bad news to bring in there traffic rather than try and build a reputable stand-alone brand away from the social media trouble is if if Facebook told them the dog that you're rather exposed and David Flynn when you said up youngest Media it was with the ambition of making shows not just for traditional broadcasters, but also digital publishers.
What's your take on this situation many of them firm that sells in now.
They've gone on this new expansion fund venture capital one.
I think these big brands have been set up.
He wouldn't necessarily bet against them reviving finding new ways of making things work, but I think that.
Challenge is yet? They've been reliant on the A14 on their revenue stream.
Which is advertising and dependent on these digital distribution platforms who ultimately hold the power of the audience and as soon as Facebook and light chains that algorithm it becomes very difficult for these places when we're I am comparison and just really starting out but we set up from the start to try and spreader sort of potential revenue streams and I'll potential customers so but is a thing if you're free if you want them free to the content business when it comes to media, can you then start charging you think I think the strange thing for me looking at it from outside is that these sort of digital only content brands haven't really focused on on creating sustainable IP because it feels like actually they've had the audience to do so but so far the online content has been very.
What sort of you know watch it and forget about the next day, they won't be good reasons for that but actually true value in media companies comes from the franchise as you can continue you're all very well briefed, because you keep many things are being said to come back to later in the show like I said thank you very much showing a brief you on this BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah peretti says he's confident these cuts will enable them to consolidate and become a sustainable business in the future, is that Blaster yeah? This is extremely massive so I don't know how you create a disciplined media company from from perhaps a company that was a little bit messy and had some too many arms sprouting everywhere see and then painful for the Joseph ok so so much for that.
We don't often do sports news on the media show but today we're going to make an exception hardcore football fans will know that the Asian Cup is currently taking place and yes, there was a semi final me no one knows every honest you're proper.
Proper difficult teeth but they are semi-final between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates took place yesterday.
It was billed as the blockade Derby because the UAE backs the Saudi Arabian blockade on Qatar a country, which it accuses of harbouring terrorists and supporting Iran in fact his 2017 Saudi Arabia and its allies have severed diplomatic relations with Qatar then expelled Qatari citizens and close cutters only lads the block.
It doesn't extensive tournament football here to clip with yesterday's match which anyways Qatar winning by four goals to nil.
What does I speak a bit when I think that might be one of the goals that comes with the TV channel be in sports which is part of the Qatari company that David Sugden at we heard from a moment ago is a director of be in now finds itself right in the centre of the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Because since the Saudi blockade began a pirate TV channel calling itself a b out Q get it be out you and starting up in the region and its sole purpose is to rip off the premium sporting events the be in has paid lots of money for that.
Don't be sending this is quite frankly remarkable tale let's start at the beginning.
How did the pirating of your channels first begin its astonishing tail so it started shortly after the blockade was initiated to 18 months ago.
We saw a website called B out Q pop-up which was geo block to Saudi Arabia and that was streaming our content as I said earlier.
We hold most sports right side of my 10th broadcast in the world streaming that treasure Trove of content to pretty much for free to subscribers across Saudi Arabia then the party was taken to the next level because what we now see is satellite piracy which is very different to internet streaming piracy the satellite parity involves 10 encrypted channels, so there's be in one.
Bein sports 12 Bein sports 10 there is boq one to be accutane.
We distribute 400 hours of live coverage across the middle east North Africa every single week as pretty much does B&Q through boq want to 10 and that's different because it's it's live sport is encrypted.
It's on a satellite distributed to a satellite provider called arabsat, but what takes it to the next level is within the beer Q set top box as I said you got the ten sports channels, but you also have a customised app store within which there are around 25 iptv apps and those iptv app open up a whole world of entertainment up to 10000 movies to 35000 TV shows and and live TV channels and on-demand content that implicated everyone from Disney to Netflix to the BBC to Sky to come up loosing France every single entertainment rights holder you can think of their content is a
33 blk expressed huge anger at this time in India this is causing you to be at Cuba what are they saying about this candle for this issue, so actually as I said it was it was mainly sports and social sports rights holder you can think of him will supporters come out and publicly Condemned what's happening in Saudi Arabia they've also many of also followed up with their own legal challenges the Premier League FIFA UEFA AFC cafe many others looking 20 straight there on legal action entertainment bodies have been slow to respond perhaps because it's a less well-known form of piracy the fact that its embedded within the box and it's a bit more remote but increasing you were seeing those bodies that entertainment bodies come out and how much money you losing this we launched investment arbitration on the 1st of October and we under which we are claiming over 1 billion US dollars.
That's just the damages that we've incurred over the past year which is as a result of lost of script subscriber base loss.
Advertising revenue huge legal and technical expert cost management disruption time this this is a clear attempt to Sabotage our business, but we are very much holding firm who's behind it is quite clear that it is in Saudi Arabia the B&Q website is Jill block to Saudi Arabia the you have to validate the IP address through as Alexa your satellite subscription to an IP address in Saudi the right cards that they advertised are in Saudi riyal B out Q boxes are widely available and distributed across Saudi Arabia it is an established fact that it is it is Saudi Arabia we launched the website two weeks ago which could all the information out the open so there's any doubt whatsoever you just go to www.www.
TV and all the inflations.
There was a motive.
I think without doubt the political motivations.
We are a guitar chord.
Corporation and the motivations are quite clearly political but the point we be making very strongly and weakly encoder UK government to listen as well.
Is that this impacts the whole sports entertainment industry because fundamentally if intellectual property rights can't be protected and then if the rule of law isn't followed.
It's a free-for-all.
See you soon be out to you now appearing in Florida in Paris in London if you go down the Edgware Road if you if you asking the right shop you going to be out Q box that opens up all this free content and fundamentally people pay a lot of money for right so we did put all of these allegations the Saudi government arabsat.
Would you mentioned David and I've not replied let me bring him abdirahim.
So you from BBC monitoring which is the division of the BBC which monitors foreign Media abdirahim.
Thanks for joining so busy so appreciate your time.
David is presented.
What he says is evidence of Saudi Arabia's involvement in this.
How have the authorities responded to the allegations in the Saudi Press is not the first time these allegations been.
This been going on for months and Saudi Arabian press and its authorities have always consistently denied this the verminator saying if it's not backed by the state and they always said that the working tirelessly to come down on any illegal or piracy and I've always said and appointed that these set boxes are available in other countries they almost almost anything if if if this is not state-backed it could be within the board of the Saudi Arabia but what am pinned down on it does not come with the company has a Saturday suspect David finds that less than plausible give us a sense of the regime of how popular TV is so popular football is on TV in Saudi Arabia very popular mean.
They got a relatively relatively strong and domestic legal Saudi Arabia use it often seems like al-hilal or a lift had train.
Denon social networks especially Twitter when these games are happening this quality of the domestic League hasn't reflected that well on the national side that mean they got trashed in the last World Cup Russia opening game but nevertheless domestic League and international for boys very popular and like I said that you shouldn't cut has been happening this week.
So there are you not having dinner does that what they were playing in the cup, but I'll see if you had the Italian Super Cup any this month taking place inside a massive cultural phenomenon so broadly than what road is media play now in this massive dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar I mean The Saturdays have realised that the soft power of football and in general entertainment and the Increasingly I'm in the top spot official has been declared that he wants to set up a rival to the
Company based in Qatar or even colder they want to set up there the ESPN of The Middle East Saudi Arabia but in the meantime and the country has been investing in not just football on sports bar in wide entertainment in the region.
They want to set up.
I mean the or Netflix the quality of the Middle East in the region and sells records.
Have a long-standing crash over the fact that be in and Qatar own the rights to the big games and they were taken from being Saudi Arabia is a country that stands accused of murdering a journalist in its Istanbul embassy of committing war crimes in Yemen that is seemingly death to a lot of international condemnation.
What would rest do you actually have when it comes to what is the legal dispute about intellectual property? What can you do about this? So there is legal time and there is commercial time and the legal remedies with the legal avenues that we are exploring and pursuing just unfortunate 8 time.
So there is a case with the world trade organisation organisation that.
Moment but obviously that just takes time this week as I said work.
We've launched an international investment arbitration.
There are other legal actions were takeaway taking around the world, but that just takes time and all the while every single day if we logged on to be out to you now through BA Q box would have live sport commercial rights have been stolen every second of every day and that is an acceptable and as I said earlier it implicates the UK because you have your champion assets such as a Premier League Wimbledon the Six Nations all been stolen.
You have sky sky in the BBC their content available on boq full free every single day and anywhere huge investor in the UK and Qatar economy through the acquisition of meteorites in a strongly calling on the UK government to take a stand and and investigate this is a parrot showing are you covered for Business Insider this is a catalogue accusations as I say we put many delegations to the Saudis and not telling them not responded, but he was also well.
Who's running this massive TV operation over in Silicon Valley is pouring billions of dollars billions of dollars into not just legitimate Ventures but found the biggest names in global tech.
Yeah, we work the bake off during startup all companies that have taken money directly or indirectly from Saudi Arabia public investment fund which is essentially that the sort of sovereign Wealth fund and that's through a Japanese company confusingly called softbank which has taken lots of money from abroad brush stack of investors including Saudi and then softbank is the company which it's a Japanese telecoms can, and you know it's it's founder at see you as very interested in tech companies.
So he's fine with all this money and to you through the Vision Funnel vision fund exactly into companies like we work here now having to use a dragon Souls I was a little bit with you know where this money is coming from what it means ethically exactly and David Flynn co-founder TV production youngest Media you mentioned intellectual property.
I just forget your response to what you've heard me to the remarkable stories in it.
Yeah, it's it is incredibly I might go and yeah, I think for everybody in the industry in Rio for companies like us for you to sort of the biggest bulldozer you respect and of IPS kind of the most important thing and you know I think it's partly comes down to trust and it partly comes down to the legalities but actually generally will play fairly with our rights and I think it's incredibly important because it it's what your company like my cells growing in employing people rely on to a party Is Your Life blood then we going to talk about the game show you saute TV at the moment before that when you come up with an idea for a TV format what steps do you take to protect it? Well? It's a challenge now the holiday was obviously things you can do you can trademark the name and you formats which is what we do have recognisable structure.
Which can be defended in court and have been in the past.
I think most the most important way to protect an idea is to get it on TV and turn it into a hit because what happens when people buy format is a look to the people who made it.
It's up with for that sort of Magic source that will give them a hit for their channels every channel around the world is looking for that next hit so in a sense the ideas one thing but if they can have an idea with a track record and produce to attached then that's fantastic used to be an executive at end of all the massive independent production company at their youdevise many shows including pointless In A Million Pound Drop British TV creatives in the Lingo traditionally worldbeaters when it comes to new formats, but are they still I think they are still I think there's a there's we're lucky in the UK because we have a tradition of trying out new things on our channels, which not every market has and we also have a yo.
Terms of trade which support independent producers and has been an incredibly important to allow companies like I selves to flourish.
I think what's changed.
Is that now you a hit can come from anywhere much more than before because around the world we see channels taking risks on new ideas.
Yeah, it's as well as launching things in the UK will launch a game show in Israel last year.
We are constantly looking at New opportunities around the world because we launch youngest as a global producer from day one rather than stuck in the UK is it worth some of us are probably on boq services as well.
I get the impression.
What's the what you meant to new ideas and originality? What's new about small fortune, so small fortune is the world's smallest game show and really selling it, but you have you sold it to ITV ITV4 it's not out there, but it's fine.
It's so it's a physical game show where small games can when you big money so we have these games which are all kind of shrunken down versions of the world and we have teams players play those games each game £50,000 save big money and they just have to complete the game to win.
So give me an example of one of our games coming out on Saturday we have the west wing which takes place in a tiny version of the Oval Office and all you have to do is click the fake news from Donald Trumps desk into the bin the Small Street Journal is there and you just have to click the Small Street Journal from the desk into the bin.
I've got the I forgot almost no idea what you're talking about but given item of water.
This is going to be I know this agree catch a TV need to get a tuna does Dermot O'Leary to shrink during the course of the show there is actually we 3D printed a tiny Dermot O'Leary 4 endgame.
Was it difficult to make technically only have to have his production work with model makers who are absolutely brilliant.
They generally work in theatre sets and they put together the sorter set the director will look at and they would take up to 4 days to make these tiny models but the great thing about it was because of you and I think the original think about it most physical game shows are getting bigger and bigger and bigger and we thought that actually the bigger.
They get sometimes the less jeopardy.
There is an elite less you able to actually relate to it at home.
So we went small and he try games comes and they come out the floor on this page and that's about two-and-a-half diameter for the tiny Dermot O'Leary tired earlier in the game and basically because they're so small you can absolutely relate to than we could play them in the office.
Yeah, we're able to show you this so far in a church hall to ITV and pretty much the same you see on TV without yes, we've done of course and with a big setting with Arena but
The games and tells her exactly the same as the ones we are playing in that church.
Have you just played for us your exact pitched? ITV is that what you said to ITV yeah? Yeah, and it will give you millions of pounds of the slot on a Saturday night.
You didn't quite go like that, but the Mechanics are getting that ITV Saturday night is the big one.
How do you get a show on another? It's a long process and we worked closely with the charity Jones and the commissioners and she's head of entertainment Kevin head of the channel is involved, but we don't have Kevin lygo the boss of ITV don't we don't use inside and I think the key thing was yeah, its collaborative process to get there.
We will miss out the door format before we came up with the small thing actually to sell it finally when we've come up with the idea of it being the smallest ever game show I sent home as the commissioner a massive box with a big idea written on it and it.
Side was a tiny 2 inch proposal with magnifying glass attached the TV created your elf on the shelf think he said that if he received an unsolicited idea for a TV show based put it straight in a bit his company just can't take the risk of seeing it.
That's his argument in case it clashes with an idea that already developing soda people listening at home.
I couldn't a student listening to think they got an idea for a new show what's your advice? I think the best thing is to get into a company like I sells like in the mall where you can have an idea and you can make basic bring it to the world.
Yeah, I started to somebody with ideas Ivor game a creative intern end of all when I was sort of 21 completely new to TV but sorted full of ideas and because I was able to have ideas went on TV I ended up chief creative officer anymore, UK I think are Industries
Hungry fatalities hungry for people who can have that idea that can make it on screen and become a hit what makes pointless I think pointless again was very counterintuitive which is it say I was won the co-creators over the two of us who came up with it, but it's it's all about you at the time or the quiz shows a really harsh and hard and we came up with this whimsical idea really that actually you could you rather than answering just a question normally you could come up with the least obvious answer to try and get the least points but we also came up with a world which felt much more panel so much more of a place you wanted to be amputated is counter-intuitive.
That's your thing shows ago big you go small come out of the right answer you do so it's pointless instead like that message.
It's a pretty made a lot of money doing it David thank you very much indeed.
I look forward to that show Abdul Rahim thank you very much for your time and David Sugden part of that remarkable story and show that really appreciate your insight as ever.
Thank you very much indeed for listing at home.
You can of course get the media show on BBC sounds, please search Beauty sounds for the media show and hit subscribe out with that same time next week.
Thanks for listening and bye.
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