Expert tests prove Arabsat not involved in illegal broadcasts of World Cup

The Saudi Arabian-based broadcaster has consistently denied accusations it allowed illegal broadcasts of the World Cup via pirate channel “BeoutQ”. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Expert tests prove Arabsat not involved in illegal broadcasts of World Cup

  • Multiple tests by experts confirm Arabsat frequencies were not used for illegal World Cup broadcasts
  • Arabsat’s CEO demands immediate retraction and apology from FIFA after research vindicates broadcaster

RIYADH: The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) this week told FIFA that an investigation performed by seven independent satellite communications experts has confirmed its satellite frequencies were not, and have not been used by an entity operating as “beoutQ” for illegal broadcasts of 2018 FIFA World Cup matches. 
The detailed letter to FIFA sent on Arabsat’s behalf summarized the evidence, which conclusively showed the falsity of FIFA’s claim that Arabsat had been “distributing” beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts.  “Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” said Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat’s CEO.  “Nevertheless, we undertook a very costly investigation to eliminate any doubts and to provide evidence to share with FIFA and the world.” 
Arabsat’s letter to FIFA detailed specific tests showing why FIFA’s claims that beoutQ was operating on specific Arabsat frequencies at specific times were wholly wrong.  The statement explained that, FIFA had claimed beoutQ was operating on Arabsat frequency 12341 MHz for several World Cup matches.  But tests conducted by several independent satellite communications experts showed that that frequency carried no video content at all at the very dates and times asserted by FIFA.   
Likewise, FIFA asserted that beoutQ broadcast different matches on Arabsat frequency 11996 MHz.  Again, Arabsat’s technical experts demonstrated that FIFA was wrong.  Arabsat’s experts showed that blocking the frequency had no effect on beoutQ’s pirate World Cup broadcasts, and that only legitimate broadcasts (including BBC, Sky News and CNBC) were available on that frequency – not beoutQ. 
Arabsat’s tests also showed that other satellite carriers might be carrying beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts.  “We received one set of test results in which our expert blocked all Arabsat frequencies,” Balkheyour said, “but beoutQ’s World Cup broadcasts continued.”  This strongly suggests that beoutQ used a different, non-Arabsat satellite to broadcast the offending content. 
“Arabsat is entirely vindicated in its decision to undertake its comprehensive investigation before taking the drastic step of shutting down satellite transponders – as FIFA had demanded,” added Balkheyour.   
The statement added that the experts’ findings had deepened Arabsat’s conviction that beIN Sports, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, was behind allegations that Arabsat satellites had been used by beoutQ.  Arabsat believes that beIN Sports contrived the allegations as part of a smear campaign to deflect attention away from its technological inability to prevent beoutQ’s piracy.
Arabsat has demanded that FIFA immediately issue a public retraction of and apology for its claims that Arabsat was somehow complicit or did not do enough to stop beoutQ.  “Arabsat has been deeply offended and harmed by beIN’s and FIFA’s attacks,” Balkheyour said.  “Now that FIFA has been proven wrong, it should apologize for making such offensive statements.”


Netflix unveils $2 billion debt issue to fund new content

Updated 22 October 2018
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Netflix unveils $2 billion debt issue to fund new content

LONDON: Netflix announced its third tap of debt markets in a year on Monday, aiming to raise about $2 billion as the streaming video pioneer invests heavily in original shows and acquiring content to fend off intensifying competition.
Netflix bond prices were little moved immediately after the announcement, but can be expected to fall, as the additional debt adds to the company’s credit risk. Shares in the company dipped 1 percent in early trading.
Netflix said in April it planned to raise $1.5 billion in debt, after raising $1.6 billion in October last year, bringing the total to about $5 billion.
The company has consistently said that it expects to fund content acquisition through the high-yield bond market and is expected to spend around $9 billion on content this year, based on blockbuster third-quarter results announced last week.
The new debt will be in the form of senior notes denominated in US dollars and euros — a type of debt the company needs to repay if it goes bankrupt.
Bearish bets against Netflix’s existing $8.4 billion of junk-rated bonds have more than tripled this year to an all-time high of $347 million, Reuters reported last week.
“The short balance in the actual bonds reflects a view that (the bonds) will decline in value if or when they issue more debt,” said Samuel Pierson, analyst at IHS Markit.
Netflix’s total debt stood at $11.83 billion as of Sept.30.
Netflix said on Monday it intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.