Showtime ‘kill’ pirates to launch new services
Showtime have turned off the free show for thousands of viewers
Showtime have brought the curtain down on the free show that hundreds of thousands were enjoying across the region.
The big turn off came shortly before Showtime announced a re-launch of their packages and the launch of eight new premium channels.
On the first of March the company changed its encryption code to lock out the tens of thousands of pirate smart cards that were in use, on the 22nd the company launched its new packages.
Showtime estimate that the scam has been costing them US$100 million in lost revenue every year.
"It's game over for the pirates. It's also good news for our legitimate subscribers who will benefit from an even greater range of choice in premium programming in the very near future," said Peter Einstein, Showtime president and chief executive.
The greater range of choice was revealed in Cairo on the 22nd March as Einstein revealed four new 'plus' packages and dropped the price of entry level subscription by ten per cent of the previous cost.
"The addition of eight new premium channels - six of which are exclusive to theShowtime network - has increased our viewers' entertainment options by 50 per cent. 17 of the 24 channels now available through Showtime are exclusive, including three of the four new sports channels.
"With the launch of a dedicated sports package, Showtime now offers the most complete network of the very best in Western television entertainment for the Middle East and offers the largest choice of premium Western movies, sports, entertainment, news, kids and music programming for all the family to enjoy," said Einstein.
The eight new channels on offer are: Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, EurosportNews, Showtime Sport, Extreme Sports, CNBC, E! Entertainment Television, Discovery Civilisation and Animal Planet.
The new entry level subscription option is called Showtime plus providing 12 premium TV channels for US$ 29.95 monthly. Previously the Showtime Mini Bouquet of three channels was priced at US$ 33.33 per month.
Commenting on the decision, Peter Einstein said: "Since launch Showtime has maintained a consistent price while tripling the number of channels available. With these new channels joining the network we now have 24 premium entertainment options so we can offer subscribers even more choice and better value."
The encryption switch also coincided with an indication that governments in the region are taking the problems UAE made its first prosecution for piracy in relation to satellite pay TV. An unnamed man was fined 50,000 UAE Dhs (US$10,000) and sentenced to one month imprisonment followed by deportation after being caught with a single cloned card.
"This successful prosecution and the severity of the sentence leave no room to doubt that the UAE Government treats copyright infringement as a serious criminal activity," commented Scott Butler, chief executive officer of the Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance, the organisation that carried out the raid leading to the prosecution.
"Those who continue to violate the copyright law can expect the maximum penalty when they are apprehended. It is a major victory for the Dubai police department, the Minister of Information and Culture and the UAE judicial system."