Pirates will soon pull the plug on Sky Sports in Scotland


Lots to pick up on today but a Bloomberg article on “Soccer Pirates” grabbed my attention.  The US business news broadcaster focussed on a recent fundamental technical shift which has seen high quality and reliable feeds of Sky and BT broadcast football games illegal appearing on TV sets across the globe.

The days of illegal content consumers scavenging around their laptop for a feed in the minutes leading up to kick off are on the way out.  Now you can subscribe to a feed of your chosen content in Eastern Europe or China and it will be streamed to a device attached to your TV, where it will appear pretty much as it does direct from Sky.

This is important for several reasons.  Subscription football is expensive.  Thousands of Scottish football fans pay a significant portion of their monthly disposable income to Sky and BT to follow their team on television.  They also get English and Spanish football as part of these subscriptions, but there is a dysfunctional market for football content.

While Sky earn 8% of their UK subscription income from Scotland, they send only 1% of their football outlays north of the border.  English Premier League football is the key to entry into the UK subscription TV market, own this content, and you have market control.  Cost per eyeball paid for Scottish football is a tiny fraction what is paid for English football (or English rugby league, for that matter), which has fostered a feeling among Scottish subscribers that they are being exploited by an oligopolist.

For some time now the comments section of CQN has seen discussions on how to organise a boycott of Sky, with many making the unilateral declaration “Just cancelled Sky Sports”, but there is a fundamental truth: if we have the money, we are going to watch Celtic.

Scrambling around for an illegal feed minutes before kick-off, fighting pop-ups or coping with lags is not how I want to watch my football, however, as the Bloomberg article makes plain, these issues are irrelevant if, like 2.4 million others, you subscribe to an Eastern European or Chinese feed.  To force an oligopolist to change, you either need regulators to step in (they have abandoned us to a fragment of the UK market), or you need to find a way to take your business elsewhere.

One of the main advantages of being paid a pittance is you can take bold steps; Scottish football has nothing to lose by burning bridges with those who collect revenues here and pour the money into the coffers of clubs elsewhere.

The more fundamental question, even than losing Scottish subscribers, to Sky and BT, is the risk this technology poses to the value of their English Premier League broadcast rights.  Viewers in England (and across the globe) also pay a substantial levy to watch English football.  If the pick-up rate of Eastern European subscriber numbers continues, and assurances given to Bloomberg that prosecutions for use are unlikely, Sky and BT will see collapsing revenues – and maybe then we’ll see the English football bubble burst.   Indeed, if Scottish viewers prove the concept and move en-mass, English viewers will not be far behind.

This is an important subject, we’ll talk more about it.  I’m not going to advocate breaking even an unenforceable law, although others will, but there is no point playing TV money-victim anymore.  This technology will eventually remove the enormous discrepancies in our game, so I’m off to buy one of the boxes, just to take a look, of course.

4-in-1-row DVD, £10.99, on CQN Bookstore, still available for Father’s Day (Sunday)!

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    a ceiler gonof rust



    11:52 on 17 June, 2015


    Mon Paul, hurry up with the ne article. My one and only chance to get a……..



    Cambodium Podium:_)



    Graff, welcome to CQN.



    HH bruv and to the AGPL


    And ACEILERGONOFRUST gets his Cambodium Podium. My work here is done!





    Haha,no way I’m a New Labourite-or a young yin either.



    Apols for stealing your glory,genuinely. But it was for a good cause.

  4. oz doller to sterling exchange rate very poor at the minute



    Less than half



    Any one keep regular eye on these things and predict it will soon get better ?



    Moving back home next year so obviously will want best rate possible.



    12:29 on


    17 June, 2015





    Fair play for doing yer bit,mate.



    Try doing it in Kilwinning.



    :) In all fairness you’ll be hard pushed NOT to see a home in Turkiye without solar-panel system of some description.



    Being affordable to the population is the key Bobby.

  6. Wow, in the first team top 11, and that’s after reading the article :-))



    Hail Hail

  7. From last article:





    12:39 on


    17 June, 2015




    12:22 on


    17 June, 2015




    12:11 on


    17 June, 2015


    “When the majority of people in Britain were against the Iraq war”



    Urban myth



    And you can prove otherwise?.


    Useless rhetoric.




    I recall, from my fading memory, the debate as 50-50



    The western governments knew Saddam Hussain had some really horrible, nasty, deadly stuff to lob (halabja) ’cause we (weatern suppliers) had the receipts.




    Can’t see ole ACGR accepting charity……unless drink involved :O) hh

  9. cowiebhoy…



    I’d take hooper back, he obviously hasn’t settled in Norwich, between him and LG we would have a formidable partnership.



    Yep, Ronny doesn’t or prefares one up front, that could be accommodated for.



    Well done Bobby…Ya preditor:))

  10. IF one wished to explore ‘these boxes’ and IF one wished to do a bit of research, what terms might one put into a search engine in order to facilitate such research?





    Cheers,pal. I even accept old as a compliment nowadays!





    That wisnae charity,that was putting a pal up in lights. You up already,or just about to cot?



    Damn nightshifts…



    Hope you have a high old time on holiday,mate. Surprised yer missus is letting you off the leash again,mind…



    PS-Apols for that post the other night. It didn’t quite read the way I meant it. Hope you got that.

  13. Hi Paul67,



    What happened to the don’t post sausages???-)



    I haven’t had a chance to read the article yet (but will do) but….



    “One of the main advantages of being paid a pittance is you can take bold steps; Scottish football has nothing to lose by burning bridges with those who collect revenues here and pour the money into the coffers of clubs elsewhere.



    You are spot on…



    What the broadcasters have in effect done, by depriving us of our due cash, is made us leaner and meaner that our obese cousins in other leagues.



    We can be like the Spartacus lead army of gladiators and slaves, and roam around able to use our wit and initiative to view as we please.



    But unlike Spartacus we must make sure we jump on the boat to sunnier horizons once we get the chance.



    Are you Spartacus?



    Hail Hail

  14. The disparity of Sky revenue is bad enough , the kick in the teeth is Lineker being paid more by the BBC than they pay for all of their Scottish Football coverage.


    Boycotting Skysports’ corporate sponsors could hasten an end to the inequality.

  15. I’m no fan of Sky or Sky sports. I find much of what the Murdoch empire stands for repellant. That said, before looking at set top boxes as an alternate for viewing sport on TV please consider where you’re £30 for a set top box goes. These are not legitimate businesses. These organisations are one of many ways in which organised criminal gangs raise money to fund drug trafficking, people trafficking, prostitution and other hideously abusive practices. I’d rather have no football than put money in the pockets of these people.

  16. fieldofdrams



    12:42 on 17 June, 20



    Now I am no technophobe, I am one of those who have ditched Sky and BT, although I do still have Sky Broadband, delivering about 4 Mbps speed


    This is important if using one of the android boxes, internet speed



    My wife bought one on Amazon, for about £70,


    It is called an 4K TT TV box ( note the TT has a coloured O in front of it so may be an OTT ?) M8 Android Box,


    She uses for watching movies and series etc- it has 4 software packages inbuilt, which allows access to almost everything


    Me , I’ve no idea how to use it :-))) for watching live football streams



    Hail Hail

  17. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Chairbhoy-‘ but unlike Spartacus we must make sure we jump on the boat to sunnier horizons once we get the chance.’



    -are you suggestin’ we undertake some kind of journey?

  18. Nice thought Paul but if viewing subscription figures fall, who will cover the Scottish games?

  19. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    I was a big fan of Hooper`s. Indeed, I felt we would miss him more than we would the much more expensive Wanyama. Even so, I do not think he would fit in with the style of football we are now playing . Hooper was quick off the mark but Griffiths is a much swifter all round player and one who possesses far better ball control than Hooper did. Hooper was improving in that area but have a close look at Griff. His instant control of sometimes awkward balls is exceptional.




  20. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Just Googled Best Android box for football and got an awful lot of `mash` references. Is Big Mike involved? 0:-))

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