Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN Sports has laid off nearly a fifth of its staff after the company’s revenues had been hit by online piracy of its TV channels, Bloomberg has reported.
At least 300 employees, constituting about 18 percent of the company’s local workforce, were let go, reflect “difficult decisions to right-size our business,” a statement by beIN read.
The layoffs follow a French court’s decision that it found no evidence of Arabsat distributing pirate channel BeoutQ. Previously, BeIN had accused Arabsat of carrying illegal broadcasts by BeoutQ. The court ruling established these allegations to be false.
BeIN Sports had bagged rights to broadcast major sporting events, including the men’s FIFA World Cup, English Premier League, Wimbledon tennis and the women’s FIFA World Cup.
The subscription-based channel says it has been hit hard by illegal online streaming of its content. As well as cutting staff, the channel has also refrained from new bids for other sports rights, including Formula 1 motor racing.
While piracy has hit region’s broadcasters hard, but BeIN Sports is the first to axe staff.
Earlier Dubai-based OSN announced it will end its South Asian ‘Pehla’ bouquet and cricket channels. Transmissions and subscription renewals will stop on July 15, after the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup.