Rio De Janeiro, Brazil -- The country's top cable
operators are making moves to reduce piracy from about 8 percent of pay television homes
to fewer than 6 percent over two years.
Globocabo, Brazil's leading MSO, has already launched
a campaign among its staff and viewers, while No. 2 MSO TVA is expected to do likewise
over the next few weeks.
Brazil has about 1.7 million legal cable subscribers, plus
a further 150,000 illegal connections, according to Antonio Joao Filho, technology
director of the Brazilian Subscription Television Association (ABTA) trade group. That
translates into a piracy rate of 8.1 percent.
The piracy rate is lower among MMDS (wireless cable)
operators. The country has about 330,000 MMDS homes, an estimated 16,500, or 5 percent, of
which are illegal connections.
The number of illegal Ku-band and C-band satellite-TV
viewers is considered minimal.
Globocabo launched an internal anti-piracy campaign among
staff in June, addressing the issue in a series of lectures at its offices in Sao Paulo
and Rio de Janeiro. Now, it's publicizing the issue among its viewers in anti-piracy
public-service announcements on its channels.
The initial phase of the campaign will last until October,
and it could involve police operations against pirate operations, Globocabo officials
Phase two will involve the launch of a nationwide publicity
campaign among the general public.
The objective is to educate both employees and viewers
about the severe punishments pay TV pirates can face. Brazilian law states that people
with illegal cable connections can be sentenced to up to four years in prison, while those
responsible for installing such connections can face up to eight years.
Globocabo has established two confidential toll-free phone
numbers -- one to receive calls from people willing to report illegal connections and
another for pirate cable customers who wish to clear their debts and become paying