BeIN Media Group has abandoned some of its staff at its Qatari base, citing a hit to pay-TV income from rampant piracy.
It has sacked nearly 300 employees in Qatar, or about 18% of the local workforce, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the number isn’t public.
The company stated in a statement that it had taken some "difficult decisions to right-size our business" and to reflect the impact of piracy.
Although it became a major player in sports rights from its base in the small Gulf state, this position is now threatened due to BeoutQ, a rival operation that BeIN accuses of pirating much of its sports and entertainment content and selling it on to viewers across the Middle East.
BeIN Media claimed that "these decisions will secure our business for the future. we will not stop our fight against BeoutQ until it is ended". But it is clear that its staff paid the price although they are innocent and did not perpetrate any crime. BeIN has blamed the piracy problem for its decision to walk away from auctions of high-profile rights.