Over the years ZBC TV has entered into various deals with content owners across the world. Deals which brought sports content, African series and movies and more were signed and the nation was treated to quality content.
For those who were old enough to watch the national broadcaster when it still was tolerable we remember watching some bit of China Central TV on ZBC TV. Some will remember watching some WWE action right on ZBC TV courtesy of the South African etv. Sports lovers remember the CFI deals which brought European football to our old black and white television sets.
In hindsight, ZBC TV was not really good in the 90s and earlier, it was almost as terrible as it is today. We were just starved of alternatives. Most were proud new owners of their very first TV sets and it still felt like magic that you could watch action thousands of kilometres away on a box in your home. It kind of still feels like magic though to be fair. I digress.
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The point is that when we saw all those deals we assumed that all was in order. We just assumed everything was legal and proper permission had been given for ZBC TV to broadcast that content. That very well might be what happened but since that time, the fine folks over at pockets hill have gotten desperate.
Over the years TVs have gotten better and cheaper. The world’s population has been increasing and more people than ever before have TVs and other devices which allow them to watch all the entertainment they desire. As the entertainment seeker pool grew, content owners so too increased what they charge the broadcasters. Rights to the popular English Premier League (EPL) go for billions for example.
All this left ZBC TV in no man’s land. No longer can the struggling broadcaster afford to acquire rights to the lucrative sports content. Faced with this problem, the progressive mavericks over there came up with an ingenious solution – just steal the content.
There I was checking on what ZBC TV is doing, as one does from time to time, when by total chance I saw a football highlights show. I instantly broke out laughing when I saw text right in the middle of the screen say, YOUTUBE.COM/NIXBLACK. There was even a logo in the bottom right corner, the NIXBLACK logo.
On show were the highlights to the Chelsea – Newcastle FA Cup tie which had been played the day before. As I watched on in disbelief, a couple of minutes into the show both the NIXBLACK logo and link were then blurred out. I had seen enough though.
I looked for the NIXBLACK channel on YouTube and saw the videos that ZBC TV had broadcast. They had not been edited further by the ZBC mafia, they had been broadcast as they were on the NIXBLACK channel. You cannot make this up guys.
Now before you defend the thieving folks talking about, ‘maybe they got the rights from NIXBLACK’ just look into a mirror first and be the change you want to see in the world. I too wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and so I researched a bit on how EPL rights work and lo and behold, there are no rights to EPL content on YouTube.
I talked to one expert on these content copyright issues who stressed to me that the FA owns the rights to that content and currently there are no YouTube channels with rights to show any highlights. The EPL sells such small packages of highlights to certain media providers so that they can be accessed online or through mobile phones. Channels like NIXBLACK violate copyrights and that’s why they are shut down once caught.
You can see that in the end, it does not matter what kind of deal ZBC has with NIXBLACK. They are broadcasting stolen content on the TV channel. I seriously doubt that they even have a deal with NIXBLACK so they are actually stealing from a thief.
ZBC can go legit though. There is a way they can get those football highlights legally. The aforementioned etv is a good example, they do show EPL and South African Premier League clips but have an arrangement with the rights holder – Supersport.
Despite essentially forcing the Zimbabwean population to pay licence fees for the ZBC channels they don’t watch, ZBC is probably too broke to enter into proper and legal deals for content like etv’s.
In some messed up way, ZBC highlights the Zimbabwean attitude to intellectual property. If something is not tangible, it is fair game, anyone can have it and they can distribute it to their heart’s content. We need to move from this thinking. We need to shame those who engage in this kind of piracy and so we shout – SHAME ON YOU ZBC.