Quova secures online World Cup streams

By Carolyn Braff

When the World Cup kicks off in Germany this Friday more than 50 nations will do more than just broadcast the games on TV: they ll also deliver games over broadband. And those not sitting in one of the licensed countries won t be able to hop on the Internet bandwagon thanks to geolocation technology from Quova.

FIFA has highly specific geo-blocking requirements upheld by Infront Sports & Media, the Swiss-based international sports marketing company that sells all broadcasting rights for the World Cup. In order to obtain rights to stream the matches online, a broadcaster must prove that his broadcast will be seen only within the country for which it was purchased, and Quova enables broadband carriers around the world to do just that.

Quova provides a database service that gives detailed information on 1.5 billion publicly routable IP addresses, including network details, the user s ISP, how the user is connecting, and accurate geographical information on the user, down to the city level. According to Quova s Chief Operating Officer Gary Jackson, Quova s geolocation technology is 99% accurate at the country level everywhere in the world, and the company can guarantee its stated level of coverage and accuracy of information. Since World Cup licensing rights are generally restricted by country, this is good news for broadcasters worldwide.

For the 2006 World Cup, Quova s service will be used in several countries, most notably through TV Globo in Brazil, the fourth largest television network in the world, and the BBC in England, which is already using Quova s system for its content-filtering services. In Brazil, TV Globo will use Quova s services through its web portal, GloboEsporte.com, to broadcast live streaming coverage of all 64 World Cup matches. Interested fans will pay about $5 for the service, which allows both live viewing and the ability to download the games and watch them later. Access will be denied to any customer attempting to log onto the site from outside of the country.

Given the passion that football fans around the globe have for their teams Quova, realizing that some of them may go to extreme lengths to illegally view video, has increased its vigilance of anonymous proxies like anonymizer.com, which enable web users to launch Internet searches from that location and effectively obscure their location behind that proxy.

Quova has mapped the largest possible volume of those proxies around the world, so we know where they are, Jackson said. What s new for the World Cup is that we re paying attention to people logging on and we re restricting them.

Globo is so confident in the secure nature of Quvoa s technology that digital media manager Antonio Carlos Silveira said he believed that the website content would be more secure than the television broadcast, which can be seen by viewers in neighboring countries close to the Brazilian border.

Quova has a history of success working with Brazil s Globo network, having collaborated since February to provide the first live online streaming of NBA games outside of the U.S. Quova s technology has also been used in Italy, where Italian broadcaster RAI transmitted the 2006 Winter Olympics domestically over the Web for interested viewers; in Germany, to provide Tour de France coverage to a German audience; and is currently used worldwide in connection with MLB TV, a pay-per-view service that carries all Major League Baseball games live online, upholding local broadcasting rights by excluding access to individuals in the geographical media markets of the two teams on the field. Quova s technology may also soon be used in conjunction with the NFL, as the existing five-year agreement between broadcasters and franchise owners that prohibited Internet broadcasts is currently in the process of renegotiation.

We have made them aware of what is possible with Quova, Jackson said. If they choose to have restrictions at the city level, we are in a position to support them.

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