Stop pirated content or risk ‘arrest’ —Anokye warns TV station owners

By: Linda Sarfoa Antwi
Ricky Anokye
Ricky Anokye, CEO Event It Ghana
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GHANAIAN company, Event It Ghana, headed by Mr Ricky Anokye has received the mandate from a number of international production houses to ‘arrest’ television stations who show their content illegally.

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For years, most Ghanaian television stations have gotten away with showing pirated movies and series, mostly foreign, without any consequences.

Ricky Anokye, whose company develops, buys and sells content says the move is to help sanitise the industry and also give Ghanaian content producers the opportunity to sell what they do.

“When you do a survey of our television stations, you will find that about 85 percent of what they show are pirated foreign content. Even movies released in 2018 that are still in cinemas are showing on our channels.

“This has put local content producers like me out of business because when I take my content to them, they don’t want to buy citing high costs among others.

"There are so many competent Ghanaian producers who are not able to make any money because of this and I believe something needs to be done,” Anokye told Showbiz recently.

Some of the international content producers Event It Ghana is representing include, Indian firm, Orasi, which also handles content owners from around the world.

They own the license and rights for most feature films for the Africa region; Balaji are owners of mostly Indian content while United Pictures is in South Africa and are representatives for mostly American and UK film content and other formats.

Others are Dalcom Somalia, based in Dubai and represent several content owners around the world, MX1 is in Holland and South Africa while B&B Media and Simplyblack Advertising and Africa Entertainment 365 are in South Africa.

According to Ricky Anokye, his team’s key role will be to monitor all the TV stations to check if they are screening content from their partners, who will be alerted should the content be determined to be illegally obtained then further action such as law suits will be taken.

“We shall be submitting reports every week and they will determine which ones they will take action on. Some of these stations think they are smart; when they are showing such content, they remove their logos but we are able to get them through their crawlers.

“We also have software that helps us to monitor multiple stations at a time so it will not be difficult to monitor the over 65 stations out there,” he added.

Although Mr Anokye told Showbiz that they have recorded a number of such stations, they are giving them a grace period for now.

“We are going to serve letters to the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), the Audiovisual Rights Society of Ghana (ARSOG) and other individual channels. A week after we serve the letters, enforcement will begin,” Anokye added.

He cautioned that this move should not be taken for granted because his outfit intends to see it through.

“I have had interactions with some of these television stations; while the majority of them claim not to know that what they’re doing is criminal, others have called my bluff.

“But I just want them to know my partners are serious and will take action. Some of the court action will be taken in Ghana and others may be in international courts,” he stated.

For Ricky Anokye, whatever benefits can come out of his work will not be just for him but for his other colleagues who for some years now, have been left out in the cold.

“Whenever I go for international content buying and selling events like DISCOP, the foreigners wonder how our TV stations are able to generate content because there are no producers from Ghana selling or buying content. Apart from Shirley Frimpong Manso and a few others, we are missing.

“Look there are some great content producers out there but they remain unemployed because there is no market for them and that should not continue.

"I often hear complaints that the local content is too expensive but there are so many ways of sharing cost that can benefit both parties. We should be able to promote our own and push content that enhances our national values,” he said.

“Dont forget, the foreign companies also lose revenue because for instance, I have been licensed to sell their content for commission but I am not able to sell and make money for them because they have been pirated,” Anokye added.