A crackdown on IPTV service providers in Malta has left a number of consumers wondering what the future of their not-quite-so-legal channels may be.
This comes as Italian officials shut down 300 IPTV platforms and 700 IPTV channels in Italy just this week.
IPTV is a form of broadcast that delivers content from channels around the world to your TV. A major problem for the massively popular form of content broadcast in Malta is that the content comes from unauthorised providers. This makes IPTV streaming services illegal in Malta and more akin to pirating TV channels.
However, despite the legal problems, IPTV remains popular in Malta, with the Broadcasting Authority saying that at least one in five households in Malta are watching television via IPTV in 2017. The number is probably even higher today.
Leading TV content providers in Malta, such as GO or Melita, have found themselves competing with illegitimate providers who do not have the rights to stream that content, cutting into their profitability.
Lovin Malta is informed that as part of the clampdown on IPTV in Malta at least two different providers have been raided and temporarily shut down. It is understood that some Maltese providers get their stream from Italian platforms, and these raids are believed to be in relation to this weeks earlier Italian raids.
Following this police crackdown, several IPTV consumers were left without access to their channels.
Some viewers complained that as they were watching key moments on their IPTV last weekend, such as during sport matches, their transmission was suddenly blocked.
One person who raised the issue with Lovin Malta lamented how many families were suddenly left without their IPTV.
“We should be asking why so many families have turned to illegal services like IPTV,” they said. “What Maltese service providers offer TV-wise offer very little in terms of channels at a much higher cost.”
Another IPTV client told Lovin Malta that her transmission had been shut down yesterday; however, today it had returned, with her IPTV provider telling her that things are now “back to normal”.