4Racing.tv – Open Letter From Top Man

Steve Watson on what's happening right now

In an open letter to all stakeholders, 4Racing.tv Head Steve Watson offers some insights and updates on the racing television situation.

I write to you today to apprise you of developments on 4racing.tv and to respond to comments noted on various industry platforms, social media groups and direct messages to the business.

Steve Watson – a refreshing approach

I trust that you will find the information contained in this letter of value and I encourage you to please continue to provide us with constructive feedback as we transition and evolve our products.

I appreciate this communication is somewhat lengthy with everything that is going on right now, so thank you in advance to all who take the time to read it through.

  1. Tellytrack.com

We are aware that this service was terminated by the partners of Tellytrack at midnight on 31 January. This service included access to SA racing for both local and international subscribers, as well as local access to the Tellytrack 1 and 4 channels, amongst other content.

I am aware that there are many disgruntled patrons to this service who have acquired longterm subscriptions which have now been terminated by virtue of the service ceasing to exist.

I further note with concern that 4Racing is being labelled with this termination and I would like to remind stakeholders that 4Racing is not a partner in Tellytrack and in this instance we do not have access to the database of subscribers to Tellytrack.com or the right under the POPI act to communicate with them in direct communications should we have received it.

Irrespective, and as a gesture of goodwill from the 4Racing team, we would like by way of this invitation to offer you the following:

‘’Any stakeholder who had a valid paid subscription on Tellytrack.com, that has been terminated early as a result of the service no longer being available, a complimentary, equivalent subscription on 4racing.tv”

Please email [email protected] with the details of your Tellytrack.com subscription and our Service Suite agents will enable your service on 4racing.tv.

  1. Access to International Stakeholders on 4racing.tv to SA racing’s clean feeds and related ‘geo-fencing’ matters

From 1 February, 4racing.tv will have an SA Racing pop-up channel with clean feeds of our races which will be accessible to stakeholders from anywhere in the world, providing you have an internet connection.

We have made changes to the Registration and Payments processes to ensure international and local customers can register for 4Racing.tv. These include:

  • Email registration: We have deactivated the local Cell Number user registration and witched to email registration. When registering your One-Time-Pin to validate your registration, you will be sent an email to the email account you provided when registering to activate your account. Registration is open to citizens of the world and this does give you access to all the content on 4racing.tv including magazine shows, documentaries, race pre and post reviews and archives.

Only the LIVE TV channels sit behind the various subscriptions available.

Please note that we are not abandoning registration using Cell numbers indefinitely.

Smartphone, social media

There are many connected customers who do not have email accounts and they prefer to communicate via WhatsApp or other free messaging services. Development work has begun to allow for the User to accept which option they would prefer in future and we will update you once this work has been completed, tested and published.

  • Foreign Subscriptions and use of foreign Credit Cards: We have set-up accounts with PayPal to receive foreign payments, including micro payments (payments below $10, given our day and month subscriptions are the equivalent of $0.12c and $2.50).

PayPal integrations were completed over the weekend, tested and PayPal will be added to the various existing payment methods tonight for our international customers.

For locally banked customers there are many payment options, from credit cards, Instant EFT and Scan to Pay supporting most financial payment service providers.

  • Geo-Fencing & Piracy: 4racing.tv has secured rights to broadcast international racing from around the world on Racing 240, Global Racing 1 and Global Racing 2 channels.

These rights only permit us to broadcast this content to:

  • South African residents and betting outlets via satellite, IPTV and streaming providing the content is protected (encrypted) and geo-fenced (should not be accessible outside the borders of the country).
  • SADC regions – we have secured rights to broadcast some (not all) content to
  • SADC regions and our Racing 240 channel will be extended with Multichoice to these regions shortly.
  • Betting outlets only – in some instances we are not permitted to broadcast content outside our TAB and authorised bookmaker partner stores and digital platforms.

These restrictions are in place to protect the rights of our international partners, meet regulatory requirements in certain jurisdictions and/or to protect the exclusivity that the international rights holders have sold to another operator in other countries.

We have been appraised of reports that Tellytrack content was hijacked/pirated and was available ‘unauthorised’ in some countries complete with corner logos and data.

Piracy is most certainly alive and well and Racing content is as much at risk as Hollywood content.

We need to abide by the rights agreements and ensure that we protect both ours and our international partners as best as possible. To this end, we have a number of geo-fencing tools in place:


We are able to lock countries out from receiving our streams by restricting IP addresses originating from these territories (in non tech speak, the address from which your internet service providers are providing in requesting the stream). This can be circumvented by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that use a local SA IP and then pass the content on to the foreign IP address.

We have VPN detections and subscribe to a global database that continuously scans for these ‘re-routing bridges if you like’ and then we shut them down. This geo-fencing protocol is used by all major content distributors (like Hollywood’s majors Disney, Warner Bros, Sony etc).

WSB Met day action (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

During the course of the Cape Town MET weekend, we tested opening our SA racing content to a few trusted stakeholders in UK, USA and Australia. These territories were unlocked and then shut down before international racing commenced on the channels later in the evening. I note some of you have reported being able to access the channels, which from our logs was during this period.

We can lock the service to local cell numbers and only locally banked customers. We accept that this measure would not enable the provision of the SA Racing channel to foreign stakeholders, and we have made the changes per the above.

Over satellite, Racing 240 is encrypted with DSTV and Global Racing 1 and Racing 2 will be encrypted by us to ensure they can only be received in territories permitted and only to persons with set-top box decoders with active subscriptions as authorised by us or DSTV.

If unencrypted, the service could be downloaded by any person with a simple satellite receiver device and onward broadcast or streamed anywhere in the world. This would be a breach of our rights agreements and enable with ease the piracy of our SA racing content, putting our own industry’s revenues at risk.

Please note: with the above in mind, only the SA Racing clean feed channel and free content, documentaries, archives etc will be available to our viewers / subscribers abroad, from today.

  1. Number of Devices permitted on 4racing.tv

When we launched the service, we restricted viewing to two devices with two concurrent streams (two simultaneous streams). This enables subscribers to potentially watch two channels on two separate devices concurrently. We have however received feedback that some of our customers are using more than two devices to access our content. They start in office on their PC, switch to their cell phone when out and then in the evenings may use a tablet with a bigger screen and they receive our ‘Maximum Devices exceeded error message”.

This morning, business has approved increasing the number of devices from 2 to 5 with effect from today. The concurrent streams remain at two per subscriber.

  1. Archive Content

We are in the process of prioritising and ingesting our archive races, starting with the newest and going back 1 year (phase 1). These assets are being digitally processed through our content workflow and will begin to appear on the platform. This process will be automated to enable same day Live2VOD publishing, once our network with all 5 venues is fully integrated. Updates on this will follow.

  1. Change in Management Notice: Tellytrack’s DSTV Channel 249

Per an agreement reached between the Tellytrack partners, 4Racing’s caretaking of this channel and TT4, has been handed over to Gold Circle. Channel 249 will remain on DSTV until the end of February.

During the course of February, our Global Racing 1 and Global Racing 2 betting channels will be transmitted over satellite and tests conducted to avail the same to our authorised bookmakers.

I would like to thank the 4racing.tv team for their efforts in the caretaking of the Tellytrack channels for December and January, whilst simultaneously launching three new channels and the 4racing.tv platform, Racing 240. We will now focus our resources on evolving the core 4Racing.tv products.

In closing, thank you once again to all of you who may have read this far.

In sticking to our guns on ensuring we update you and we are transparent and forthcoming with matters that affect the horseracing industry, this will be the first of no doubt many open letters and/or communications to you.

I encourage you to please continue to share your feedback on our products and services. Our support email and 4racing.tv’s dedicated service suite is a channel open to you to seek assistance and/or share your feedback, report any ‘bugs’ you find when using our platforms and to ensure we know of your recommendations when we consider new functionality and/or content going forward.

Many thanks and all the best from all of us at the 4racing.tv team.


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