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Though digital piracy has experienced a slight decrease in Spain in terms of absolute figures, the percentage of citizens accessing pirate content has remained the same or even increased for some sectors such as music and leisure books (e-readers).
In 2016, there were 4.128 billion illegal accesses to content, 4.2 per cent less that in 2015, with a value of €23.294 billion (-3.2 per cent), but the loss profit suffered by cultural and content industries increased 6.8 per cent, to 1.783 billion.
These are some of main results gathered by the Piracy Observatory and Digital Contents Consumption Habits 2016, carried out by independent consultant GfK and released by Spain’s La Coalición de Creadores e Industrias de Contenidos (the Coalition of Creators and Content Industries) and Spain’s leading football league LaLiga. “The situation proves that legislative measures have a positive impact, but the results of their implementation are still insufficient, so we need more resources to be allocated and greater agility in the procedure. We are witnessing the first decrease of piracy in the last ten years, and it is an excellent opportunity to revert the enormous damage it causes to creators, to the industries, but also to employment, the public purse and to our country’s competitiveness in a global market. We want to keep up with our neighbours’ results, countries such as Italy or Portugal, and get as close as possible to the United Kingdom, France or Germany,” stated Carlota Navarrete, director of the Coalition.
“In LaLiga we are satisfied by the results that the Observatory of the piracy gathers, but it remains a lot of work still to do. We have seen that the fans are starting being aware that the piracy harms his equipment and others. For the football, the piracy across Internet has descended from 21 per cent to 18 per cent, between 2015 and 2016, in number of users, but we have detected that there are new other ways that have been started to use to accede illegally to the football”, stated Javier Gómez, corporate director of LaLiga
For the third consecutive year, the survey has included data regarding the impact of piracy on television shows and the retransmissions of football matches, besides the income sources of web sites offering pirate content.
Illegal Access, Loss Profit and Attitudes
Percentage of people accessing illicitly to content splits as: music (26 per cent), films (32 per cent), video games (12 per cent), books (22 per cent), TVseries (27 per cent), and football (10 per cent).
€1.783 billion euros of loss profit caused by piracy split as follows:
Access Ways and Sources of Income
Regarding the ways to access, search engines keep having the main weight as method to access illegal content, with 78 per cent, and Google is used by nine out of ten accesses to pirate content.
More than 67 per cent of webs from which illegal contents were accessed are financed by advertising. From such publicity, 69 per cent corresponds to online gaming and betting sites, 52 per cent to dating sites and more than 39 per cent is adult content.
It is particularly remarkable that more than one third of publicity of pirate sites (37.6 per cent) belongs to consumer products of renowned brands of food, fashion, insurances, telephony, etc., which confirms the urgent need of greater collaboration between the industry and the advertisers to improve the ecosystem of online advertising.
In any case, the sources of income of these sites are diverse, and it is to be particularly highlighted that more than a third of consumers (33.8 per cent) had to sign up as users, transferring personal data that pirates gather in databases that are used for e-marketing campaigns and reach very high prices in the market. Pirate sites also get much more valuable data than one could a priori imagine, that allow them to get important economic benefits, e.g. those referring to Internet surfing habits, rest of web sites visited by consumers, preferences, likes, purchase habits, etc.
Likewise, means of payment play a significant role in the running of pirate sited, especially in the cases in which those sites commercialise premium accounts, get donations or standardise a system to send mobile messages to registered users to inform of the release of new content on the site.
Users that have ever paid for content they have downloaded from these sites is already 11 per cent (it was 9 per cent in 2015 and only 5 per cent in 2014).
While seven out of ten consumers can remember communication campaigns against gender- based violence and more than six do with traffic campaigns, scarcely two out of ten can recall on digital piracy campaigns, a significant decrease in the awareness of these campaigns from 27 to 23 per cent, going from fifth to sixth position in percentage since 2014, and behind campaigns against the excessive consumption of alcohol or tax fraud.
Impact on Employment and the State Income
The impact of piracy on employment provides even most disturbing figures for creators and cultural and content industries. In a sector that today directly employs 65,926 people, a scenario without piracy could allow the creation of 21,697 new direct jobs, 33 per cent increase, and one hundred and ten thousand more indirect jobs.
The public fund could be failing to receive almost €361 million of VAT as a consequence of piracy, as well as €166 million in social security contributions and almost €49 million in personal income tax. That is to say, in 2016 the State could have gained additional €576 millionhad it not been for illegal access to content, an accumulated amount of €2.772 billion from 2012.
Access and Figures By Type of Content
During 2016, 1.661 billion items of music content were illicitly accessed, with a market value of €5.767 billion.
Number of consumers accessing illegal content were on the rise, from 21 per cent of 2015 to over 26 per cent in 2016.
More than 48 per cent of accesses were to contents with less than one year after their commercial release (51 per cent in 2015).
The volume of films accessed illegally during 2016 was 789 million, with a market value of €6.935 billion, compared to €6.907 billion of 2015.
33 per cent of accesses happened when the film was still on screens in theatres, while this percentage was 36 per cent in 2015.
27 per cent users accessed TV Series illicitly, equating to 959 million episodes illegally played or downloaded during 2016. Their market value is €1.577 billion.
39 per cent of accesses happened during the period it was still being showed on TV (46 per cent in 2015).
In 2016, 374 million illegal accesses to leisure books on the Internet were recorded, with a market value of €3.103 billion.
Number of consumers accessing illegal contents were on the rise, from 21 per cent of 2015 to over 22 per cent in 2016.
More than 40 per cent of accesses materialised in content published less than one year before (45 per cent in 2015).
Regarding video games, during 2016 there were 223 million illegitimate accesses. These products’ value reached €5.608 billion.
More than 45 per cent of the video games accessed illegally had been in the market for less than one year (53 per cent in 2015).
During 2016, a total of 122 million football matches were watched illegally in 10 per cent of Spanish households, a percentage point lower than in 2015. The market value of those retransmissions exceeds €369 million euros.
Football is watched through illegal accesses in 10 per cent of households. The main reason given to justify watching pirate retransmissions is that “football players already earn much money” (72 per cent) followed by “accessing through other systems is very expensive” (58 per cent). “Watching football without paying does not harm my team” is the reason for 41 per cent of users, and for 36 per cent is that “it does not harm anyone”. According to 25 per cent of citizens, these grounds are supported by the fact that “everyone does it”.
EFFICIENCY OF MEASURES
Most efficient measures against piracy would be, to the Internet users’ own view, blocking access to the website offering content (68 per cent) and penalising Internet providers (61 per cent). Following these two, the best measures to reduce infringements would be, according to consumers, imposing fines to users (53 per cent) and promoting social awareness campaigns against piracy (52 per cent).