Advanced Television

Half of consumers willing to reduce content piracy

March 8, 2017

By Colin Mann

The largest global consumer piracy online survey ever conducted has found that consumer education could reduce the number of individuals who watch pirated video content. The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Survey of more than 25,000 adults across 30 countries found that despite the high number of consumers around the globe watching pirated video content (52 per cent), nearly half (48 per cent) would stop or watch less illegal content after learning the damage that piracy causes the media industry.

According to the digital platform security specialist, this willingness by nearly half of consumers to change their viewing habits speaks to the huge impact that education could have on reducing the number of people who pirate video content.

The positive outcome of an industry-wide education initiative could have the most impact in Latin America and APAC. Fifty-nine per cent of consumers who watch pirated content in Latin America and 55 per cent in APAC stated they would watch less or stop watching pirated video content after learning that piracy results in revenue loss from studios, affecting investments in future content creation.

Conversely, only 45 per cent in Europe and 38 per cent of respondents from the US said that they would watch less or stop watching pirated content. This indicates that simply educating consumers in these regions about damages associated with revenue loss may not be enough. However, an education initiative focusing on piracy’s impact on the creative process of producing content, coupled with knowledge on how piracy is often linked to criminal organisations and that pirated content could include malware aimed at stealing consumer’s personal information, may resonate better in those markets.

“A battle is being waged in the media and entertainment industry,” said Doug Lowther, CEO, Irdeto. “Legal content offerings are no longer only competing against each other. Pirates have undoubtedly grown into a formidable foe that should not be ignored. With more than half of consumers openly admitting to watching pirated content, it is crucial that the industry tackle piracy head-on. To do so will require technology and services to protect the legal content as well as a comprehensive education program to help change the behaviour of consumers. Coupled with a 360-degree anti-piracy strategy, the market is fully prepared to take the battle against piracy to the next level.”

Additional findings from the Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Survey include:

  • An illegal vs. legal awareness gap: While many consumers across the globe recognise that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal (70 per cent), far fewer people are aware that streaming or downloading (watching the content) is also against the law (59 per cent). In Latin America, this gap was widest with 75 per cent of respondents stating that producing or sharing pirated content is illegal, compared to only 60 per cent recognising that streaming or downloading is illegal. The overall survey results suggest that more education may be required around the globe to educate consumers that engaging in any form of piracy (producing, sharing, downloading or streaming) is illegal.
  • The Russian awareness outlier: In nearly every country surveyed, many consumers recognise that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal; however, in Russia this is not the case. A staggering 87 per cent of respondents do not think that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal. In addition, 66 per cent believe that it is not illegal to download or stream pirated video content. A concerted effort must be made to educate Russians about piracy as an illegal practice to prevent growth of piracy in the country.
  • Content availability impacting consumption: APAC (61 per cent) and Latin America (70 per cent) had the most consumers who admitted to watching pirated content, while those in Europe (45 per cent) and the US (32 per cent) said they pirate the least. These results indicate that consumers in Europe and the US have more access to the content they desire, reducing their need to watch pirated content.
  • The younger generation shifting viewing habits: Laptops were universally the preferred device for the consumption of pirated video content. Consumers in Europe (65 per cent), APAC (45 per cent), Latin America (53 per cent) and the US (41 per cent) all stated that this was their most frequent method of consuming pirated content. However, a shift has already started, with many 18-24 year olds surveyed indicating that they use mobile or streaming devices the most to watch or access pirated video content. 52 per cent percent of consumers in China in this age bracket indicated that mobile devices are their preferred method of consuming pirated content (i.e. smartphones or tablets). Additionally, 18-24-year-old consumers in India (20 per cent) were the most likely to watch pirated content on a streaming device. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) cracked the top five in both categories, indicating that its population of 18-24 year olds are ahead of the curve when it comes to using mobile or streaming devices instead of laptops to view pirated video content.
  • The rise of Kodi in the UK: Interestingly, the Kodi box only registered as a top device to pirate content in the UK, with 11 per cent of pirating consumers using the streaming device to access illegal content. The second highest percentage was in Portugal where 6 per cent of consumers use Kodi to access pirated content. The highest percentage of Kodi users in the UK were in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups at 18 per cent each. This is in stark contrast to the 3 per cent of 18-24 year olds using a Kodi box to pirate content.
  • Consumer’s must-watch list: Movies that are currently being shown in cinemas/theaters (27 per cent) and TV series (21 per cent) were the most popular types of pirated content. Also, while live sports piracy is a growing industry problem, one surprise in the survey results was the percentage of pirating consumers who indicated that live sports was the type of pirated video content they were most interested in. The only countries that listed it in their top two were Portugal (25 per cent), Egypt (23 per cent) and GCC (19 per cent).  While the negative impact of live sports piracy is already being felt by the industry, this indicates that the market still has an opportunity to educate consumers about the damage that piracy causes the live sports space before the problem grows even larger. This education will be especially important for males as more men in each country indicated that live sports is the type of content they are most interested in pirating, while a majority of women prefer to pirate TV series.

“Education around the negative impact of piracy on both the industry and the consumers themselves is an important element of any anti-piracy strategy,” said Rory O’Connor, Vice President of Services, Irdeto. “The results of this survey show that many countries are open to change. To elicit this change in consumer habits will take a concerted effort from all the industry players to not only educate consumers about the negative impact of piracy, but also continued innovation to address the three elements of consumer choice – content, value and convenience.”


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