French online piracy: €1.18bn hit

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Consultancy firm EY has published the second edition of its study on online content piracy in France (Piratage en France), which aims to assess the shortfall related to the illegal consumption of audiovisual content in France. The study quantifies the impacts of piracy on the state budget, direct jobs, the financing of creativity and lastly the incremental value generated for the film and audiovisual industry.

The analysis of the illegal consumption of audiovisual content is based on Mediametrie /ALPA data and the ALPA report on the evolution of piracy practices. A field survey was also conducted among 3,000 individuals who consumed video content illegally over the last 12 months, in order to evaluate the potential for moving to the legal market and to estimate the shortfall for the audiovisual and cinematographic sectors.

The main findings of the study:

Pirate numbers down

  • Between 2016 and 2017, the number of pirates went from 11.6 million people illegally consuming content per month to 10.6 million, one million less in one year (-8 per cent).
  • Pirates also consume less; on average each pirate has consumed 4 per cent less illegal content than in 2016.
  • The illegal consumption of audiovisual content generates a shortfall for the film and audiovisual industry in France of €1.18 billion, down 10 per cent from 2016. The state is one of the biggest losers with €408 million in lost revenue in 2017 (compared to €430 million in 2016).

Streaming remains the most used protocol

  • On average, 6.6 million pirates download streaming content per month (more than 60 per cent of all pirates), enjoying relative immunity.
  • Movies remain the main type of pirated content. 94 per cent of pirates download movies illegally, including 54 per cent of American films.

SVoD, the main driver for a return to legal

  • The number of pirates who do not subscribe to any SVoD service has dropped by almost 30 per cent to fall below 50 per cent. The number of hardline pirates, having consumed no legal content in the last 12 months, remained stable with a slight increase of 0.2 per cent.
  • 22 per cent of pirates are ready to switch to legal consumption of SVoD if pirate content was unavailable, against 10 per cent in 2016.

An awareness of the risks

  • Behavioural changes: 83 per cent of the illicit consumers reveal they have changed their behaviour because of the risks involved. Of these 83 per cent, 70 per cent say they have decreased or stopped visiting illegal sites because of cyber risks. 56 per cent of pirates plan to reduce their consumption. One quarter say they intend to stop it, only 4 per cent plan to increase the level.

Price and accessibility pirates’ main motivation

  • Even though most of them are willing to pay a price close to that of the legal market, more than 40 per cent of pirates continue to find legal offers too expensive.
  • In the case of sport, the number of pirates believing that access to sports content on a legal platform is too expensive has increased (46 per cent in 2016 vs 53 per cent in 2017).
  • The willingness of pirate consumers to pay for a subscription to a sports channel has risen from €6.09 in 2016 to € 6.69 in 2017.

Individual sanction is needed to develop search engines and access providers

This sanction, beyond individual deterrence, would be a powerful means of convincing search engines and service providers to participate in protecting the rights of creatives.

“If the illegal consumption of audiovisual content is beginning to decline, the shortfall remains important, especially for the state,” stated Bruno Perrin, partner at EY and author of the study. “SVoD seems to be the model that allows a return to legality, especially as consciences begin to awaken, both through the presence of legal risks but also cyber security. Sport remains the big black spot, the diversification of offers in these contents and the use of exclusivity do not give consumers access to sufficient content at a price deemed reasonable. A new offer has to be developed,” he concluded.


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