Global piracy nears 190bn visits in 2018

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Digital piracy data analysis specialist MUSO has revealed that there were more than 189 billion visits to piracy sites throughout 2018. MUSO’s global piracy data platform tracks piracy in film, TV, music, publishing and software.

Throughout 2018, TV was by far the most popular content for piracy, with almost half (49.38 per cent) of all activity focused on sites providing access to television programmes, followed by film (17.09 per cent), music (15.87 per cent), publishing (11.49 per cent) and software (6.16 per cent).

Similarly to 2017, the US topped the list of countries with the most visits to piracy sites (17bn) in 2018, followed by:

  1. United States Of America: 17,380,038,844 (17bn visits)
  2. Russian Federation: 14,468,624,277
  3. Brazil: 10,283,315,744
  4. India: 9,589,665,210
  5. France: 7,339,837,375
  6. Turkey: 7,335,249,001
  7. Ukraine: 6,126,077,097
  8. Indonesia: 6,075,238,380
  9. United Kingdom: 5,750,562,133
  10. Germany: 5,356,667,376

Whilst developed markets saw some decline when compared to 2017, traffic in certain emerging markets increased. In Brazil, piracy traffic increased by 12.5 per cent to over 10 billion visits year on year, while traffic in Indonesia increased by more than 9 per cent to 6 billion visits year on year.  Globally, software piracy increased by 17 per cent between 2017 and 2018, while publishing piracy increased by 11 per cent.

“Digital piracy is still prevalent globally,” commented Andy Chatterley, CEO and co-founder, MUSO. “Television is the most popular content for piracy and given the fragmentation of content across multiple streaming services perhaps this isn’t surprising. Whilst it’s important to restrict the distribution of unlicensed content, there is a wealth of insight to be garnered from piracy audience data that gives a comprehensive view of global content consumption.”

Almost 60 per cent of all piracy visits are to unlicensed web streaming sites, mirroring trends in legal consumption, which is moving away from ownership to on-demand. Public torrent networks, once the main method of piracy delivery, now only equates to 13 per cent of piracy visit activity. Stream ripping also saw more than a 13 per cent decline between 2017 and 2018 (from 8.9bn in 2017 to 7.7bn visits in 2018). Music saw the with the largest overall decline in  piracy (34 per cent). This was partly caused by a 16 per cent drop in stream ripper visits since the closure of youtube-mp3.org in 2017.

“Interestingly, in 2018 we have seen a ten per cent increase in people bypassing search engines and going directly to the piracy destination of their choice,” noted Chatterley. “Simply focusing on take-downs is clearly a whack-a-mole approach and, while an essential part of any content protection strategy, it needs to be paired with more progressive thinking. With the right mindsight, piracy audiences can offer huge value to rights holders.”


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