A study of the content viewing behaviour of Filipino consumers, revealed that 34 per cent of consumers use a TV box which can be used to stream pirated television and video content. These TV boxes, also known as Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs), allow users to access hundreds of pirated television channels and video-on-demand content, usually with a low annual subscription fee. TV boxes often come pre-loaded with illegal applications allowing ‘plug-and-play’ access to pirated content.
This research shows a substantial increase in ISD usage when compared to a similar YouGov study undertaken last year, which found that 28 per cent of online Filipino consumers used TV boxes to stream pirated content.
The survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by YouGov, highlights the detrimental effects of streaming piracy on legitimate subscription video services.
Of the 34 per cent of consumers who purchased a TV box for free streaming, more than half (59 per cent) stated that they had cancelled all or some of their subscription to legal pay TV services. Specifically, 30 per cent asserted that they cancelled their International subscription services, which includes pan-Asia-only offerings, as a direct consequence of owning an ISD. While 24 per cent cancelled a specific part of their cable TV subscription bundles/ packages.
The research also found that two thirds (66 per cent) of online Filipino consumers have accessed streaming piracy websites or torrent sites to access premium content without paying any subscription fees.
In addition to the short-term problem of cancelled subscriptions is a longer term problem – namely, many of the people streaming pirated content are young. The survey found that 45 per cent of 18-24 year-olds and 46 per cent of 25-34 year olds used ISDs or other apps/ services to view infringing entertainment content.
A Bill currently before the Philippine Senate entitled the ‘Online Infringement Act’ proposes an administrative site blocking mechanism which would empower the authorities to ensure that ISPs take “reasonable steps to disable access to sites whenever these sites are reported to be infringing copyright or facilitating copyright infringement.”