Report: Piracy, account sharing cost $67bn

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Findings from research firm Parks Associates suggest that the value of pirate video services accessed by pay-TV and non-pay-TV consumers will exceed $67 billion (€60bn) worldwide by 2023. The report, Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks, and Impact, estimates that if just 10 per cent of pay-TV subscribers discontinued pay-TV services in favour of video delivered by pirates, the 2023 loss to those operators could approach $6 billion.

The report examines trends in content piracy and methods for stopping these emerging piracy methods and provides a five-year forecast for the impact of piracy on the video industry. The report also includes real-world case studies about several piracy cases by entities which operate at an industrial scale. This report complements a 2019 Parks Associates report which estimated that of the $9.1 billion lost in 2019 to credential sharing by US video providers, 28 per cent – or about $2.5 billion – was lost as a result of piracy. This $2.5 billion loss is part of an $8.4 billion overall loss to piracy in North America.

“The rest of the $8.4 billion can be attributed to piracy by other means, such as theft of video content from production, from distribution, from jail-broken consumer devices, and from hosting by other pirates,” advises Steven Hawley, Contributing Analyst, Parks Associates, and Managing Director of Piracy Monitor.

The report finds most of the publicly acknowledged antipiracy efforts by US pay-TV operators currently focus on detecting and reducing credential sharing and account abuse. Credential sharing results in significant lost revenue to pay-TV operators; a Parks Associates survey of US broadband households determined 5 per cent used someone else’s credentials to access a pay-TV service and 6 per cent did so to access an online video service.

“More than 12.5 million pay-TV households accessed pirate video in the US in 2019, a low number compared to the Asia and Pacific region, where there are many more users but lower ARPU,” notes Elizabeth Parks, President, Parks Associates. “Video providers are carefully monitoring this threat and establishing dedicated teams and solutions to respond to piracy.”

“Credential sharing falls into two categories. Most sharing is casual, with no intent to profit,” advises Hawley. “But the bigger risk is from pirates that purchase large stolen consumer databases via the ‘Dark Web’ and use automation to discover penetrable end user accounts.”


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