A study of the online content viewing behaviour of Taiwanese consumers has revealed that 33 per cent of consumers have accessed streaming piracy websites or torrent sites to access premium content without paying any subscription fees.
In addition, 28 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. The QBox, UBox and EVPad remain the most popular illicit streaming devices purchased by consumers.
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 28 per cent of consumers who purchased a TV box used to stream pirated television and video content, half stated that they had cancelled all or some of their subscription to legal pay-TV services.
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 47 per cent of 18-24 year-olds and 61 per cent of 25-34 year-olds used ISDs or other apps/services to view infringing entertainment content. The free streaming problem is not limited to the low income demographic. On the contrary, the survey found that the usage rate of piracy streaming services increased with household income level (low income group – 25 per cent mid income group – 35 per cent; high income group – 43 per cent)
Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) commented: “Consumers are funding crime groups as well as wasting their money when purchasing illicit streaming devices, when they find their ISD can no longer access live sports matches or their favourite TV shows. The global content industry is now collaborating to prevent and disrupt illegal feeds of live sports, TV channels, and video-on-demand content through enforcement against the illicit IPTV operators and blocking orders against piracy streaming websites and piracy applications. ISDs can never provide quality programming and a ‘service guarantee’, no matter what the seller may claim.”
Thomas Ee, the Chairman at Taiwan Broadband Communications also added: “The damage that online piracy does to the Taiwan creative industry is without dispute and the results of this latest survey are alarming. With the support from the Taiwanese government, our industry must continue to work together closely to do more to protect intellectual property and to work even harder to stamp out ISDs and streaming piracy in Taiwan.”