A study of the online content viewing behaviour of Filipino consumers has found that 49 per cent access streaming piracy websites or torrent sites. The levels of piracy went as high as 53 per cent within the 25-34 age demographic.
The survey, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by YouGov, found that 47 per cent of consumers who accessed piracy sites cancelled their subscriptions to both local and international content services.
The levels of piracy in the Philippines now dwarfs neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia which have both seen substantial reductions in online piracy over the last 12 months. In Indonesia, a similar YouGov survey found a massive 55 per cent reduction in Indonesians accessing piracy services with 28 per cent of consumers admitting to accessing piracy websites compared to 63 per cent in 2019. In Malaysia, a YouGov survey found a 64 per cent decline in users accessing piracy sites when compared to a similar YouGov survey in 2019.
In both countries, a key variable for the decline in online piracy levels was the government’s proactive piracy site blocking initiative. In Malaysia more than half (55 per cent) of online consumers noticed that a piracy service had been blocked by the Malaysian government, which subsequently influenced viewing habits with 49 per cent stating that they no longer accessed piracy services and 40 per cent saying that they now ‘rarely accessed’ piracy services as a result of the site blocking.
A Bill currently before the Philippine Senate (Bill #497) entitled the ‘Online Infringement Act’ proposes a regulatory 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”.
The recent YouGov survey suggests that a regulatory site blocking mechanism would be supported by the majority of Filipino consumers. When given choices of what they thought were effective measures of reducing piracy behaviour, 53 per cent of Filipinos agree that a “government order or law for ISPs to block piracy websites” would be the most effective.
“The ill effects of online piracy cannot be underestimated,” stated Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu. “We have been an advocate of content streaming through legal sites only through our #PlayItRight programme. This advocacy educates people on the impacts of online piracy and on making the right choices when it comes to online consumption.”
“The wide variety of legal services in the Philippines which provide premium entertainment content are reliable and importantly are legal,” added Atty Teodoro Pascua, Deputy Director General, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). “The piracy alternatives fund crime groups, put consumers at risk of malware infection and are unreliable. Piracy only benefits the criminal organisations who are behind these illegal websites.”
“We are confident that Indonesia and Malaysia will rise to become market leaders in video IP protection in the region, as a result of their site-blocking strategies,” declared Neil Gane, General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy. “We are also confident that other countries in Asia, such as the Philippines, will take note and follow suit, boosting the growth of legal consumption of Filipino and international content.”
When asked about the negative consequences of online piracy, Filipino consumers placed funding crime groups (55 per cent) , loss of jobs in the creative industry (50 per cent) and malware risks (49 per cent) as their top three concerns.