Surveys highlight effective site blocking benefits
May 15, 2023
By Colin Mann
The most recent piracy landscape consumer surveys commissioned by trade body the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) show that while piracy rates remain stable in many countries around Asia-Pacific, there have been notable increases in piracy rates in Thailand and Taiwan, with a discernible increase also in Hong Kong. Notably, rights holders face challenges in procuring effective and efficient site blocking in all three of these countries. These consumer surveys acknowledge site blocking as an effective tool to mitigate piracy harm.
For those countries that are implementing site blocking effectively, there continue to be demonstrable effects in behavioural change with 62 per cent of consumers in Indonesia and 64 per cent in Malaysia indicating that they have changed their viewing habits as a result of pirate sites being blocked. Both of these countries have long-running, effective and efficient regulatory blocking regimes. In Singapore, one of the first countries in the region to allow rights holders to protect their content via the provision of judicial site blocking measures, it is notable that after almost ten years of this measure being in place, Singapore has the lowest percentage of consumer piracy in the region, with only 39 per cent of consumers pirating. However there remains issues with the time and cost involved with obtaining site blocking orders in Singapore.
Encouragingly, the surveys show that regular site blocking not only stops consumers accessing pirated content online, but also drives them towards legitimate sources, with an average of 20 per cent of consumers subscribing to paid services and an average of over 40 per cent accessing legitimate free content services as a result of pirate sites being blocked. Furthermore, almost 50 per cent of consumers around the region stated they would subscribe to legitimate paid online services if the content they wanted to watch was not available via a pirate source.
Awareness of the risks associated with online piracy also continues to grow, with at least 80 per cent of consumers in every market around the region unequivocal that piracy has negative consequences. Consumers are aware that the perceived damage varies from job losses, impact on the creative industries and also the risk of malware infection on personal computers and devices.
In addition to consumers accessing pirate content via pirate streaming sites, apps or illicit streaming devices (ISDs), social media and messaging platforms providing access to pirated content continue to be a concern as one of the main sources of accessing pirate content. CAP is working with the major platforms across the region to address this issue.
Encouragingly, the survey also shows huge unmet potential as more than 60 per cent of consumers across the region said they would subscribe to legitimate services if there was no pirate content available on social media and messaging platforms.
“The evidence continues to show that site blocking, when implemented in an efficient and effective way, is an incredibly powerful tool to both stop online piracy, and direct consumers towards legitimate content,” stated Matt Cheetham, General Manager of CAP.
“As with the 2022 survey, the data points towards an ongoing consumption of pirate content via social media and messaging platforms. The surveys also show the benefits of consumer education with a growing awareness amongst consumers of the negative consequences of piracy, particularly via illicit profiteering and malware.”
This is the second time CAP’s YouGov consumer surveys were undertaken across several countries at the same time. The surveys will continue to be repeated across the same countries annually, and in doing so, will continue to provide longitudinal analysis of consumer behavioural trends towards piracy and enforcement measures around the region