TV and movie piracy is not a new problem, but the stakes just got higher. According to a report commissioned by Synamedia and carried out by Ampere Analysis, among seven countries, the U.S. has the most to lose from not addressing TV and movie piracy.
High Stakes of Movie and TV Piracy
Cracking down on illegal viewing could drive as much as $13.7 billion annually for the legitimate market. An additional $5 billion from sports programming alone could be added to this hefty sum. Of this total, $5.9 billion of income would be generated for the nation’s streaming media providers. Just the 28 top pirated TV shows and movies would contribute as much as $1.8 billion.
Piracy Study Focused on Seven Countries
The report studied 16,000 media consumers, in the U.S., U.K., India, Brazil, Italy, Germany and Thailand. It determined the likely outcome if the usual piracy options were taken away for entertainment and sports viewing, focusing on theater attendance, legal streaming services and pay TV. To come up with the revenue estimates, it considered both the subscription revenue from a channel or service in addition to the annual value of the customer based on churn data.
TV and Movie Piracy Eclipses Sports Piracy
Even though sports programs are very popular in piracy circles, the study found that content rights fragmentation among various services is affecting entertainment programming piracy in a similar way. Entertainment piracy is now valued at 300% more than sports piracy. Whereas stopping sports piracy would generate $9.8 billion in revenue, converting TV and movie piracy would bring in $21.8 billion in revenue for legal services. What the study shows is that the larger number of streaming services to which viewers subscribe may be contributing to a larger appetite for pirated programming. As subscription numbers rise for an individual, it becomes more likely that they will also watch pirated content. Of those who had at least five legal subscriptions to video services, 91% said that they also watched illegal programming.
This goes against conventional wisdom that says that people who watch illegal content wouldn’t pay for the content. More than half of consumers who pay for pirated content also pay for legal streaming services—and that includes not just sports but also television and movies. The most popular pirated entertainment content was comedy, followed by action/adventure and crime/thriller.
These findings point to the need for the industry to clamp down hard on movie and TV piracy, to mitigate the substantial risks to streaming providers, broadcasters and rights holders.