Over the past few years, we have seen piracy grow to become not just a nuisance plaguing the content creation industry, but a fully-fledged business.
Recent data from Irdeto found that there are more than 2.7 million advertisements on e-commerce websites, including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, for illicit streaming devices. These advertisements can also be found on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and other prominent social media platforms.
Pirates are becoming more business savvy, expanding their marketing of illicit streaming devices. The results speak for themselves, with data from SimilarWeb Indicating more than 16 million visits per month to the top 100 pirate Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) supplier websites (as of September 2016). Pirates are constantly expanding their operations to satisfy consumers, aiding in this growth.
A battle for market share between licensed and illegal platforms is brewing, and we expect to see a more concerted effort across the industry to combat IP piracy in the coming year.
“Live premium content piracy is on the rise as pirates look to capitalise on the consumer desire for more live events and the ever-increasing cost of this type of content. With an increase in online platforms lacking the stringent security measures needed for live content, events can be easily reproduced and accessed across a multitude of social media channels and shown around the world within a matter of seconds,” said Peter Oggel, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Irdeto.
“As the increase in popularity of services such as Facebook Live and Periscope grows, so will piracy issues. This will have a huge impact on the industry, as social media platforms are notoriously difficult to regulate. This lack of regulation will damage not only operator revenues, but also put content licensing at risk, especially for live sports.”
In an opinion piece in the Herald Sun, Peter Tonagh, CEO of Foxtel, said that piracy is “no less of a crime than stealing a loaf of bread from a supermarket or sneaking into a movie theatre or a concert without paying. At Foxtel, we have long focused on combating piracy. The first wave was the bloke at the pub selling pirated smart cards and set-top boxes. We worked hard to address that. The second wave was pirate sites such as The Pirate Bay and the bit torrent sites that encourage illegal sharing.
"We finally saw some progress with the recently passed site-blocking legislation having its first impact late last year. But now we are dealing with a third, and potentially most concerning, wave: illegally streaming video on social media platforms. Rest assured we will work even harder to address this piracy before it gets out of control.”
Tonagh concluded his piece by stating: “If we are to sustain our business, maintain great sport and continue to invest in other great Australian content, we must continue to educate the public about the consequences of piracy and be willing to enforce our legal rights. We remain fully prepared to do so in the future.”
What is perhaps most concerning regarding this growth is the damage that piracy has caused the industry. This damage extends well beyond revenue loss from content theft, impacting legitimate services and offerings.
“While legitimate OTT/IPTV services are growing in subscriber popularity, they have not elevated to the levels originally predicted a few years ago. This is mainly due to the increase in pirated content,” said Bengt Jonsson, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Irdeto.“Last year, an increasing number of industry players looked to tackle the pirates head on. With this in mind, industry standards were reviewed in order to help achieve anti-piracy goals. These new standards help enable more
He explained: “Last year, an increasing number of industry players looked to tackle the pirates head on. With this in mind, industry standards were reviewed in order to help achieve anti-piracy goals. These new standards help enable more organisations to pull together in the fight against piracy, meaning more investment will flow into the segment. Industry collaboration and more money will see an increase in the development of pioneering technological innovations, helping to significantly grow the market share of legal content offerings as opposed to illegal alternatives.”
Mark Mulready, Senior Director of Cyber Services and Investigations at Irdeto, added, “In the year ahead, we may see at least one premium sports rights licensee lose their rights as a result of not doing enough to address piracy. This will act as a catalyst to other licensees of the same content, resulting in Hollywood studios and sports rights owners to contractually mandate that licensees implement strong content protection, watermarking and anti-piracy measures for premium content.”
By empowering the industry with real-time analysis of piracy incidents, each player in the pay media ecosystem will play an important part in battling this global problem together.
“Understanding the complete business of piracy is critical because these criminal enterprises have a profound effect not only on content creators but also consumers,” said Jan van Voorn, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief, Global Content Protection, MPAA. “Better analysis can provide critical information that content providers will use to understand IPTV piracy and develop means to reduce it.”
Richard Frankland, Regional Vice President of Sales, EMEA, Irdeto, added, “Companies should gather extra information from data mining and viewing habits to leverage additional expertise to track down pirates. This data collection helps providers to understand what their consumers are watching, and provides an understanding of what kinds of content is typically stolen. This insight allows content owners to change their distribution strategies or delay releases; both of which help them protect their revenue.”
While information sharing is a key component to combating piracy, education is a critical element that must not be overlooked. As pirates continue to develop offerings that mirror their legal counterparts, it is becoming increasingly important for operators and movie studios to educate consumers on the tactics employed by pirates.
“Online streaming pirate services are growing exponentially year-over-year, content owners and operators must work together with stricter security requirements and with educational campaigns for the end user,” said Gabriel Hahmann, Sales Director, Brazil and Southern Cone, Irdeto. “We know that countering piracy requires a mix of education, legal content availability, ease of access, right price and security measures, each one of them has to be addressed.”
The wheels for the evolution of fighting piracy have well and truly been put in motion. And its impact could be felt across the market as the industry bands together to combat this growing problem.
This article is an extract from an eBook by Irdeto – a world leader in digital platform security, protecting platforms and applications across multiple industries, such as media & entertainment, payments and automotive. Our solutions and services enable customers to protect their revenue, create new offerings and fight cybercrime.