Connecting the Dots…Converting Motivated Pirates into Paying Customers

Connecting the Dots…Converting Motivated Pirates into Paying Customers

In 2020 MUSO tracked over 130 billion visits to piracy sites. That equates to 39 visits for every person connected to the internet globally and this is even higher in the USA with 44 visits per person. MUSO frequently measures tens of millions of illegal visits and views for individual film and TV titles, this is a vast audience that many companies are not actively monetising.

In this article, we examine how MUSO Connect can help advertisers reach and engage with these audiences and we look at a case study highlighting how a Video on Demand (VoD) platform is currently using MUSO Connect to acquire new subscribers.


The Piracy Audience

There are many common misconceptions about piracy audiences, such as:

  • The pirate will never pay
  • The revenue is lost
  • It's too late, the horse has already bolted
  • We can’t do anything about it
  • Do people still pirate?
  • Pirates have no value

However, Independent research shows piracy audiences are highly engaged consumers of content. The 2018 “Global Online Piracy Study”, by the University of Amsterdam Institute of Information Law (IViR) researched the behaviours of 35,000 individuals across 13 countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Their findings indicate piracy audiences are significant consumers of both unlicensed and legal content:

“...demographically, illegal users resemble legal users quite closely...More importantly, for each content type and country, 95% or more of illegal users also consume content legally and their median legal consumption is typically twice that of legal users.”

MUSO’s piracy data also reveals a highly engaged audience of avid consumers and superfans willing to go through a sometimes challenging process to illegally stream or download a title. This active relationship with the content is driven by desire, rather than convenience or curated platform recommendations.

This is a valuable audience for entertainment companies; high-intent customers consuming their content but not currently paying for it. MUSO Connect allows advertisers to target these audiences via digital advertising.


What is MUSO Connect? 

MUSO Connect leverages MUSO’s piracy data (MUSO Discover) to build audience segments that can be used to programmatically target consumers of unlicensed content with relevant display or video advertising across mobile and desktop.

These segments are modelled on behavioural patterns specific to advertisers’ needs, for example - frequent consumers of a particular genre of content (eg. action movies), shows (eg. Game Of Thrones) or live events, (eg. Premier League football matches).

These audience segments are made available and published to the customer in the appropriate digital buying channel (eg. DSP) for campaign targeting.

It is important to note that MUSO Connect does not provide a mechanism for advertising on piracy sites or alongside any illegally placed content. Audience segments are used for programmatic ad targeting with the customer retaining control of the media buy. All data is GDPR compliant.


Case-Study: New Customer Acquisition

Video on Demand (VoD) is a highly competitive space with multiple VoD platforms vying for the same subscriber. 

An international broadcaster, launching their VoD platform into new territories, is currently targeting MUSO Connect audiences to acquire new customers in the most efficient and cost-effective way. 

MUSO identified users consuming the broadcaster’s content illegally in their launch regions and modelled a target audience based on behavioural insights associated with those users.

The resulting audience segments consisted of high-intent users that were ready to engage with the broadcaster's message and acquisition strategy.  

Ads targeted to the MUSO Connect audience segments are delivering significant reach and outstanding 3x campaign average CTR (click-through-rate) with the CPA (cost-per-acquisition) below the target metric. 

The net result is the client is converting motivated pirates into paying subscribers.


Widening The Brief

MUSO Connect audience segments are not only limited to driving customer acquisition for VoD platforms. MUSO’s piracy data reveals a wealth of behavioural attributes that can generate exciting and unique audience targeting opportunities across a wide range of scenarios.

Fans of specific music artists are prime for merchandise and live ticket sales. Cinema chains can use the data to create localised audiences based on consumption of specific films or genres. Sport betting companies can target frequent consumers of illegal live sport streams that also regularly visit gambling sites...the list is endless.

Whatever the brief, advertisers and their media agencies will find hidden audiences within MUSO Connect data, opening up innovative targeting opportunities that deliver results.

To find out more about how MUSO Connect can help you achieve outstanding campaign results, contact the MUSO Connect team at

About MUSO

MUSO is a data company that provides the most complete and trusted view of unlicensed media consumption and global piracy demand. MUSO’s unrivalled dataset measures a vast high intent audience that is not influenced by licensing restriction or platform bias. Whether protecting IP or building winning content strategies, MUSO helps companies make better decisions that drive performance, ROI and value.