Piracy on the rise
Film Piracy increased by 38.6% and visits to piracy websites for TV content grew by 8.8% in 2022 when compared with 2021. MUSO’s data points to the continuation of the rise in digital piracy for Film and TV in 2023, fueled by a combination of factors including the increasing volume of content post pandemic, releases being increasingly exclusive to a large number of legal subscription platforms and global inflationary and economic pressures.
This trend continues to be a major issue for the industry, significantly impacting the revenues and livelihoods of all involved - particularly smaller, independent creators - and damaging the wider economy.
A massive unseen global audience
From a technical perspective, digital piracy is another form of content delivery, because it allows for the distribution of content to a broad audience, however, the difference being that delivery can take place regardless of their geographic location or financial means.
Like legal services, film and TV piracy sites allow for immediate access to content, rather than having to wait for a physical copy to be delivered or for the film to be released in a certain country. This immediate access enables a nearly real-time view of a massive global audience that has previously been unseen or ignored.
Over the past two decades, this audience has been largely dismissed as not valuable, niche and irrelevant. This is somewhat understandable because the very act of watching a film on a piracy website means it is obtained illegally and for free. However, many studies and surveys have found a correlation between digital piracy and increased spending on legal content.
This is because many people who pirate content are avid consumers of media.
They turn to piracy to access content that is not available in their region or is not affordable at the time, but this audience will still spend significant sums on legal content when given the opportunity.
In fact, it can be argued that digital pirates are amongst the most dedicated consumers. They'll go to great lengths to watch the latest movies and TV shows, and they still have the means to consume them with home entertainment systems and fast internet connections.
Understanding this audience is now more important than ever
In many ways, the piracy audience mimics many of the behaviours seen in non-piracy audiences. However, piracy in itself is different and when viewed as a platform provides a unique set of conditions. Unlike the legal entertainment ecosystem, all titles are available everywhere, and for free.
By understanding piracy usage globally, the methods of delivery and regional variations, data driven Film and TV companies can not only protect their content but also see a true picture of demand, and make more informed decisions on content strategy and drive ROI from their portfolios.