Piracy To Profit: Unlicensed Audience Data As An Opportunity In The Entertainment Industry

Piracy To Profit: Unlicensed Audience Data As An Opportunity In The Entertainment Industry

New data from Kearney and MUSO, shows that visits to unlicensed global video content sites will have risen to an estimated 141 billion in 2023, increasing by 12% since 2019. In their new report, Kearney, the leading global consultancy in the Media and Entertainment (M&E) sector, details why unlicensed content demand (commonly referred to as piracy), is now vital to gain competitive advantage in the film and TV content markets. 


In the media and entertainment (M&E) industry, content piracy is not a new challenge. Content piracy has plagued the M&E industry for decades and has only been exacerbated as digital content piracy becomes more prevalent than ever. 

Online content piracy has been a persistent challenge, syphoning revenue streams and undermining the value of creative content. In fact, according to the new report from Kearney and MUSO, online video piracy is estimated to cost the global media industry a whopping $74 billion per year in revenue. 

However, amidst this struggle, advanced data analytics offers an opportunity for M&E organisations to not only analyse piracy demand patterns but also to harness these patterns and take advantage of them to transform them into commercial opportunities.

While digital content piracy continues to pose challenges for the M&E sector, it also presents an untapped opportunity. According to Kearney, recouping just a quarter of the revenue leakage from piracy could bolster the global broadcast and xVOD market value by 6%.


Commercialising Unlicensed Consumers

The key to capitalising on this opportunity lies in understanding the consumer market and the reasoning behind unlicensed audience behaviour. 

In the piracy market, Kearney have identified three main segments:

  1. Unashamed: people who knowingly consume pirated content that is also available legally 
  2. Unaware: people who consume pirated content but do not know they are using an illegal site
  3. Unwilling: people who are knowingly consuming pirated content, but only because it is not available legally in their market or because the legal service has technical or commercial limitations

According to the Kearney report, the last group of people, the unwilling pirates, while regularly overlooked, present the biggest opportunity to recoup this lost revenue. Most of the time, these viewers are willing to pay but have no means or opportunity to do so. 

By having a deep, data-driven understanding of behaviour and a targeted commercial strategy, M&E organisations can craft targeted interventions aimed at enticing these viewers to legitimate channels. 


The Potential of Unlicensed Demand Data


This is where unlicensed audience demand data can come into the picture to help M&E companies understand piracy trends, which impacts how they perceive and engage with piracy. 

Unlicensed audience demand data measures a high-intent audience that is not influenced by licensing restriction or platform bias; this data tracks visits and consumption of content from unlicensed sources within the digital piracy ecosystem. This vast pool of data provides insights into audience behaviour unrestricted by geographical or platform boundaries.

By tapping into this unlicensed demand data, M&E companies gain access to a treasure trove of user information, allowing them to uncover emerging content trends, identify new markets, and capitalise on opportunities for potential customer conversion.


The Role of Data Analytics and AI

To handle these vast amounts of data, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) emerge as indispensable tools. These technologies enable M&E organisations to diagnose the root causes of piracy, segment and profile illegal users, and ultimately innovate across product design, pricing strategies, distribution channels, revenue management, and customer loyalty programs.

Leveraging this unlicensed audience data grants M&E companies a key opportunity to start making more data-informed decisions that drive performance, maximise return on investment (ROI), and unlock new sources of value. 

As the M&E industry stands at the edge of transformation with the accelerating threat of piracy, the ability to harness unlicensed audience data is a pivotal opportunity for growth and innovation. 

By embracing unlicensed demand data, analytics and AI, companies can better navigate the complexities surrounding piracy, mitigate revenue losses, and unlock the latent value behind content piracy. 


Want to find out how unlicensed audience data can help maximise the value of your content? Kearney, sourcing MUSO data, has released a report that delves deeper into unlicensed audience data and how it is now crucial in gaining a competitive edge in the M&E industry, 


Get your free copy of the report here

Insider/ Article