The importance of understanding the global piracy landscape

The importance of understanding the global piracy landscape

Global digital piracy continues to pose a significant threat to the entertainment industries. With a staggering 229.4 billion visits to piracy websites in 2023, representing a 6.7% increase from the previous year, piracy is on the rise across all media sectors. This data underscores the critical importance for industries to gain a deeper understanding of the piracy landscape in order to make informed decisions to combat this pressing issue.

The Digital Age has ushered in a new age of entertainment, one that offers viewers unparalleled convenience and access to entertainment, thanks to the advent of streaming services and digital media. Today, users can easily access entertainment online, whether it is movies, TV shows, music, or even print media. 

However, it has also birthed a persistent challenge for industries across the board: piracy. In the vast expanse of the internet, where content is freely available at the click of a button, digital piracy has consistently grown across various media sectors. 

As piracy becomes increasingly normalised, it has become a threat to the protection of digital rights and the revenue streams of creators and rights-holders. 


Importance of Understanding Piracy Trends

As we have seen an increasing growth in piracy numbers over the past seven years, it is evident that piracy has become normalised for a considerable portion of the global audience. As piracy audiences continue to adapt, especially amidst changing trends in global content consumption and cultural demand, media companies need to better understand piracy trends. 

By getting insights into piracy and unlicensed consumer behaviour, media companies and rights-holders can better understand global demand for their content and possibly convert this challenge into an opportunity. 

MUSO, a leading authority in measuring piracy activity, has been tracking piracy trends since 2017, providing invaluable insights into the scale and impact of piracy across various industries.


Piracy Trends of 2023

In 2023, MUSO measured a staggering 229.4 billion visits to piracy websites, marking a 6.7% increase compared to 2023. What's more alarming is that this surge isn't confined to a single sector; rather, it permeates across all industries, from TV to publishing and software. This shows the persistent challenge faced by media companies and legislative bodies across all entertainment industries.

TV Piracy

The television industry witnessed a significant spike in piracy activity, with the United States accounting for over 13.8% of all visits to TV piracy sites. Interestingly, anime emerged as a dominant force in global piracy, with 8 out of 10 top titles attracting piracy audiences worldwide. 

Publishing Content

Meanwhile, the publishing sector experienced a similar paradigm shift, with manga (Japanese comic books and graphic novels) surpassing film piracy to become the second most pirated medium. Accounting for 69.2% of content on unlicensed publishing websites, the global demand for manga has propelled publishing piracy to new heights. 

Film Piracy

Although film piracy saw an increase of 6.5% year-on-year, a significant decline of 24.6% was observed in the second half of 2023 compared to the first half. There could be many reasons behind this fluctuation, such as the release of fewer big-budget titles. However, it does present a glimmer of hope for the industry if the trend persists into 2024.

Music Piracy

In recent years, music piracy has seen a decline, due to the rise of non-exclusive streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. A double-digit percentage rise in 2023 hence has raised some concerns within the industry. 

Software Piracy

In terms of software piracy, Russia accounted for 8.55% of piracy activity, closely followed by the United States and China. Unlicensed mobile software sites, which offer thousands of unlocked copies of paid applications such as Spotify and Youtube Premium, garnered over 35% of the traffic. 


Learn More on Global Piracy Trends

At the end of the day, piracy remains a formidable challenge across all industries and requires a proactive approach from stakeholders to safeguard digital rights and combat illicit activities. 

With the right strategies and insights, the industry can turn the tide against piracy, ensuring a sustainable future for creators, rights-holders, and audiences alike.

Rather than viewing piracy solely as a threat, media companies and right-holders should view it as a multi-billion dollar opportunity. Tapping into data on unlicensed consumer behaviour presents a unique opportunity for the media and entertainment industry. 

By understanding and adapting to the evolving needs of the global audience, media companies can not only mitigate the impact of piracy but also unlock new avenues for revenue generation. 


To learn more about piracy trends and how media companies can utilise this data to gain a competitive edge, get your free copy of our Piracy By Industry 2023 report today! 

Insider/ Article