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Video: Is Streaming Content Piracy Getting Worse?

Learn more about anti-piracy strategy and technology at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete video of this presentation from Streaming Media West, OTT103. Locked Out & Locked Up: The State of Streaming Piracy and What You Can Do to Protect Your Content in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Ron Wheeler: From a user perspective, piracy has never been easier or higher-quality, and therefore a more direct substitute for a cable subscription or satellite subscription or frankly, even Netflix or Amazon. I mean, it's not limited to so called traditional business models. It's a perfect substitute for paying for content in any form. 

David Wurgler: It's getting worse because the quality of the piracy services is so much better than it used to be. So, now it's not just a matter of maybe you can get one VOD stream from somewhere, whatever. Now, you get boxes with thousands and thousands of linear TV, live TV, live events, live sports, and then, on top of that, they have thousands and thousands and thousands of films and videos, whatever in the VOD catalogs in the boxes and they will sell them for nine, 10, 15 bucks a month. And that content is easily good enough to bring it to the big screen and home and the living room and so on. So that's actually a serious contender to what's used to be. Used to be on the internet, in the teenage rooms, the kids were surfing around, finding a stream for something and then they had to surf around, find another stream or they had to download something and wait for whatever. Now, it's with the remote, it's in the living room. It's for the family. So, in that aspect, it's getting worse. Now, there are a lot of tools available. The thing is everybody needs to implement all these tools and everybody needs to cooperate with each other to get to that point.

Petr Peterka: I agree with what you said. and I started kind of on a negative note, but I think at the same time, I think some of the stats and maybe Ron, you have more data, people also watch more content legally, right? So, we are doing something right, but we haven't solved the problem because piracy is getting easier, right? In the old days, it was just going to show access, make sure it gets to the right person and then protect the smart card, right? It was kind of easy then, but now, content is distributed over any network to any device and the same technology that enables this proliferation of legal content, these all streaming and OTT that we are talking about, the very same tools are being used by the bad guys, right? The same encoding that is now available on every phone. The almost unlimited bandwidth that allows people to do re-streaming, they use the same technology to run their business.

David Wurgler: For the regular consumers, it's immensely difficult to find out who is the real good guys, who are the bad guys, right? You know, my mom wouldn't know. She really wouldn't know if she were buying a pirate service or a legitimate service, ya know? Look at the logos, look at the quality of service. They even have customer service that you can call them up and probably sometimes a shorter wait than the regular guys. It's crazy. So, in that aspect, there's a lot of learnings that we need to get out there. The public needs to know what's going on as well. So, it's a huge effort that we need to go from.

Ron Wheeler: There is a little bit more of a recognition of this now, among the distribution community. And frankly, they're the ones who are now paying the sort of prices that we've been paying since Napster was invented in the late 1990s and they're losing customers. So, the cord-cutting phenomenon is usually described more or less exclusively as an economic thing, where it's just too expensive for your cable subscription, but there is all kind of documentation that the availability of free or low cost, a lot of them aren't free actually, but much lower cost, pirate services is a factor in cord cutting. So, what I've seen is this distribution community starting to get interested. They're the ones who actually have the customer information. They're the ones who can know who's engaged in ridiculous amounts of uploading or downloading of content using their broadband subscription that they have and they're starting to now count that information and it's literally just now happening. They're starting to count the number of their broadband customers engaged in piracy and they know that those people used to have video subscriptions from them or from someone else. And so, in that regard, we're starting to home in on what has been, essentially, an amorphous sense of the millions and millions of people around the world engaged in piracy to now like, how many Comcast subscribers are… We're starting to get to that level and it's for the first time, ever. So, again, first you have to know what the scope of your problem is before you can get interested in solving it. So, from that perspective, things are getting better in terms of awareness.

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