SVOD Services Correlate With Lower Rates of Video Piracy
In groundbreaking research on video piracy, London-based Ampere Analysis shows a correlation between large drops in piracy and the availability of unlimited streaming subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services.
Looking at 10 North American and European markets for the last 3 years, Ampere shows that the presence of legal services led to a decline in piracy. In all, 7% of consumers with internet access engaged in video piracy in some way (such as torrents, lockers, or pirate sports services) in Q1 2016. By Q1 2019, the average dropped to 4%.
The greatest change took place in Spain, a country with high video piracy. There, the rate dropped from 12% in Q1 2017 to 7% in Q1 2019. Spain saw a 47% increase in SVOD and catch-up streaming, and a 45% decrease in the number of people turning to pirate services.
In the U.S., piracy rates dropped from 9% in Q1 2017 to 4% in Q1 2019. The one exception was Denmark where piracy rose slightly from 3% to 4% in the same time period.
While industry activity such as better enforcement of piracy sites and pirate search engines likely played a role in the decline, Ampere says there is a strong negative correlation between a rise in legal online video streaming and a decline in piracy.
Ampere cautions that access to legal streaming services by itself isn't enough to lower piracy. Those services have to be attractive to consumers and have content that people want to stream in order for piracy rates to fall.
While this analysis doesn't show a direct causation between legal SVOD services and lower piracy, the data points to the first reliable method for reducing piracy. As StreamingMedia.com has reported, vendors that sell anti-video piracy services have never been able to prove the same results for their solutions.
Putting a price tag on the impact of digital piracy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that global online piracy costs the U.S. economy $29.2 billion in lost revenue every year.
Tokens? Watermarking? DRM? Content owners try them all, but as of today there's no foolproof solution. Perhaps the way forward isn't with higher walls, but new experiences.
Video piracy is widespread, but there's no consensus on how big the problem is or the best response to it. Are the biggest media companies in Hollywood throwing their money away trying to fight it?