Piracy Costs the U.S. Economy $29.2B Yearly, 80% From Streaming
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. Streaming video piracy is by far the largest part of that, with over 80% of all piracy due to illegal streaming.
Video piracy has seen a huge upswing in recent years. The study notes that just a few years back BitTorrent downloads made up 40% of all online video piracy, but today over 80% of video piracy comes from streaming services. A network of devices and apps make it easy for viewers to watch unauthorized live and on-demand content from their television screens.
U.S.-created movies are pirated roughly 26.6 billion times each year, while U.S.-created TV shows are pirated 126.7 billion times. Most illegal streaming takes place outside the U.S.
“The recent proliferation of streaming services and content exemplifies what happens when innovative technologies rapidly transform an industry," says Jonathan Weinberger, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center. "Now, you can watch your favorite team live on your smart device anywhere in the world. However, because there is such rapid change to the industry, it presents an opportunity to those who aim to take advantage of these ubiquitous new technologies. Digital piracy is now a serious problem that significantly harms the U.S. economy and the innovators who drive it."
Weinberger believes a coordinated effort both in the U.S. and abroad is needed to combat illegal streaming and strengthen IP protections.
The Global Innovation Policy Center, working with NERA Economic Consulting, created a report, Impacts of Digital Video Piracy on the U.S. Economy (a free download, no registration required), that explains its calculations in detail.
Ampere Analysis shows a correlation between large drops in video piracy and the availability of unlimited streaming SVOD services.
Twentieth-Century Fox's Ron Wheeler, Kudelski Group's David Wurgler, and Verimatrix' Petr Peterka, discuss the current state of streaming piracy in this clip from Streaming Media West 2018.
Curtailing video piracy could be as simple as cutting off the money that funds it. Irdeto points a finger at Visa, MasterCard, and other payment systems.
Keeping premium content from being freely distributed online will take a mix of criminal and civil charges, as well as a coordinated response.
The gap between legitimate streaming revenues and piracy losses is widening. While piracy isn't stopping, there are signs it's slowing.