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Live Television Piracy a Multi-Billion Dollar Problem for Communications Service Providers

Sandvine report reveals that 6.5% of North American households access paid pirate TV services each month

Fremont, Calif.(01 Nov 2017)

Sandvine, a global leader in network intelligence, today released a Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight report focusing on paid subscription television piracy services. The report reveals that 6.5% of households in North America are accessing pirated live television services each month, an adoption rate that may cost Communication Service Providers (CSPs) over $4 billion in revenue this year.

The report is based on data collected from multiple fixed access networks in North America and examines the mechanics, economics, and usage drivers of pirated television services. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Pirate television services could generate over 800 million dollars annually for the operators
  • Many pirate television configurations stream 24/7, whether users are watching or not, resulting in many users generating over 1TB of “phantom bandwidth” across their network each month
  • The Mayweather vs. MacGregor boxing match in August accounted for 80% of all pirate streams the evening it occured, and the event may have been watched by 1% of all households in North America
  • Premium television, live sports, news, and international content are the main drivers of pirate television usage

“Continued adoption of pirate video and television streaming services could lead to increased cord-cutting and create ‘cord-nevers,' people who never sign-up for a standard TV subscription. This will significantly impact CSPs’ revenue and profitability, undermining the business models that keep them operating.” said Lyn Cantor, CEO, Sandvine. “The active network intelligence that Sandvine provides can help CSPs monitor the threat that pirate television services pose, while  also supporting law enforcement and regulatory efforts aimed at preventing the proliferation of illegal streaming services.”

The Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight, as well as a whitepaper that details the technical aspects of pirate television ecosystem is available for download from the “Fraud Trends” page on



Sandvine’s Network Intelligence portfolio is unique in helping network operators transform their businesses by leveraging in-line closed loop automation to reduce costs while simultaneously delivering better service to their subscribers.