Piracy in the Age of IP Video

Piracy costs the video industry literally tens of billions of dollars a year, and big media companies aren’t the only ones to suffer. It also hurts individual artists and creative professionals that are simply trying to make a living and subjects average video consumers to cyberattacks and ransomware without their knowledge until it’s too late.

What is Video Piracy?

In a nutshell, it’s copyright infringement and it’s theft.

Video piracy is carried out by those who seek to profit by redistributing stolen video services on a mass scale.  It can happen anywhere there’s a hand-off between two processes, from video capture and production, breaches in data centers, broadcast and headend facilities, CAS breaches, in distribution and the cloud, from within consumer devices, by stealing access credentials, and more.

Pirates masquerade as legitimate service providers by using professionally designed experiences and high production values. Consumers are lured in by lineups and prices that seem too good to be true.

So, why are we here?

Piracy Monitor’s Managing Director Steve Hawley says:

“Video piracy has been somewhat below the radar until just recently.  I started to notice low-key reporting about it in my ‘peripheral vision’ in 2018.

“Getting multiscreen / interactive TV and advertising to work has distracted the video industry from the serious issue of theft.  But now, video providers (not just pay TV) have become so squeezed – between increasing content costs and consumer pressure on price – that anti-piracy is finally being seen as a way to stay afloat.

“This is why we need an independent voice and this is why we launched Piracy Monitor.”

Why should we care?

In North America alone, it is estimated that 6.5% of Pay TV and Telco broadband consumers in 2017 accessed known video piracy sites.  Piracy of a single pay-per-event (a prize fight) was estimated to cost one TV network more than 130 million views. Other estimates hold that in some countries, as many as half of all streaming video consumers get their programming through pirate devices and sites.

It isn’t just bad for business: piracy creates huge headaches for consumers, from stolen passwords, implanted malware and ransomware, and exposure to huge broadband bills when their user accounts are hijacked.  Scores of low-cost illicit streaming devices are available to consumers at retail.

By 2022, an estimated 20% of all consumer video traffic over fixed broadband access will go to connected TV sets and 40% of it will go to mobile. Piracy has made illegal use and rights-infringement a worldwide concern.

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