Using its piracy measurement platform, MUSO identified 182 billion visits to piracy Web sites from January through December 2021, up about 15% over 2020.
Q4 2021’s visit rate was 15% higher than Q1’s; the highest demand for any quarter since Q3 of 2017. Compared with 2019 and 2021, 2020’s TV piracy had been down due to reduced live sports programming during the COVID pandemic.
Streaming accounted for 95% of consumption, which is similar to the rate seen for legal consumption. About 60% of visitors to piracy sites accessed them directly, about 28% by search engine results, and the rest by social media, referrals, ads and mail.
The report ranks the top ten season television programs, in terms of demand over piracy sites, with Loki Season 1 in first place, followed by Squid Game Season 1. Game of Thrones Season 8 was number seven.
Film piracy was up 31% over the course of 2021, and was up by 47% in the US as a reflection of blockbuster films released in the later months of the year.
A version of MUSO’s platform data was also quoted in Akamai’s 2022 ‘Pirates in the Outfield‘ report.
Why it matters
A variety of approaches have been used to estimate the amount of pirate traffic running over the Internet. MUSO monitors thousands of infringing sites and IP addresses that the company has accumulated in its database since the it was established. Sandvine offers measurement solutions based around deep packet inspection technology. A 2019 paper by SCTE describes the use IP metadata to discern characteristics of IP streams without looking at the payload. Network service providers like Akamai can measure traffic that traverses its network.
None of these approaches are all-encompassing – no measurement of any phenomenon can be fully accurate – but they do demonstrate the reality of piracy and provide insights as to its evolution.