Philippines: In 2020, 47% of piracy site visitors cancelled legal services

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The Philippines ranks third for piracy among eight East- and Southeast Asian countries, according to Philippines In View 2021, a report developed by YouGov and published in July by AVIA, the Asia Video Industry Association.  A late-2020 survey estimated that 66% of consumers visited piracy Web sites and 47% of those consumers cancelled legitimate local and international content subscriptions.  This report also quoted a research estimate by Media Partners Asia, that the 2020 monetary loss to video producers, distributors and aggregators was US$120 million.

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A report published in February 2021 by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) found that 40% of all reported piracy was for movies and TV shows, and that 90% of IP violation reports were from online platforms; with 61% of that through Facebook.

Why it matters

In 2020, the COVID pandemic, declining television ownership, extreme weather, a consumer perception that content accessed over the Internet is “free,” and the shut-down of the free-to-air and radio channels of one of the country’s major broadcast networks (ABS-CBN) all constituted challenges to the Filipino media and entertainment industry.

The report summarizes that “in recent years, there have been serious efforts and campaigns to fight and contain piracy.  Individuals, groups, private companies, lawmakers and government agencies cooperate and advocate counter-piracy programs to considerable effect.”  But – as is also the case worldwide – the Philippines has remained unable to completely win the battle.

A proactive response by the authorities

In March 2021, IPOPHL was empowered to take the lead in fighting online counterfeiting and piracy in the Philippines, with rules that give offenders 72 hours – down from the previous 60 days – to take corrective action.  It also grants expanded enforcement powers to the Philippines’ Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Office (IEO).

IPOPHL also signed an MOU with Filipino ISPs in April to establish site blocking processes. as well as a separate MOU with AVIA to develop a framework for piracy monitoring and site blocking.

Some further background

While TV ownership declined somewhat across most urban, suburban and rural areas, OTT services continued to grow.  More than 99% of the nearly 74 million Internet users in the Philippines (Ages 16-64) watch videos online every month.  The country leads the world in Internet usage, at 11 hours per day across 67% of all Filipino households. Among mobile users, 92% used entertainment and video apps in January 2021 and 69% watched TV via a streaming subscription in 2020.

The report is available to AVIA members.  Piracy Monitor thanks AVIA for providing a preview of the data.

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