74% watching pirated sports could switch to legal sources worth $28B

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Now the impact of piracy has been well established, the latest in a series of reports released by Ampere Analysis and Synamedia focuses on the positive impact of campaigns directed toward consumers toward reducing that impact.

The report responds to the question: “Where would consumers go if pirate sources were ended?,” and finds that anti-piracy efforts could have direct results.

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Rather than treating all consumers as a monolithic bloc, the report says that focusing mainly on those taking other legal video services is more likely to redirect illegal consumption toward legal channels.  The report identifies segments who are most likely to be positively influenced.

Some highlights

  • 44% of pay TV consumers and 30% of OTT consumers taking illegal services could be willing to convert if a legal alternative was the only option (e.g. if the pirate service was shut down)
  • The value of that 74% is $28.3 Billion (every 10% reduction in illegal viewing was estimated to be worth $2.8B).
  • 93% of those who are willing to convert are already taking pay TV services – which says that marketing campaigns promoting sports programming packages could be effective
  • The greatest trigger to seek pirate sources was the lack of availability through legitimate providers. Only a small minority of them are motivated to consume from pirate sources for financial reasons.
  • 40% of those who convert to legal services would prefer streaming (19% of gained revenue potential); the other 60% preferring pay TV (81% of potential gain).  But, rather than ignoring OTT’s potential in favor of the bigger gain for pay TV, operators should view them as complementary to one another.

The remaining 26% is deemed to have no potential to be converted to legal services, and therefore not worth the effort in trying.

Global piracy hotspots translate into revenue potential (Source: Synamedia and Ampere Analysis)


The report is the result of a survey of 6,000 sports fans aged 16-64 in 10 countries, who identified as taking at least some illegal sports streaming services.  The survey was taken in March 2020; prior to the COVID lockdown.  It used a formal statistical analysis to arrive at its conclusions.

Access the report (signup form): “Fighting Piracy: The Value of Action” by Ampere Analysis and Synamedia

Why it matters

A wealth of reporting by many sources brings ample evidence that piracy is rampant and remains so today. It’s comforting to see studies that go beyond a ‘the sky is falling’ message, to focus on what can be done about it; especially when it isn’t about shouldering technology investments.

Parks Associates published the report Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks and Impact, written by myself in early 2020; which estimated that the value of pirated services accessed by pay TV and non pay TV subscribers (all content genres) would exceed $67B worldwide by 2023.

Consumer education is part an ecosystem approach against piracy.  Other components of an effectivel anti-piracy initiative include the effective application of technology to recognize, measure and counteract the problem; and collaboration among rights holders, distributors, law enforcement and regulators.

(Updated March 16 to add comments made by Synamedia executives during a Synamedia call with industry media)

Steve Hawley

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