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Inclined to stop watching pirated content, say 50% consumers: Irdeto

NEW DELHI: Despite the high number of consumers around the globe watching pirated video content (52%), nearly half (48%) would stop or watch less illegal content after learning the damage that piracy causes the media industry.

This willingness by nearly half of consumers to change their viewing habits would mean a huge impact that education could have on reducing the number of people who pirate video content.

This was one of the main findings of The Global Consumer Piracy Survey of more than 25,000 adults across 30 countries conducted by major leader in digital platform security Irdeto. The report was made public in a Cable Congress in Brussles in Belgium.

The positive outcome of an industry-wide education initiative could have the most impact in Latin America and Asia-Pacific regon.

The survey showed that fifty-nine percent of consumers who watch pirated content in Latin America and 55% in APAC stated they would watch less or stop watching pirated video content after learning that piracy results in revenue loss from studios, affecting investments in future content creation.

APAC (61%) and Latin America (70%) had the most consumers who admitted to watching pirated content, while those in Europe (45%) and the US (32%) said they pirate the least. These results indicate that consumers in Europe and the US have more access to the content they desire, reducing their need to watch pirated content.

The survey also showed that 18 to 24 year old consumers in India (20%) were the most likely to watch pirated content on a streaming device. Around 52% percent of consumers in China in this age bracket indicated that mobile devices are their preferred method of consuming pirated content (that is, smartphones or tablets).

Conversely, only 45% in Europe and 38% of respondents from the United States said that they would watch less or stop watching pirated content. This indicates that simply educating consumers in these regions about damages associated with revenue loss may not be enough.

However, an education initiative focusing on piracy’s impact on the creative process of producing content, coupled with knowledge on how piracy is often linked to criminal organizations and that pirated content could include malware aimed at stealing consumer’s personal information, may resonate better in those markets, according to an Irdeto release.

Irdeto CEO Doug Lowther said: “A battle is being waged in the media & entertainment industry. Legal content offerings are no longer only competing against each other. Pirates have undoubtedly grown into a formidable foe that should not be ignored. With more than half of consumers openly admitting to watching pirated content, it is crucial that the industry tackle piracy head-on. To do so will require technology and services to protect the legal content as well as a comprehensive education program to help change the behavior of consumers. Coupled with a 360-degree anti-piracy strategy, the market is fully prepared to take the battle against piracy to the next level.”

The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Survey also showed an illegal vs legal awareness gap: While many consumers across the globe recognize that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal (70%), far fewer people are aware that streaming or downloading (watching the content) is also against the law (59%). In Latin America, this gap was widest with 75% of respondents stating that producing or sharing pirated content is illegal, compared to only 60% recognizing that streaming or downloading is illegal.

The overall survey results suggest that more education may be required around the globe to educate consumers that engaging in any form of piracy (producing, sharing, downloading or streaming) is illegal, Irdeto said.

In nearly every country surveyed, many consumers recognize that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal. But the survey found that this was not the case in Russia. A staggering 87% of respondents do not think that producing or sharing pirated video content is illegal. In addition, 66% believe that it is not illegal to download or stream pirated video content.

Laptops were universally the preferred device for the consumption of pirated video content. Consumers in Europe (65%), APAC (45%), Latin America (53%) and the US (41%) stated that this was their most frequent method of consuming pirated content. However, a shift has already started, with many 18 to 24 year old youngsers surveyed indicating that they use mobile or streaming devices the most to watch or access pirated video content.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) cracked the top five in both categories, indicating that its population of 18 to 24 year old people are ahead of the curve when it comes to using mobile or streaming devices instead of laptops to view pirated video content.

Interestingly, the Kodi box only registered as a top device to pirate content in the UK, with 11% of pirating consumers using the streaming device to access illegal content. The second highest percentage was in Portugal where 6% of consumers use Kodi to access pirated content. The highest percentage of Kodi users in the UK were in the 35-44 and 55+ age groups at 18% each. This is in stark contrast to the 3% of 18-24 year old’s using a Kodi box to pirate content.

Movies that are currently being shown in cinemas/theaters (27%) and TV series (21%) were the most popular types of pirated content. Also, while live sports piracy is a growing industry problem, one surprise in the survey results was the percentage of pirating consumers who indicated that live sports was the type of pirated video content they were most interested in. The only countries that listed it in their top two were Portugal (25%), Egypt (23%) and GCC (19%).

While the negative impact of live sports piracy is already being felt by the industry, this indicates that the market still has an opportunity to educate consumers about the damage that piracy causes the live sports space before the problem grows even larger. This education will be especially important for males as more men in each country indicated that live sports is the type of content they are most interested in pirating, while a majority of women prefer to pirate TV series.

“Education around the negative impact of piracy on both the industry and the consumers themselves is an important element of any anti-piracy strategy,” said Irdeto vice-president of services Rory O’Connor. “The results of this survey show that many countries are open to change. To elicit this change in consumer habits will take a concerted effort from all the industry players to not only educate consumers about the negative impact of piracy, but also continued innovation to address the three elements of consumer choice – content, value and convenience.”

The survey was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted online from 29 December 2016 to 16 February 2017 by YouGov Plc. A total of 25,738 adults (aged 18+) in 30 countries agreed to take part in the survey. Countries surveyed include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, GCC (GCC region cluster comprised of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman), Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and US. Figures have been weighted appropriately to be representative of adults in each country (e.g. nationally representative, urban representative, online representative).

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