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Pre-empting video piracy in the streaming TV era

Report by Tim Mulligan
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20,000 foot view:  Video piracy had been downgraded as a significant disruptive risk in the era of subscription video on demand (SVOD) and free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST). While peer-to-peer        file-sharing piracy is a declining niche activity at        penetration, streaming piracy is has slightly increased to        as the cost-of living crisis and recessionary fears increase the use case for piracy among digital entertainment consumers. IP holders ultimately need to integrate post-ad and post-subscriber monetisation models into either their own, or their partner distribution platforms. In this way they can outcompete the pirated distributors by offering de-commodified, fan-centric experiences.

Key insights 

  • Piracy is contained for now with a consistent niche tier of consumers engaging in this behaviour
  • Streaming piracy has increased from        in        2022 to        in        2022, however, it remains within the long-term average range of        over        2021 –        2022
  • Neither income nor age is closely correlated to streaming piracy, implying that current complacency regarding piracy is at risk of underplaying the cost-of-living crisis and recessionary risks that could fuel piracy growth if video remains commodified
  • Video streaming pirates over-index for SVOD consumption, suggesting that this segment is heavily engaged with video and could be open to novel forms of monetisation
  • Video services will optimally offset piracy risks when they create value exchanges that are unique to their offerings; areas of focus include digital tokens, IRL exclusives, in-content shoppable TV exclusives, and in-app customisation

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: IBCAP, NAGRA, Netflix, Screen iL,       

Methodological note: Due to the sensitivity of fielding questions to elicit self-reported consumer behavioural insights on piracy, streaming piracy is defined as accessing streaming TV shows without ads or login details being used.

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