The New Face of Piracy — Everyone

Portfolio Marketing Manager

The next generation of pirated content is proving hard to resist for a broad base of users.

Offering unlimited access to shows, movies, music and games, packages now arrive with a slick interface that replicates, or in some instances, are easier to use then your legitimate streaming service.

These over the air streams, add-ons, social media and live streaming posts have changed the face of pirating. No longer is it the more tech-savvy users, scouring illicit torrent sites looking for the latest leak, but now people who would never think of pirating a show via torrent, or don’t have a clue what a “Cyber Locker” is, are loading up their streaming devices and using web browsers and mobile apps to access this stolen content.

“Kodi and the plugin system and the people who made these plugins have just dumbed down the process,” Dan Deeth, spokesperson for network-equipment company Sandvine, said in an article for Wired. “It's easy for anyone to use. It’s kind of set it and forget it. Like the Ron Popeil turkey roaster.”

The impact of this is significant. A recent study indicates that 6.5 percent of televisions in North America are accessing known pirated subscription services. That equates to 7 million potential subscribers and $4.2 billion per year going to pirates instead of legitimate channels. And that’s just those that have been detected, leaving millions of potential sets accessing illegal content unaccounted for.

While the bad news is that these channels have opened pirated content up to an entirely new demographic, the good news is that you can convert these people into legitimate consumers. Targeting those who would be more willing to pay, you can turn these current pirates back into paying customers.

As an example, a 2017 report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), whose global mission is to “promote the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music,” shows an increase of $9.4 billion dollars (19.1 percent) in digital revenue. People don’t mind paying for a legitimate service, and often those who pirate do indeed subscribe to a reputable service.

If they’re willing to pay, why the increase in piracy?

Some of the most common responses are difficulty to access, delayed availability, region and licensing issues and not being able to afford (or not wanting) subscriptions to so many services to watch the content they want.

What can I do about it?

Reframe your perception of who is pirating your content. Certainly, there will always be those out there who will do nothing but pirate, and of course, they do nothing to contribute to your revenue. However, there are those who are willing to pay, and that is the audience who you need to target.

Tips:
• Make sure they know all the channels where they can find your content.
• Make the price point attractive, which lowers the barrier to switch.
• Highlight the benefits of legitimate content – higher quality, consistent access, etc.
• Engage this group like they are customers waiting to be converted, not criminals.

From a protection standpoint, there are a number of tactics that have proven successful in combating latest threats of piracy:
Use a vendor who is in tune with how the industry is changing. Knowing how and who is accessing this digitally pirated material will help target your program.
New channels are too vast to monitor and enforce on without help from technology. Make sure you are engaging with a partner who is has the ability to cover these channels and who uses the latest in scanning, watermarking/fingerprinting, removal and reporting techniques.
Build worldwide relationships, from platforms to ISPs. Being able to call upon a global network to help remove this content is critical and will increase your chance of success.

It is as important as ever that your partner be sophisticated enough to deal with these new challenges. If you would like to learn more, contact MarkMonitor today.

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Alison Simpson
With more than 13 years’ experience in the domain industry, Alison has managed all aspects of Corporate Domain Managem... More