At a time when OTT platforms are already struggling with dwindling subscribers and resorting to ad-supported content, another goliath is waking up: pirated downloads.
Akamai’s 2021 report shows that India ranked third globally in visits to hacking websites over the past year, with 6.5 billion. India was followed by the United States and Russia with 13.5 billion and 7.2 billion visits respectively.
Globally, this number reached 3.7 billion unlicensed streams and downloads during the period January-September 2021. Overall, the growth percentage jumped 16% during the same period. period.
In a report by Aiplex, Karan Bedi, CEO of MX Player, said he suffered a loss of $15-20 million in ad revenue as people regularly watched MX content through illegitimate means. Ashramone of their shows would have gained 20% more viewership if watched legally.
Now, this raises two more questions. First, why has this increase occurred in recent years? And where does it place OTT players?
Since people were kicked out of theaters during the pandemic and paying for OTT subscriptions was the only source of entertainment possible, piracy websites have made the most of it and provided viewers with the same content but for free.
The Aiplex report also added that because people receive results like “Watch Gangubai Kathiawadi Online Free” or “Download Scam 1992 1080p Free” on Google when searching for their favorite movies and shows, it’s no wonder that pirated content increases exponentially.
On the other hand, as Netflix prepares to launch ad-supported content, it has no plans to let its users watch or download their favorite movies and shows offline in the revamped subscription plan.
Not only Netflix but also its global competitors like HBO Max do not offer the offline content download feature in their budget packages. This means that users will have no choice but to subscribe to more expensive packs or download pirated content. And we all know which route traffic will take in this scenario.
Messaging apps that provide end-to-end encryption are also a source of pirated content today, Telegram being one of them. These platforms also allow users and hackers to infringe copyrighted content by masking their identities. Experts suggest that almost 90% of hacked data is shared via Telegram.
This puts policy makers and copyright owners in a responsible position. As a preventive measure, they should implement strict anti-piracy measures. Internet service providers can help implement security measures by blocking “untrusted” websites, thereby limiting the circulation of pirated content.
Even though content piracy is a long-standing issue, very little, if any, has had a negative impact on the rise of piracy in India. For the streaming giants, protecting their revenue, subscribers and content together will be a tightrope to walk on.
Click here to learn more about iStream Congress 2022