News OTT/Video Streaming

Halving losses from online video piracy: New research findings

The Edgeware, YouGov research found that 50% of viewers would be unlikely to watch pirated content if they knew it was watermarked.


CDN technology provider, Edgeware, and YouGov, an international data and analytics group, has found that the billions lost to online piracy could be halved by putting in place anti-piracy measures. Edgeware’s research titled: TV piracy research – watermarking could save billions of dollars a year, found that 50% of viewers who said they would watch pirated content, would be dissuaded from doing so if they knew a programme they were watching could be tracked back to its source using forensic watermarking.

The YouGov and Edgeware online research looked into the extent of illegal online television consumption and the impact of anti-piracy measures. The research surveyed more than 4000 people globally and found that 39% of viewers are likely to watch pirated content on-demand by downloading or streaming illegally shared versions of popular film and TV. At the same time more than one fifth (21%) said they would watch live events – like live sports – from unsolicited online sources.

The study found that 29% of viewers watch pirated content at least once per month, 39% of viewers are likely to watch pirated TV or films online, and 21% are likely to watch pirated sports content.

Significantly 50% of viewers would be unlikely to watch pirated content if they knew it was watermarked. The most cited reasons for viewers watching pirated content is its ease of availability (32%), followed by cost (24%).

Piracy due to the downloading of TV and films alone is set to cost the industry $52bn per year by 2022, with the US suffering the greatest loss at $11.6bn. These figures don’t include losses from the live sports market in which rights are worth $43bn a year. If the 21% of adults who were likely to watch pirated sports events did so, the loss of revenue from live sports events – as outlined in the Edgeware research – could equate to content owners losing upwards of $9bn per year.

“The illegal distribution of programming is a huge problem for content distributors and owners with piracy costing them billions in lost revenue,” said Richard Brandon from Edgeware. “This research has shown that digitally watermarking content as it’s streamed will have a significant benefit. Those watching pirating content could drop by half and then forensic watermarking will also make it faster and easier to identify those illegally distributing content.”

Edgeware’s watermarking solution will be demonstrated at the 2018 NAB Show between April 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.