Comedy no laughing matter in entertainment content piracy | Media Analysis | Business | News

The value of entertainment piracy now affects piracy in the entertainment market, which, like sports, is three times larger than sports piracy, according to research by video software provider Cinemedia.
Synamedia Avigail 2Feb2023
The study by Ampere Analysis analyzed the impact of sports and entertainment piracy involving 16,000 consumers in Brazil, Italy, India, Germany, Thailand, the UK and the US and estimated the revenue generated by converting pirated viewers into legal subscribers.

A striking finding is that comedy is the most pirated category of entertainment, led by titles including Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Ted Lasso, with half of pirate viewers streaming comedy illegally. It follows Action and Adventure genre and Crime and Thriller genre respectively.

The data revealed that stopping piracy of a single Hollywood movie release could generate between $130 million and $280 million in revenue in the US alone, with superhero blockbusters offering the biggest opportunities. Cinemedia noted that for a popular title like Spider-Man: No Way Home, stopping piracy could lead to potential revenue for the studio streaming service of more than $400, based on the actual annual lifetime value of streaming subscribers.

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And if piracy were to end, the company said, sports would generate $9.8 billion in revenue across the seven markets surveyed, though that figure dwarfs the potential to unlock an additional $21.8 billion in revenue by converting movie and TV pirates into legal services. .

Looking regionally, Cinemedia’s report found that of the seven countries surveyed, the U.S. was the biggest gainer market, at $13.7 billion a year, with an additional $5 billion related to sports if movie and TV piracy were stopped. This would generate $5.9 billion in annual revenue for US streaming providers, with the 28 most pirated movie and TV titles alone generating up to $1.8 billion in new revenue. Piracy was lowest in Germany, Italy and the UK. But by stopping piracy and converting pirate viewers to legal subscribers in the UK, video providers and content owners have the potential to unlock $1.36 billion a year for entertainment and $1.17 billion for sports.

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Unsurprisingly, Star Sports found football to be a piracy attraction, and while available on free-to-air TV, the FIFA World Cup was the most pirated tournament or league. Cinemedia reflects its popularity globally, but it indicated that even free content is vulnerable to piracy if fans are already using illegal sites to access other sports content. The UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League are at the second and third positions respectively. The only non-football league to make the top ten is the NBA. After football, the most popular sports to watch on pirate services in the seven countries surveyed were cricket and kabaddi, led by pirates in the Indian subcontinent, and badminton, led by pirates in Asia.

“Unless the industry takes action, the fragmentation of premium content in the current economic climate will drive viewers to paid and free piracy services. This represents a real risk for rights holders, broadcasters and streaming providers,” commented Avigail Gutman, vice president of intelligence and security operations at Cinemedia (pictured). “Operators can combat the rise of piracy by ensuring that content is easy to find and meet customers’ demands for mobile-first services, more aggregated services and billing, as well as using tools and techniques to protect content and services.”

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Guy Bisson, executive director and co-founder of Ampere Analysis, added: “There’s a persistent myth that the pirate customer doesn’t pay and never will. This research overturns this received wisdom, with more than half of pirate viewers paying for pirated TV services and 54% paying for legal services. We already knew sports piracy was a big money problem, but what surprised us most about this study was the overall impact on the major US studios and Hollywood.


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