Piracy experts MUSO released a study that found illegal activities are also shifting from ownership to access models, at least in film and television. The group’s latest report found that visits to illegal streaming sites account for nearly three-quarters of the 78.49 billion visits to film and television piracy sites that occurred in 2015. Torrents are the second most-common piracy format with 17.24% of audience visits, and downloads are only responsible for 8.38% of piracy visits.
“Piracy audiences are becoming better connected, more tech savvy, and know what they want, which is why so many of them have chosen to stream infringing content, rather than download it illegally,” MUSO Chief Commercial Officer Christopher Elkins said.
These data points are worth noting as a counterpoint to music piracy, which has also been the focus of MUSO research. The latest study for music was for the second half of 2015. That analysis saw increased music piracy by downloads, but illegal streaming wasn’t raised as a point of concern. Should the music industry be alert to illegal streaming?
The distinctions between music and film/TV piracy habits are likely reflections of the different models each field is using for access. The average streaming music platforms usually offers a more comprehensive catalog than equivalent streaming video sites. Even with a growing number of exclusive album releases, the royalty-per-stream model used by the streaming music industry allows those services to host more content at a time than Netflix or Hulu, which pays for the rights to content in advance regardless of how often it is viewed. The flip side to those distinct models is that there are not many freemium video streaming options that offer the same breadth as freemium music platforms. The companies offering freemium access to music have argued that those ad-supported tiers are preventing piracy. For now, at least in terms of streaming piracy, it appears those claims have some validity.