Piracy is emerging as a serious competitor to legitimate pay TV, with increasingly effective marketing of pirate services across social media and the web, according to research from conditional access provider Irdeto.
Irdeto’s survey found that there are more than 2.7 million advertisements on e-commerce websites, including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba for illicit streaming devices.
Advertisements can also be found on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and other prominent social media platforms.
Data from digital market intelligence specialist SimilarWeb, cited by Irdeto, indicates that there are more than 16,460,000 visits per month to the top 100 pirate IPTV supplier websites. The US and UK led all countries with more than 3.7 million and one million site visits per month, respectively.
According to Irdeto data, a typical pirate supplier offers an average of 174 channels, with some pirate suppliers offering more than 1,000 channels.
This content comes in at an average subscription cost of US$194.40 (€181) per year or US$16.20 per month, compared with the average US cable subscription price of US$103.10 per month.
Baseball is the most popular category of sports for pirate sites, reflecting the importance of the US market, followed by football.
Irdeto says that pirates are increasingly creating professional websites, technology and services, which can convince some consumers that they are purchasing a legal service. In addition, the top 100 or so pirate IPTV suppliers also provide legitimate-looking devices powered by Android, Linux, Kodi and Roku, according to the company.
Some 27% of these suppliers support Android, with 26% supporting Infomir Mag 250/254 boxes and 21% supporting Kodi devices.
“To keep these growing pirate businesses at bay, content owners and operators need to understand the factors that go into consumer choice, including a full picture of piracy and strategies pirates use to grow into legitimate businesses,” said Rory O’Connor, Vice President of Services, Irdeto.
“Content owners and operators need to make sure they are implementing a comprehensive, 360-degree anti-piracy strategy. This includes detection, monitoring, source identification/watermarking, intelligence-gathering, investigations and enforcement. With the right information and a trusted security partner, content owners and operators can prevent piracy while also adapting offerings to more closely match consumer demand.”
Mark Mulready, senior director of cyber services and investigations, Irdeto, said: “Like any growing business, pirates are now diversifying their portfolio by adding new technology and more content options to their illegal offerings. Our data found that of the top ten channels offered, half were sports-related. This clearly indicates that pirates are listening to their customers and addressing consumer demand by offering more live sports content, including baseball, football/soccer, mixed sporting events, tennis and motorsports. As pirates continue to add to their portfolio, it is becoming increasingly important for content owners and operators to adopt a 360-degree anti-piracy strategy designed to continually adapt and grow with the changing market.”