Some 6.5% of households in North America are accessing pirated live television services each month, according to new research by Sandvine.
The Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight report claims that at this adoption rate, live TV piracy could cost communication service providers more than US$4 billion in revenue this year.
The study states that that premium TV, live sports, news and international content are the main drivers of pirate TV use.
Pirate streams of the Mayweather vs MacGregor boxing match in August may have been watched by 1% of all North American households, and accounted for 80% of all pirate streams on that particular evening, according to the report.
It also said that as many pirate TV configurations stream around the clock – whether users are watching or not – means that users are generating more than 1TB of “phantom bandwidth” across their network each month.
“Continued adoption of pirate video and television streaming services could lead to increased cord-cutting and create ‘cord nevers’ – people who never sign up for a standard TV subscription,” said Lyn Cantor, CEO of Sandvine.
“This will significantly impact communication service providers’ revenue and profitability, undermining the business models that keep them operating.”