CASBAA: 24% of Hong Kong viewers use pirate TV boxes

Some 24% of Hong Kong consumers use a TV box that can be used to stream pirated television and video content, according to research commissioned by CASBAA.

The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia said that the surge in pirated TV boxes “poses a major threat to the subscription video industry,” with users able to use these ‘illicit streaming devices’ to access hundreds of thousands of pirated TV channels and VOD items – often after a one-time payment.

The research, which was conducted by YouGov on behalf of CASBAA, found that of the 24% of consumers who purchased one of these streaming devices 49% claimed that they had cancelled all or some of their legal pay TV services.

Some 26% said that they cancelled their subscription to local pay television services as a direct consequence of owning illicit streaming device, while 19% said that they had cancelled a specific part of their traditional cable TV bundle or packages after purchasing such a device. Some 21% said they had cancelled an international subscription service.

Among the most popular illegal streaming pirate TV boxes for Hong Kong consumers were BossTV (9%), Ubox (7%), EVPad (6%), Lingcod (5%), and Magic Box (4%), which come pre-loaded with applications that, according to CASBAA, allow ‘plug-and-play’ access to pirated content.

“The damage that content theft does to the creative industries is without dispute. However, the damage done to consumers themselves, because of the nexus between content piracy and malware, is only beginning to be recognised,” said Neil Gane, the managing director of CASBAA’s Coalition Against Piracy.

“The piracy ecosystem is a hotbed for malware, whether purchasing illicit streaming device from Sham Shui Po’s Golden Arcade or downloading content from infamous torrent sites. Unfortunately the appetite for free or paying cheap subscription rates for stolen content, blinkers some consumers from the real risks of malicious malware infection such as spyware.”

CASBAA CEO, Louis Boswell, added: “The illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem is impacting all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content. ISD piracy is also organised crime, pure and simple, with crime syndicates making substantial illicit revenues from the provision of illegally re-transmitted TV channels and the sale of such ISDs.”

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