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Video piracy in Russia drops for first time in five years

Content piracy in Russia has showed decline for the first time in five years.

According to a new study from cybersecurity firm Group-IB, the volume of online piracy in the country amounts to US$63.5 million, which is 27% less than 2018. 

The estimated the volume of the Russian video piracy market in monetary terms in 2015  amounted to US$32 million, almost doubling to US$62 million a year later. In 2017, it amounted to US$85 million (+21% increase), and in 2018 it reached US$87 million (+2.3% growth). 

The report cites the shutdown of three major CDNs, a major blow to the advertising model of monetisation of pirate websites, and improvements to legislation.

Earlier in October, Moonwalk CDN – one of the biggest pirate-powered providers of video content to Russian-speaking viewers – was taken down. This created something of a domino effect with the subsequent shutdown of other piracy-enabling CDNs Kodik and HDGO. Combined, this knocked out servers that provided pirated video content to about 90% of pirate websites in Russia.

Another major contributing factor was the signing of an anti-piracy memorandum in November 2018 with the participation of Yandex, Mail.Ru, Rambler, Channel One, VGTRK, STS Media, and Gazprom Media. The up-to-date rules require search engines to remove links to pages with pirated content from search results. 

Within a year, this saw about 600,000 links removed and added to the official register of pirated resources.

Andrey Busargin, director of brand protection and anti-piracy at Group-IB, said: “The legal framework aimed at fighting online piracy market in Russia has been revised a number of times and started to produce results: the market players learned how to effectively exercise their rights and settle the issues related to content copyright without approaching the court. 

“However, online piracy is an international problem. And, as recent developments have shown, coordinated efforts to fight online piracy at the international level are needed, since only they bring concrete results.”

The TV industry in Russia is in a particularly healthy position, as revealed by a recent report from the European Audiovisual Observatory. There was a 3.1% increase of pay TV subscribers from 2017 to 2018 with revenue representing RUB95.3 billion (€1.29 billion), with 35-36 million households subscribed to pay TV in the country – a penetration of 62-63% of the population.

Tags: piracy, Russia