nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – piracy up, down, and always tough to measure

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

Two reports paint a very different picture of piracy in the US. One says it is large and growing, the other that it is small and shrinking. Either way, measuring it is never easy.


A good place to go for up-to-date information on piracy and password sharing is piracymonitor.org.

Chapter 1: Piracy’s up, piracy’s down (0:30)

Parks Associates new report 360 Deep Dive: Account Sharing and Digital Piracy shows a quarter of broadband homes are engaged in some form of piracy or password sharing. Many admit to using a piracy app, website, or “jailbroken” device. The company says it will cost the industry billions this year, growing 40% over the next five years.

Ampere Analysis might disagree. It says that between Q1 2017 and Q1 2019 people saying they visited one or more pirate services/sites fell dramatically in the US to just 4%. It was the same in 9 of the ten countries the company looked at.

Chapter 2: Password sharing a problem? (1:30)

A New MoffettNathenson report looked at password sharing and found that 14% of Netflix users were using a password from outside of the household. However, far fewer Amazon Prime Video users accessed the service with another household’s password.

Moffett Nathanson saw a correlation with the frequency of use of the services. The higher the use, the higher the password sharing. However, there is a much simpler explanation for why Amazon Prime Video members don’t share their password.

As well, it is not clear that SVOD services even consider password sharing a problem. Netflix and HBO have indicated the reverse!

Chapter 3: Measuring piracy is hard (3:30)

To be sure, piracy is a serious issue. However, measuring the extent of the problem is hard. Surveys can be wildly inaccurate and industry estimates of loss based on faulty assumptions.

The good news is that things are happening which should help reduce piracy. The growth of free ad-supported TV (FAST) means consumers don’t have to steal to find great stuff to watch for free. SVOD providers should consider adding a free tier to boost revenue, increase subscriber acquisition, and reduce piracy.


One Comment

  1. Industrialized piracy by state actors is a pretty big problem in the mid-east, witness beOutQ, that’s for sure. Also a problem? How easy it is to configure Android / Fire TV to access pirated streams. What’s NOT a difficult problem to solve? Password sharing, since it’s simple as pie to control, if they so choose. But Cartesian survey data released by Synamedia showed that most of this is FAMILY sharing. Now for $97/mo, I assume my subscription is ok to be shared w my kids at college, maybe even an elderly mother, etc. Is that piracy? I vote ‘no’.

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