The Live PPV Piracy Battle Just Got More Interesting

Dimitar Serafimov| Thu Feb 23 2017 CET| Live pay-per-view

Live PPV piracy
Credit: Los Angeles Times

With great video content, comes video piracy. Let’s lay down the recent developments in the world of live streaming that added a new dimension to video piracy. 

That said, one of the fastest growing forms of video content is live sports streaming, particularly live events.

Viewers behaviour is not really impacted by ethics

In fact, according to Nielsen, The Super Bowl attracts around 113.7 million viewers combined on Fox TV and Fox Go. That’s yuge! Of course, while many sports fans tune in via legitimate methods, a whopping one-third of consumers watch pirated content in this day and age.

What’s more, a study by UK firm Muso shows that three-quarters of 78.5 billion visits worldwide to video piracy sites in 2015 were to streaming sites, compared to just 17% on torrent sites. Plus, 29% of 25 – 34-year-olds said they would watch a sporting event streamed live from someone’s mobile phone – an indication on just how ‘on the go’ the world has become.

Besides the fear of poor video quality, the avoidance of watching pirated content boils down to a moral issue. However, according to Info Security, many consumers are showing little aversion to enjoying pirated content.

While 69% of US consumers said that streaming or downloading pirated video content is illegal, 32% of them confirmed they tune in anyway.

The problem is, as technology and viewing options develop, so do the outlets for publishing, and indeed viewing, illegal content.

The Foxtel case with Facebook Live

For instance, not long ago two Australian men almost faced legal action after streaming a big boxing bout on Facebook Live. Foxtel, the company that offered the match via PPV, took action to sue the men, whose streams attracted thousands upon thousands of viewers in mere moments.

As a result Facebook is reviewing their copyright infringement system and ramping up the level of their human content monitors to prevent this kind of opportunistic piracy from happening in the future.

As a result of the boxing incident, Peter Tonagh, CEO of Foxtel, has delivered a striking condemnation of content piracy. He also confirmed that in this case, with the co-operation of the alleged infringers, Foxtel would not be launching legal proceedings, but using the episode to help inform the public.

What can live broadcasters do?

This public condemnation may seem a little strong, but, piracy could cost content owners $2.3TN by 2022. The number can’t be ignored.

Without a doubt, content providers need to invest ample time and money in developing effective anti-piracy technology, but they shouldn’t be constrained to these efforts alone.

For instance, Foxtel have reviewed the service they offer their customers and now provide a bundled broadband service to new subscribers, an initiative that’s indicative of an evolving business model which is designed to deliver content across multiple screens. In addition to this, the company have also invested more in marketing the Foxtel Play streaming service to attract a wider customer base and help nip piracy in the bud.

It’s true that live video piracy is ramping up, but by fighting the good fight, taking an innovative approach, marketing your offerings, and fortifying your operation, you can help prevent it from happening.


Check out how Cleeng solves the Live PPV issue with advanced forensic watermarking:

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