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A study from Digital TV Research has revealed that online TV piracy is spreading worldwide, with revenues lost to the phenomenon in 138 countries set to nearly double between 2016 and 2022 to $51.6 billion.

Making the findings more alarming is the fact that these figures relate purely to TV episodes and films and do not include sport, which is hugely pirated, especially in areas such as the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Overall, the top five countries represented 63% of the 2016 total, but this proportion is set to fall to 55% by 2022. Eight countries will record revenue losses of more than $1 billion in 2022, double the 2016 count. The report suggests that Asia Pacific will become the largest region for online piracy in 2018 – overtaking North America. Asia Pacific’s piracy losses are projected to double between 2016 and 2022 to nearly $20 billion.

The report says that the US will remain the largest country by piracy losses, with $11.6 billion forecast by 2022, up by $2.6 billion or 30% on 2016. China has taken measures to combat piracy, but still has a major problem. Its revenue losses will climb by $5.5 billion between 2016 and 2022 to $9.8 billion. However, China’s gap between legitimate revenues versus piracy losses will improve from a deficit of $1.2 billion in 2016 to a surplus of $2.4 billion in 2022. India is forecast to break into the top five piracy league with $3.078 billion by 2022, displacing Brazil which is expected to lose an additional $1.1 billion to total $2.584 billion. Fifth place will be Mexico on $1.576 billion.

Even though he admitted that piracy will never be eradicated, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research and author of the Online TV Piracy Forecasts report said that the analysis was not all bad news. “Piracy growth rates will decelerate as more effective government action is taken and as the benefits of legal choices become more apparent,” he said. “Legitimate revenues from OTT TV episodes and movie overtook online piracy losses as far back as 2013. The gap between the two measures is widening.”