Pirate subscription services now a billion-dollar industry in US | Security | News | Rapid TV News
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An investigative report from the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and NAGRA has revealed the true extent of how illegal piracy subscription services in the US have grown into a billion-dollar industry that steals from creators, circumvents legitimate TV operators, and poses risks for consumers.
DCA NAGRA Money for nothing 6 Aug 2020
The Money for Nothing report details how through content theft and enabled by legal businesses, a sophisticated ecosystem of thousands of retailers and wholesalers are providing illicit piracy services to at least nine million US households. And at over $1 billion, so-called pirate subscription Internet Protocol Television (PS IPTV) services now represent a large, and lucrative, illicit US industry. The report shed light onto lesser known aspects of the pirate subscription IPTV ecosystem, examining infrastructure, supply chain, revenues and profit margins, as well as ad-financed pirate IPTV service business models.

The report estimated that there were nine million fixed broadband subscribers in the US using a pirate subscription IPTV service. They get these services from at least 3,500 U.S.-facing storefront websites, social media pages, and stores within online marketplaces that sell services. In addition to the projected $1 billion cost to the industry of piracy subscriptions alone, the report said that the size of overall piracy industry is in fact much larger when the sale of pirate streaming devices used to receive the content and ad-financed piracy are included.

The report also raised concerns about how piracy poses personal and financial risks to consumers, from malware spread through pirate apps to distribution of unlawful content that may put viewers at risk. As an example of the latter, the report cited terrorist channels that are banned from being broadcast in the US.

“When it comes to piracy, the scope of the risk to consumers, small businesses and others is in direct proportion to the size of the industry, which is why we need to stop the reach and depth of this ecosystem before it grows even bigger,” said Digital Citizens Alliance executive director Tom Galvin. “This report underscores how outdated laws and a lack of focus and enforcement has let thieves, hackers, and scammers create a major criminal enterprise.”

“Understanding the impact and tactics involved in the business of subscription IPTV piracy outlined in this report is the first step in addressing the evolving fight to protect content, the most valuable asset in the media and entertainment industry,” added Michael Sharp, director, data analytics, anti-piracy services at NAGRA, commenting on the Money for Nothing report Money for Nothing report.

“We applaud Digital Citizens Alliance for bringing the issue to light as we continue to support content owners and service providers in effectively disrupting pirate activity–through our expertise, our wide range of anti-piracy solutions and the intelligence we have gathered over years of examining piracy ecosystems–to ultimately keep viewers in the legitimate content value chain.”