Incentives and deterrents needed to deliver knockout blow on sports pirates | Security | News | Rapid TV News
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The biggest deterrents for viewers of pirate sports streams are the fear of disruption to their viewing, and the risk of legal and social consequences - including being arrested or fined – says a report from Synamedia that sets out an evidence-based approach to fight sports piracy.
synamedia 26Oct2020
Indeed the Tackling Sports Piracy in an IP World revealed that as many as 84% of sports fans who watch illegal streams cite both of these as reasons to reduce or stop viewing illegal services.

The report is the second in a series designed to broaden understanding of global sports streaming piracy to protect the value of sports rights. It is based on a 10-country study of over 6,000 sports fans before the interruption of Covid plus interviews with key players in the industry, analysing consumer behaviour and attitudes, including sports fans’ fears and concerns about viewing illegal content. It also features research conducted by Ampere Analysis alongside new strategies for sports rights owners and pay-TV providers to combat streaming piracy while proposing creative ways of luring sports fans to legal services.

The report comes to the stark conclusion that while perceived wisdom is that consumer education can curtail piracy, by itself it will almost certainly fail. Three-quarters of the sports fans surveyed already believe piracy is morally wrong yet they continue. Instead, the report asserts that a more effective approach is to make pirate streams so unreliable that consumers lose trust in the service while making legitimate services more attractive.

Synamedia noted that one of the themes of the report is the use of incentives and deterrents to convert consumers of illegal content into paying subscribers alongside a roadmap for all players in the value chain to focus on anti-piracy interventions that are tailored to the behaviour of distinct groups of consumers.

It says that suitable incentives include the introduction of flexible pricing models to reach fans who don’t want to commit to multiple subscriptions. The report cited NBA TV offering basketball fans subscriptions for the season, month, a game or just the audio commentary. An alternative to reach those fans unwilling to pay anything is a slightly delayed service, such as the near real-time French football Ligue 1 games offered for free by provider Iliad.

Deterrents include actions to identify, interrupt and take down illegal services and disrupt their sources of funding - including advertisers who are unwittingly supporting these platforms. Synamedia observed that technology and Internet providers unintentionally facilitate piracy and the report recommends monitoring for prompt action. Examples include providers of DNS and hosting services that appear to turn a blind eye to pirates using their services, and online payment providers that process illegal transactions.

The report provides checklists for both sports rights owners and rights buyers to work in lockstep to meet their mutual goal of reducing piracy. For example, rights holders should be wary of agreeing exclusive terms with an operator who does not offer a viable multiscreen option because fans who want to watch on a mobile device will be tempted to turn to pirate services.

Another of the report’s recommendations is to negotiate content protection into rights deals based on a full assessment of the risk of piracy eroding the value of those rights. Building clawbacks into deals will allow, said the report, licensees to recover some of their investment if levels of piracy in their market exceed defined limits. This creates a direct incentive for rights holders to monitor and manage piracy, and to mandate a common level of content protection technology across all licensees in every market.

“To remain financially viable in the face of the double whammy of Covid-19 and hyper-piracy, sports rights owners need to impose stricter contractual requirements on streaming services, while investing in their own monitoring, intelligence and automated take-downs,” said Simon Brydon, senior director, sports rights anti-piracy at Synamedia commenting on Tackling Sports Piracy in an IP World. “To quote one operator interviewed for this report, its ambition is to make IP sports piracy harder than selling fake designer handbags.”