Comedy no laughing matter in entertainment content piracy | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Piracy in the entertainment industry is now three times by value bigger than it is for sports with comedy the most affected genre according to research from video software provider Synamedia.
Synamedia Avigail 2Feb2023
The study, conducted by Ampere Analysis analysed the impact of sports and entertainment piracy involving 16,000 consumers in Brazil, Italy, India, Germany, Thailand, the UK and the US, calculating the potential revenues that would result from converting pirate viewers to legal subscribers.

The standout finding was that comedy is the most pirated genre of entertainment, driven by titles including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Ted Lasso, with half of all pirate viewers streaming comedy illegally. This is followed by the action and adventure genre, and the crime and thriller category respectively.

The data revealed that stopping piracy of a single Hollywood major movie release could trigger revenues of between $130 million and $280 million in the US alone, with super-hero blockbusters offering the biggest opportunities. Synamedia noted that for a popular title like Spider Man: No Way Home, stopping piracy could lead to potential revenue for a studio streaming service of over $400 million, based on the true annual lifetime value of streaming subscribers.

In addition, the company said that if piracy were stopped, sports would create $9.8 billion in potential revenue in the seven surveyed markets, however this figure is dwarfed by the possibility of unlocking an additional $21.8 billion revenue by converting movie and TV pirates to legal services.

Looking regionally, Synamedia’s report found that of the seven countries surveyed, the market with the most to gain is the US, with the potential of $13.7 billion annually by stopping movie and TV piracy and an additional $5 billion related to sports. This would generate $5.9 billion in annual income for US streaming providers, with the 28 most heavily pirated movies and TV titles alone contributing up to $1.8 billion in new revenues. Germany, Italy and the UK had the lowest levels of piracy. But, by stopping piracy and converting pirate viewers to legal subscribers in the UK for example, video providers and content owners have the potential to unlock a whopping $1.36 billion for entertainment and $1.17 billion for sports annually.

Not surprisingly, football was found to be the star sports piracy attraction and, despite being available on free-to-air TV, the FIFA World Cup was the most pirated tournament or league. This said Synamedia reflected its popularity globally but also indicated that even free content can suffer from piracy if fans are already using illegal sites to access other sports content. The UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League are second and third respectively. The only non-football league in the top 10 was the NBA. After football, the most popular sports to watch on pirate services in the seven countries surveyed were cricket and kabaddi, driven by piracy in the Indian sub-continent, and badminton, driven by piracy in Asia.

“Unless the industry takes action, the fragmentation of premium content compounded by the current economic climate will continue to drive viewers to both paid and free piracy services. This represents a real risk to rights holders, broadcasters and streaming providers,” commented Avigail Gutman, vice president of intelligence and security operations at Synamedia (pictured). “As well as using tools and techniques to protect content and services, operators can counter the rise in piracy by ensuring content is easy to find and meeting consumers’ demands for mobile-first services, as well as more aggregated services and billing.”

Added Ampere Analysis executive director and co-founder Guy Bisson: “There is a persistent myth that the pirate consumer won't pay and will never pay. This research overturns this received wisdom, with more than half of all pirate viewers paying for pirate TV services and 54% also paying for legal services. We already knew sports piracy was a big-money issue, but what surprised us most about this study was the true scale of impact on the US major studios and Hollywood as a whole.”