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Online pirates prefer streaming to downloads

by Don Groves

Last year there was a total of 78.5 billion visits to film and TV piracy websites worldwide, of which nearly three-quarters went to streaming sites.

Torrent-based sites such as The Pirate Bay and the recently shut-down Kickass Torrents represented 17.2% of overall visits, compared with 90% 10 years ago.

The percentage visiting peer-to-peer download sites for the last six months of 2015 was 19% lower than the first half.

That’s according to the UK-based technology company Muso’s Global Film & TV Piracy Market Insight Report 2016, which analysed traffic from 14,000 of the largest global piracy websites, accounting for more than 141 billion visits across 200 million measured devices.

Muso’s chief commercial officer Christopher Elkins said: “We’re seeing large incoming first-time piracy audiences choosing ‘ripper’ piracy sites as their delivery preference – these are platforms that simultaneously stream and download infringing content from user-generated content sites like YouTube.”

Acknowledging that piracy is a “colossally damaging beast that should be stopped”, Elkins told C21 Media: “Piracy audiences are becoming better connected, more tech-savvy, and know what they want, which is why so many of them have chosen to stream infringing content, rather than download it illegally.”

Of the total 78.5 billion film and TV piracy site visits, 57.84 billion were to streaming sites, of which 72% came via desktop devices.

The US remains the most prolific piracy market, accounting for more than 12% (9.86 billion visits) of the global piracy audience. France, Germany and the UK are all in the top 10 countries.

According to Telco Transformation’s Aditya Kishore, the transition to streaming sites was likely driven by the improvements in network capacity, resulting in a smoother streaming experience, and by consumers becoming increasingly used to on-demand applications and less willing to wait for a video to download before they can start watching.

Vox Indie blogger Ellen Seidler commented :“Pirates, like the rest of us, have grown accustomed to watching shows streaming on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. It’s no wonder the same patterns persists when watching pirated fare.”

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