Big productions and media houses have blamed a community of humans referred to as pirates for their revenue losses. Pirates are the reason technologies like BitTorrent have flourished more than its creators might have thought.
But the people who indulge in copyright infringement may be not as bad as many would assume. According to a new survey conducted by a UK-based anti-piracy firm MUSO, around 60% of people living in the UK have used a pirate site to download or stream a movie, TV show, or something else.
That’s not surprising until the moment you learn that 83% of the 1,000 people who took the survey said they search the official sources first to find the content they want. That means a person frequenting a pirate service could be a loyal fan of a TV show, but the crappy licensing laws of its creators are the reason the show isn’t available legally.
Apart from the 35.2% people who can’t afford it, 34.9% head towards pirate sites because the content is not available and 34.7% because it’s difficult to access.
The survey also finds that 91% of the people who pirate also subscribed to a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, or Spotify. On the other, only 80% of the people who didn’t pirate had subscribed to one of these services.
The increasing popularity of streaming services may have made a dent in piracy, but it hasn’t fixed the underlying problem. The content is scattered across different streaming services. That means if one wants to gain access almost all of the content, it may cost them a couple of hundreds of dollars per month.
Also, around 53% of people who download copyrighted content have a realization that doing so is a wrong thing. That’s higher than the ones who have never pirated.
So, what can be done? Offering a single platform could be a solution, but it doesn’t seem feasible solution in the current scenario, especially, when a new stream service pops every now and then.
The industry should view pirates as potential customers rather than treating them as criminal elements trying to get paid stuff for free. It’s not that piracy is good, but it has contributed to boosting the popularity of leading TV shows like Game of Thrones. HBO’s CEO Reed Hastings even said that GOT being the most pirated show in the world is “better than an Emmy.” That’s because it leads to more paying subscribers.
One way the pirates could be turned into revenue generating customers is to sell them merchandise of their favorite movie or TV shows. For instance, in the case of Marvel Comics, many die-hard fans have a huge collection of action figures that don’t come cheap.