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Video piracy rates have dropped sharply with the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime

Results from a recent survey suggest that video piracy rates are dropping across the US and parts of Europe thanks to the wider availability of on-demand streaming services.

The research – published by TV analyst Ampere Analysis – shows a steady drop in piracy rates in the US, UK, France, Spain and more. It also shows a rise in SVoD (Subscription Video on Demand) and catch-up viewers in the same three year period.

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Spain, a country with a traditionally very high piracy rate, has seen both a 47% increase in the use of SVoD and catch-up viewing services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and a 45% decrease in piracy and illegal streaming over the over the past three years. Other countries have seen very similar rises and declines.

Ampere Analysis Director Richard Broughton explained that “on average, in markets where either catch-up or SVoD online video viewing has risen the most, piracy has experienced the biggest drop. With the growth in all-you-can-eat legal services, users no longer need to turn to illegitimate sources to get their viewing fix”.

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Ironically enough, the idea of on-demand video was actually made popular in many countries because of piracy. For a lot of people, this was the only way to watch what you wanted, when you wanted.

Though the desire to watch TV flexibly and on-demand has worked in the streaming industry’s favour up until this point, it could just as easily work against them if titles continue to be split between services and the industry continues to become fragmented.

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Broughton warned that “the on-demand market is moving into a period of ‘siloisation’ where producer and distributor brands go direct to the consumer” and that if mainstream streaming sites continue to lose out on the content users want to watch “there’s a genuine risk that usage of these SVoD and catch-up services could begin to slump, something the pirate operators will be quick to capitalise on”.

This makes sense as consumers are only be willing to spend so much on streaming services, and many cannot afford to sign up to three or four streaming sites just to stay up to date on the latest TV. If these services continue to prioritise exclusive titles, they could end up pushing users back toward piracy very easily.

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