Streaming exclusives are driving consumers back to piracy

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 3, 2018, 3:49pm CDT
Streaming exclusives are driving consumers back to piracy

A new report claims that video piracy is again rising, this likely due to the increasing fragmentation of the streaming video market. Whereas Netflix once dominated the streaming option, content is increasingly split up and distributed among various separate streaming products, forcing customers to either pay for multiple different products or resort to pirated downloads for certain content.

For multiple years now, BitTorrent use has been slowly dropping, that thanks to services like Netflix and Spotify that provide inexpensive access to a wide variety of content. As consumers abandon traditional cable, satellite, and theater experiences in favor of streaming content at home, a growing number of networks are providing their content online, and an increasingly substantial number of services are providing their own exclusive content.

Exclusive content presents an issue, though — great shows may only be available on different services, forcing customers to sign up for multiple streaming platforms, some of which may have content overlap. This is contrary to one of streaming’s biggest benefits: it got rid of the massive bills required by cable and satellite in order to get a handful of preferred channels.

When faced with the need to miss out on certain shows or pay for multiple monthly service subscriptions, it appears consumers are going the unofficial route: piracy. That’s according to Sandvine’s new October 2018 “The Global Internet Phenomenon Report.”

Back in 2011, the same report found BitTorrent represented more than 52-percent of all upstream traffic on fixed Internet networks in the Americas. That number had dipped substantially by 2015, falling all the way down to 26.83-percent. The latest figures, though, highlight a reversal of that trend, with Europe and APAC regions seeing the most substantial upstream BitTorrent consumption, those followed by the Americas in second place.

The company points toward streaming services’ exclusive content as one potential driving factor, with US-exclusive content also prompting pirated downloads overseas. As well, the popularity of Game of Thrones resulted many people downloading as soon as an episode was available rather than waiting for local premieres.

SOURCE: Sandvine

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