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Fragmentation of the legal offer

As a result of the proliferation of streaming services and the subsequent acceleration of the content war, even further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, piracy, after a decline and stabilization, has resumed at a steady pace.

One of the well-known issues is the fact that legal platforms are now sharing the most popular content, whereas a few years ago, a subscription to Netflix was enough to satisfy a very large majority of viewers. In 2022, in most Western countries, a user would have to spend 70 to 80 dollars per month to benefit from all the biggest streaming services, allowing to see both the latest releases and classics that we love to re-watch. This does not include sports; adding specialized sport streaming services would almost double the bill.

This is why even users who are not originally pirates tend to download movies and series available on services to which they do not subscribe, thus making legal and pirate practices coexist. 

In Australia, for example, the Creative Content Australia group, financed by the audiovisual industry, has conducted a study to determine the typical profile of the pirate,  and the results can appear surprising.  Amy Pettinger, the group’s managing director, said:  “When we profiled the people who pirate, the majority of them are college-educated, earn more than $90,000 a year and subscribe to more than three subscription services. These are prolific content consumers, which brings us back to the fact that they feel they have some sort of right to pirate because they are already paying for services.” This model of the educated, wealthy pirate who already subscribes to multiple services is found in other Western countries and other studies of piracy, such as for illegal e-book downloads in the U.S.

In recent years, to meet these growing needs, the pirates’ activity has become structured, almost industrialized. Pirates are now offering services to other pirates, providing them with part of the infrastructure needed to launch this illegal but increasingly lucrative activity.

Before studying this new phenomenon in detail in our next article, let’s look at the structure of piracy revenues.

The evolution of the piracy business model

The business model for piracy has made considerable progress since its early days. Now, poor quality preview recordings are a thing of the past; stolen content is immediately available in high quality, and ripped right from the source.


Pirates’ profits come from the following activities:


  • Selling pirated movies or setting up an illegal streaming platform

Since they have no licensing fees to pay and much lower investments than Netflix or Amazon, who not only buy but also create their own content, pirates can easily offer very attractive prices, whether it is on video-on-demand or on an illegal streaming platform. 


  • Stolen personal information

 Pirated content is offered for free at first glance. However, the user has to install a special software to access it. This software allows access to the customer’s devices and personal identification information. This information will then be sold on the dark web. In extreme cases, the victim’s device will even be used in DDoS attacks. 

Some combine the two business models, charging a subscription fee while also illegally collecting their customers’ data. 


  • Less advertising

Some pirates have adopted the business model that requires users to watch online advertisements to access pirated content. One of the main differentiating factors between legal and pirate video-on-demand services is the amount of advertising. Since illegal services do not pay to acquire or produce their content, they can afford a much smaller amount of advertising, which may be more appealing to viewers who are weary of the amount of advertising on legal platforms. 


Some of the illegal services offer such ease of navigation, content discovery or account management that the quality of the user experience is considered much better than that of legal services. Some customers even confuse these new services with a legal service.

In our next article on October 15, we’ll try to determine how the implementation of so many services of such magnitude became possible, including the implementation of services offered by hackers to other hackers. 


In the meantime, if you need a specialized company to protect your content, please contact us and speak with one of our account managers. We have over a decade of experience in the industry, and will be happy to help you implement effective solutions to protect your content. 

See you soon!