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There were more than 300.2 billion visits to piracy sites in 2017, and more than a third of these visits were to pirate sites hosting TV content (106.9 billion).
This is according to a report, which was released today, March 21, by antipiracy consultancy MUSO.
The next most favoured content was music (73.9 billion visits), followed by film (53.2 billion visits).
Last year, there was a 3% rise in visits to piracy sites hosting TV content compared to the year before, with the vast majority of them occurring via a web-streaming service (96%). However, the use of piracy sites to access film content decreased by 2%.
According to the report, mobile devices (including phones and tablets) were used for 87% of visits to music streaming sites and 52% of visits to sites that allow users to illegally stream TV programmes. The same figures in 2016 were significantly lower: 52% for music streaming and 32% for TV streaming on mobile devices.
This is the first time that mobile devices have been favoured over desktops for TV piracy—people used desktop devices (including computers and laptops) to access pirated content 48% of the time in 2017.
Desktop devices were used for just 13% of visits to music pirate websites last year, a significant drop from the 48% in 2016.
“Given the steadily increasing use of mobile for piracy over the past few years, mobile is expected to continue growing,” said the report.
MUSO’s data indicates that in 2017 there were more than 300.2 billion visits to piracy sites, and more than a third of these visits were to pirate sites hosting TV content (106.9 billion). The next most favoured content was music (73.9 billion visits), followed by film (53.2 billion visits).
For both film and TV, torrent-based access increased towards the end of 2017. MUSO suggests that “this could be as a result of users becoming frustrated with their regular web-streaming sites being blocked” and therefore choosing to “return to trusted and more traditional methods of piracy”.
Access to pirate websites for music surged in 2017, with a 15% increase in figures from 2016. During the second half of the year music stream-ripper piracy (using a program to download streamed media to a file, which can then be accessed locally) dropped by a third, which was likely the result of youtube-mp3.org, the global stream-ripper site, being shut down in September.
MUSO’s report notes that there was a 1.6% increase in visits to pirate sites in 2017, compared to the year before. The US topped the list of the countries making the most visits to pirate sites (27.9 billion), followed by Russia (20.6 billion) and India (17 billion).
Speaking to TBO, MUSO's CEO Andy Chatterley said piracy, in itself, does not have to be damaging to brands.
"While revenues aren't going to be gained from content accessed from these sites, and there could be a reputational impact from, for example, people accessing low-quality content, how brands manage the issue is the most important factor," he explained.
For example, "taking down unlicensed content is an important part of any protection strategy, but using piracy data to inform commercial decisions and re-engage with the audiences can have a very positive impact on commercials and reputation".
MUSO market research, MUSO’s 2017 Annual Piracy Report, global piracy, illegal content streaming, TV piracy