Forensic watermarking attributed with halving losses from online video piracy
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Joseph O'Halloran
| 20 March 2018

Research from YouGov and CDN technology provider Edgeware has found that anti-piracy measures could save billions as 39% of consumers admit they are likely to watch pirated film or TV content.

The YouGov and Edgeware online research surveyed more than 4,000 people globally and looked into the extent of illegal online television consumption and the impact of anti-piracy measures.

Moreover, Edgware calculated that if the 21% of adults who were likely to watch pirated sports events did so, the loss of revenue from live sports events could equate to content owners losing upwards of $9 billion per year.

As well as the fact that nearly two-fifths of viewers were likely to watch pirated content on-demand by downloading or streaming illegally shared versions of popular film and TV, more than a fifth (21%) said they would watch live events – like live sports – from unsolicited online sources. Almost three in ten viewers watched pirated content at least once per month while 39% of viewers were likely to watch pirated TV or films online. The most cited reasons for viewers watching pirated content is its ease of availability (32%), followed by cost (24%).

Yet the good news in the TV piracy research report was that half of viewers who said they would watch pirated content would be dissuaded from doing so if they knew a programme they were watching could be tracked back to its source using forensic watermarking.

“The illegal distribution of programming is a huge problem for content distributors and owners, with piracy costing them billions in lost revenue,” said Richard Brandon from Edgeware. “This research has shown that digitally watermarking content as it’s streamed will have a significant benefit. Those watching pirating content could drop by half and then forensic watermarking will also make it faster and easier to identify those illegally distributing content.”