Piracy and lockdowns

Piracy and lockdowns

Piracy on the rise during lockdowns

Online piracy has increased by more than 60% in some countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. Credential sharing - giving friends or family your information allowing them to watch Netflix or Disney plus for free from your account - has also increased since the coronavirus outbreak.

Non-essential businesses and entertainment venues are closed almost everywhere in most countries. If we add to this remote work and distance learning, people are spending a lot of time at home. 

As a result, subscriptions to legal streaming sites have seen a sharp increase, with both Netflix and Disney+ publishing excellent numbers for 2020. In January 2021, Netflix announced that it now has nearly 204 million subscribers, and for 2020 alone, the platform has gained 37 million new users.

Piracy is more difficult to evaluate. In general, it is evaluated by counting a number of google queries on searches such as "Contagion free movie" "watch Contagion free" etc. If we cross this search with the countries of origin and dates, we notice an increase of 40 to 60% in countries affected by a lockdown or curfew.

The unexpected success of a 2011 film

The effects of a lockdown can sometimes be a bit unexpected, and bring back content that is sometimes forgotten, as shown by the success of the film "Contagion" by Seven Soderbergh. It's a critically acclaimed film with a prestigious cast from the early 2010s telling the story of a global pandemic very similar to our own. 

Somewhat forgotten after its release, it has been particularly downloaded since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. The success of the film, due to the global  situation, has been such that some piracy sites have even made better quality versions of the movie on their sites. The director revealed in December 2020 that he was working on a "philosophical" sequel to the film and that he would again collaborate with the original screenwriter Scott Z. Burns.

Piracy numbers will continue to grow

While piracy is not a new phenomenon, in these unprecedented times, it may continue to increase. Restrictions are not going to top anytime soon. Many TV show and movies have stopped in 2020 - although many have resumed filming during the year.

So we have a combination of two factors - people spend a lot of time at home. Going out is very limited as many sports halls, clubs, restaurants and bars are closed, and sports events, concerts and festivals are not taking place. Many movies and series that people were expecting are also delayed.

Given the global situation, we cannot rule new lockdown periods. Non-essential shops and leisure facilities will only reopen gradually, depending on the country. The behavior of consumers who want immediate access to a wide range of quality products is therefore likely to increase, rather than disappear, and many pirate sites have already improved their interface to make it aesthetically pleasing and navigable - and sometimes better than that of a legal platform.

If we add to this data the fragmentation of the offer - this phenomenon of lassitude that takes hold of users of legal platforms in view of the multiplication of streaming offers - it seems unlikely that piracy figures will decrease in the coming years. 

Protecting your content against piracy will become all the more important. For this, the expertise and tools of a specialized company will be more valuable than ever.

Next week we will see the relationship between piracy and legal streaming offer

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