Stream and legal offer

Stream and legal offer

Night has fallen, and you've finally finished your workday. Of course, you can’t go out -  everything is closed anyway. Like many people, you spend part of your evenings watching your favorite tv shows.

As you are browsing the Netflix catalogue, you realize that you've already watched all the shows and movies you were interested in, or almost all of them. A few years ago, the choice was much wider and you could see basically everything for 7.99 dollars a month. But now? If you want to see a Disney movie, you need a Disney plus subscription. You want to take a nostalgic trip to the land of Friends or Desperate Housewives? Hulu or Prime Video is the place to go. 

Discouraged, you start typing "watch Game of Thrones for free". In less than 5 minutes you have the whole series in good quality and in original version. You also remember that your sister gave you her Disney + codes that you haven't tested yet... you find the message she sent you and create a profile for free, with her credentials.

Fragmentation of the offer

The total number of subscriptions to streaming services worldwide is over one billion, according to data released in April 2021 by the Motion Picture Association. At present, there are about ten streaming services competing with each other. For each of these services, you need a subscription, a different account, a login and password to remember for each account, an app on your phone, your pc, your connected TV - and most importantly, you have to pay for them. 

The love affair between piracy and legal streaming

Originally, the success of legal streaming platforms can be explained in part by the consumption habits developed in the 2000s and 2010s by peer-to-peer and then illegal streaming enthusiasts. Watching "television" on computers then became a habit.

When Netflix offered almost all this content in one place, many people turned away from piracy - less risky, convenient, cheap, with a very large catalog, the service then meets the needs of most people. The connected TV sets facilitate the development of the company even more.

The rise of Netflix seems to be an answer to piracy - given the price, why take a risk, to get a lesser quality content when everything is available in the same place, for a very cheap fee? 

But this version of Netflix also reinforces a behavior that could be summarized as "I can access the content I want, whenever I want, whether I pay for it or not". 

The entry of this multitude of new players in the business would oblige us to take out four or five different subscriptions to watch everything we want. Some TV shows being removed from people’s favorite streaming service sometimes appeared as a betrayal - Netflix customers were particularly moved by the disappearance of the series The Office, for example.

Instead of paying for several subscriptions, users turn back to piracy. According to many users of pirate sites the practical aspect of having all the content they want in one place and well-designed websites and applications are just as important as free access. The interface of illegal sites is improving more and more, and sometimes, they even have a better UI than official streaming services.

The legal offer does not seem to be competitive enough anymore.

At the moment, piracy represents an estimated loss of 30 billion dollars for the movie industry - but some say it can be as high as 60. Illegal streaming accounts for about 80% of piracy. It seems hard to believe that piracy will disappear as long as this fragmentation remains. Only an affordable and convenient offer would make it decrease. 

Most pirates don't feel guilty about downloading or watching illegal streaming - many studies have shown that those who spend the most on legal offers are also the biggest consumers of pirated content. Since they are already paying, pirating what is not available on legal services seems less of an infringement.  

History has shown us that we can no longer scare people with law, only offer them better alternatives. The risk of a virus is now far more frightening than the risk of legal action against for most users.

Purely deterrent policies have proven ineffective so far. 

So how can we prevent piracy?

It is imperative to improve the legal offer available -  it must be practical, of good quality, with a wide choice.

Despite this, systematic withdrawal can greatly limit the consumption of pirated series and films.

Indeed, if the content is hard to find and of lower quality, users will not waste their time downloading it or watching it on an illegal streaming site. They will also not take the risk of having their computer infected by a virus. Coming across a series that is missing several episodes per season, and/or where each episode has to be downloaded or watched on a different site is a strong deterrent to pirates. 

Removing illegal content is a  long and sometimes complex process that has to be done over and over again. Without regular monitoring, the content will reappear very quickly. 

The best thing to do is to call on a specialized company to take advantage of its tools and expertise!

Next week we will learn more about social media impersonation. Stay tuned !

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