Film piracy spikes post COVID-19

Film piracy spikes post COVID-19
The Siliconreview
11 May, 2020

People are locked up in their houses since many days. With their favourite theatres and restaurants closed, people have only one option, i.e., online streaming services, to keep them entertained. This increased demand in online downloading and streaming services. Piracy has spiked up in India than anytime. Online film piracy rose 62% in India in the last week of March compared with the last week of February, according to digital piracy authority MUSO.

Not only in India, but film piracy has been increased 41% in the US, 43% in the UK, 50% in Spain and 66% in Italy. These numbers indicate that it has never been easier to view content illegally and people have never been more comfortable about doing so, said MUSO.

“A lot of pirated content in India is circulated through platforms that people technically use for other features," said Rajkumar Akella, honorary member of the Telugu movie industry anti-piracy chamber. Akella refers to messaging and voice services like Telegram and social networks like Helo which he says, understand concerns of filmmakers and intellectual property right owners but are also hungry for traffic and do not currently have adequate protective mechanisms in place.

Given that all cinema halls are shut indefinitely and people are dividing their time between television, video streaming platforms and pirated content, at least 30-40% of the total video consumption is of the last mentioned, , Akella said.

Film and video piracy will impact small producers comparatively more during this lockdown. As theatres are shut and there is no box office to judge the value of the film, filmmakers and VoD services are likely to operate on revenue sharing basis in some cases, and divide profits based on how the film performs on the platform. As a result, piracy will take away significant chunks of their revenue.