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Television Is Leading Target of Online Pirates

Online video piracy
(Image credit: Bill Hinton)

Online piracy is on the rise and the “television” category, which includes streaming services, is the biggest target.

That’s according to the latest State of the Internet (SOTI) report from Akamai, “Pirates in the Outfield,” which found that piracy was up 16% across all categories studied.

“Each day, hundreds of millions of connections to piracy websites are recorded, proving that the public’s appetite for streaming content is only growing, and their choice of access is fluid,” the report concluded.

Also: Court Fines Dish-Infringing Streamer $7M

Online security company Akamai looked at visits to piracy websites between January and September 2021 and found that demand for pirated television content — either directly via a browser or app, or via torrent downloads — totaled 3.7 billion unlicensed streams and downloads.

Most users accessed the pirate sites directly (61.5%), while only 28.6% searched for them.

Television was the top pirated industry by a wide margin, with 67 billion total site visits, followed by publishing at 30 billion, film at 14.5 billion, music at 10.8 billion and software, which includes video games, at 8.9 billion.

And the U.S. had the dubious distinction of being home to the most pirated countries at 13.5 billion visits to piracy websites, followed by Russia at 7.2 billion, India at 6.5 billion, China with 5.9 billion and Brazil rounding out the top five with 4.5 billion.

The report advises broadcasters and streaming services to help defend themselves by addressing “workflow issues and API-based problems since those are areas of exploitation for pirates, who often take multiple lines of attack.” ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.