India also ranked fourth in downloading Blu-ray files (171 million), surpassing China (50.8 million) and catching up with the US. (180 million). Photo: istock

India among top five countries for peer-driven piracy

A new report by Irdeto, identifies India among the top five countries for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloads, with over 965 million P2P downloads between January 2017 and May 2018

New Delhi: At ₹ 1.5 trillion, the Indian media and entertainment sector is one of the largest industries in the world, but continues to battle a serious piracy problem with $2.8 billion of its annual revenue going to piracy. A new report by global solution provider in digital platform security and media and entertainment, Irdeto, titled The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Threat Report, identified India among the top five countries for peer-to-peer (P2P) downloads, with over 965 million P2P downloads between January 2017 and May 2018. The research looked at P2P and web video trends in 19 high-piracy countries: US, Russia, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, UK, and Ukraine.

Demand for high quality video content drives P2P piracy and India accounts for 60% of piracy visits via P2P sites, the report said. India also ranked fourth in downloading Blu-ray files (171 million), surpassing China (50.8 million) and catching up with the US. (180 million).

Moreover, growth in web video piracy only adds to the global movie and TV piracy problem, rather than replacing P2P piracy. According to the report, visits to P2P sites accounted for 70% of global activity for both web video and P2P platforms. This behaviour led to an average of 800 million global monthly downloads from P2P sites in 2017. In addition, P2P activity in the most prominent high-piracy countries, which include Russia, India, Brazil, the Netherlands and the US, is either constant or increasing. The research reveals that web video sites source a significant proportion (28%) of their high-quality video content from P2P sites.

“While many expect P2P piracy to be taken over by streaming and direct downloads, it’s clear that this has not happened yet. P2P piracy is still a big threat to the industry, in which the overall piracy problem is growing," said Peter Cossack, vice-president, Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto, in a statement. “While the increase in bandwidth and social media has facilitated growth in content redistribution piracy, particularly around live sporting events, it is clear that other forms of piracy are not going away any time soon. This must be considered by content owners and rights holders in their security strategies."

The issue of piracy affects not just the movie industry, but others such as music, gaming and sport too. According to a study in 2017, 94% of Indian consumers admitted to using some form of piracy to access music. The new over-the-top (OTT) platforms are not immune either. Hundreds of stolen log-in details for popular OTT services are available every month on the dark web for an average of only $8.81/ £6.60, potentially putting consumers at risk and impacting OTT revenues, the report said.

The report discovered 854 listings of OTT credentials from 69 unique sellers across more than 15 dark web marketplaces in one month alone. These credentials were from 42 different OTT services including Netflix, HBO, DirecTV and Hulu.

“Content theft by pirates has become a full-fledged criminal enterprise, with some providing illegal subscriptions in an attempt to compete with established pay TV operators. Content owners, rights holders, technology and security partners and law enforcement agencies are working hard to combat the threat of piracy. However, consumers must also be vigilant to avoid the risks they may be subject to from illegal content," said Mark Mulready, vice president – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto, in a statement.