TV Everywhere, multiscreen services, and catch-up apps give consumers unprecedented flexibility to access content anytime, anywhere, and on any device. These digital services typically rely on simple username/password authentication, which puts content investments at risk for piracy. This report includes profiles and relevant case studies on current vendor solutions to prevent TV Everywhere piracy. It also assesses the effects of piracy on the content industry, particularly for pay TV, and forecasts potential revenue loss globally due to password sharing.
Content pirates are a diverse group. While the demographics of those engaging in content piracy are broad, a few general demographic trends stand out. Those engaging in password sharing, live streaming use, and downloads of videos via torrents skew towards ages 25 to 44. Income does not appear to be a determining factor in piracy activity, though consumers with higher incomes tend to allow others outside their household access to accounts for which they pay. Pooling resources is not a popular method of sharing credentials for online video services; only 3% of broadband households report engaging in this activity.
Credential sharing is most popular among Cord Nevers. Among all broadband households, 16% admit that they either use credentials to access a video service paid by someone outside the home, or they provide their own credentials for people outside of their home to use. Among pay-TV subscribers, only 7% indicate they use IDs and passwords for video services from people who do not live in their household, while only 8% indicate they allow people outside their household to use their credentials. At 14%, the rate of Cord Cutters who use others’ credentials for online video services is double that of all pay-TV subscribers; 18% of Cord Nevers indicate they use the credentials of someone outside their household to access an online video service.
Live Streamers generally skew younger, but piracy may be a different story. As of Q3 2017, 12% of U.S. broadband households watch live TV shows or sports through a live streaming platform like Facebook Live or Periscope. About 8% of broadband households watch live TV shows on live streaming apps, while 7% of households watch live sporting events on live streaming apps. Younger consumers are more likely to engage in social video generally, so it stands to reason that younger consumers in turn engage in more live streaming usage for television and sports programming as well. However, despite 19% of consumers ages 18-24 engaging in live streaming activity generally, substantially fewer use live streaming for TV shows and live sporting events, indicating a prevalent use for legitimate social live streaming video. This gap tightens up somewhat for older age groups, indicating older consumers that use live streaming apps are more likely to do so for piracy.
Forensic watermarking has emerged as a preferred solution to combat live streaming piracy.
Watermarking popularity has resurged in 2017, becoming a prominent topic at IBC 2017, the annual media and entertainment conference in Amsterdam, as a key solution for anti-piracy initiatives. There are two key reasons for an increased industry emphasis on forensic watermarking:
- MovieLabs released a set of certification standards for 4K content that includes forensic watermarking as part of its end-to-end protection requirements. Along with requiring AES 128-bit encryption, secure computation environment, and a hardware root of trust, forensic watermarking is required as a control measure for breach detection.
- Forensic watermarking is ideal for live events because it is quickly detectable, easily traceable to the source through a unique identifier, and allows for rapid issue of takedown notices and legal action. When incorporated as a component of a broader content security system, watermarking provides an effective way to identify and shut down content leaks from their sources.
Watermarking alone is not an anti-piracy solution, however. Watermarking only identifies the source of the infringing content stream; comprehensive solutions are necessary to issue takedown notices and enable legal action against content pirates.
Beware of emerging platform-based streaming piracy. Recently, a new set of software platforms have emerged to enable pirating content, though piracy was not their original intent. Home media server platforms like Plex and Kodi were intended to serve as interfaces for consumers to access content that they have purchased, created, or otherwise have the rights to use and view. By leveraging a number of programming loopholes, developers have been able to exploit these media server platforms to access copyrighted content illegally. Kodi is particularly problematic as it is an open-source platform, allowing third parties to easily develop add-ons that can be used to access content illegally.
1.0 Executive Summary
1.1 Key Findings
1.2 Consumer Data Dashboard
2.0 Trends Impacting Piracy and Password Sharing
3.0 Piracy in the Streaming Age
3.1 App-based Streaming Piracy
3.2 Platform-based Streaming Piracy
3.3 Credential-based Streaming Piracy
4.1 Forecast Methodology
5.0 Implications and Recommendations
5.1 Content Providers
5.2 Video Service Operators
5.3 Content Security and Cybersecurity Providers
6.1 Research Approach/Sources
- 20th Century Fox Television
- Audible Magic
- Comcast Content
- Content ID
- Entertainment Merchants Assoc.
- Ericsson Imagine Communications
- NAGRA Kudelski Group
- PlayStation Vue
- Pluto TV
- Shout Factory TV
- Sling TV
- Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Walt Disney Pictures
- Warner Bros. Television
- XBMC Foundation