An abundance of streaming services is causing piracy to rise, according to a new report.
Sandvine’s 2018 Global Internet Phenomena report says that use of file-sharing service BitTorrent is increasing, after years of decline. While BitTorrent can be used for legal means, it’s best known as the service of choice for internet pirates, who can upload and download ill-gotten content at the same time.
The report suggests that the proliferation of streaming services means consumers are loathe to pay for them all. Hence they’re illegally downloading the shows not on their service(s).
This contradicts previous evidence that streaming services reduced piracy by making content available easily and cheaply.
“Previous editions of the Phenomena report noted a decrease in file sharing traffic as Netflix and other streaming services came online, making content available through legal means,” Cam Cullen, Sandvine’s vice president of global marketing, wrote in a blog post. “Well that dynamic is changing yet again.”
He said multiple services were proving too pricey for most consumers.
“More sources than ever are producing ‘exclusive’ content available on a single streaming or broadcast service – think Game of Thrones for HBO, House of Cards for Netflix, The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, or Jack Ryan for Amazon. To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest,” wrote Cullen.
Which makes sense. How many people are really going to subscribe to Netflix, Amazon and Sky/Now TV, on top of paying the licence fee? With new streaming services from Disney and Apple imminent, the situation could get worse before it gets better…