Online piracy surges as viewers battle ‘subscription fatigue’

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Insights from Fast Company, VICE, African Business

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Online piracy is on the rise as viewers suffer “subscription fatigue” from signing up for multiple platforms to watch shows, and as streaming services hike prices and crack down on password sharing, Fast Company reported.

Visits to piracy websites are up 12% since 2019 to about 386 million visits a day, according to anti-piracy analyst MUSO, with internet, TV and film piracy costing the U.S. economy an estimated $29 billion in lost revenue each year.


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Streaming giants can address piracy surge by adjusting platforms

Sources: VICE, Fast Company, The Daily Beast

Digital pirates also tend to be among the biggest purchasers of legal content online, with experts saying these audiences are often more committed to the content they consume than those who pay for streaming services. “The people I know who do [pirate] are some of the most rabid cinephiles I know,” one director told The Daily Beast.

Ernesto Van der Sar, editor of the trade publication TorrentFreak, told The Daily Beast that the streaming industry needs to converge towards a system where consumers can watch “pretty much everything they like for an affordable price.” However, in an industry that is constructed around licensing silos with billions in revenue at stake, “that’s easier said than done,” he admitted.

Piracy costs entertainment industries dearly in jobs

Sources: The Motion Picture Association, African Business

Piracy costs the U.S. entertainment industry employment up to 560,000 jobs each year, according to the Motion Picture Association. And it costs the national music industry more than 70,000 jobs each year, per one report.

In Africa, where piracy is widespread, cracking down on digital theft is especially important, one anti-piracy expert told African Business, because the television sector is an “economic multiplier” that creates thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly.

“When people steal content, those productions stop being viable,” he said. “Those stories are not told, and the people who create that content are not paid.”