The music industry isn’t the only one who is being negatively impacted by online piracy. New research suggests that the cost of piracy to Netflix, Hulu and their streaming competitors will top $50 billion between 2016 and 2022.
Digital TV Research measured the impact of piracy on streaming services across 138 countries. It estimates that the loss of subscription and ad revenue between 2016 and 2022 will total $52 billion. The figure does not account for losses sustained by traditional cable and satellite pay-TV players. A chunk of the losses can be attributed to the growing popularity of Kodi boxes, which make illegal downloading and streaming easier.
The United States lost the most to online piracy in 2016 – US$8.9 billion – and is expected to remain the most impacted in 2022, when US$11.6 billion is predicted to disappear. Piracy in China, which is the second-most affected with a US$4.2 billion loss in 2016, will spike up to US$9.8 billion by 2022.
Despite the expected losses, it’s not all bad news for streaming services; the gap between legitimate revenues from their services and piracy is widening. In 2016, revenues from legitimate streaming services totaled $37 billion versus the $26.7 billion lost to piracy. Next year the totals will be $55.5 billion and $37.4 billion, respectively.
Digital TV Research suggests emerging economies such as India and Brazil will be among the most impacted by piracy in the next five years, with India seeing its US$700 million losses in 2016 grow to US$3.1 billion. Brazil will add another US$1.1 billion in losses over the same period.
“Piracy will never be eradicated, however, it is not all bad news,” explained Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “Growth rates will decelerate as more effective government action is taken and as the benefits of legal choices become more apparent.”