Studios Say They Hate Piracy – but It Offers a Treasure Trove of Data | Charts

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The billions of dollars streamers lose to illegal downloads doesn’t stop them from leveraging the numbers to analyze viewer tastes

There are different takes on whether piracy is declining or increasing. (Getty Images)

Media piracy is on the rise lately, as consumers facing a crackdown on password sharing and rising subscription costs turn to the illegal downloads known as torrents or unlicensed websites. That’s one more headache for streamers which are looking to bolster their profitability and retain subscribers.

Yet there’s an upside to piracy that few in the industry care to openly discuss: The information gleaned from illicit streaming and downloads can give a glimpse into consumer tastes, and potentially guide streamers to new audiences or programming. And since streamers tend to keep their own viewing figures closely guarded, piracy data can be one of the few ways to get a broad view of what people want to watch.