Online Piracy

Online Piracy in Asia Pacific Walks Over Digital Footprint

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The level of piracy in India dwarfs neighboring countries

Online piracy is at an all-time high. In a recent study, India was ranked fourth worldwide in illegal downloads only behind the US, UK, and Canada. Countries which by the way have higher intent pirate penetration, higher bandwidth speeds than India. So, it clears that if the density of Internet users resorting to illegal piracy, India would be number one by a big margin. Piracy is still the biggest challenge for the Asia Pacific, especially in OTT platforms. And today with the new normal of staying at home, the concern is at its peak enough to set the chairs around the table.

Nearly half (49%) of online Filipinos admit to using streaming piracy, according to the YouGov study.

According to Media Partners Asia study, video streaming is up everywhere—and by as much as 60 percent in Southeast Asia. Media and its partners in the region find it more critical to address the serious challenge of online piracy. For example, on September 4th, Mulan, the movie was on Disney+ and offered it to people for $30 dollars. Some people paid the money, however, some people do not, they find the illegal copy on pirate streaming sites.

Rohan Tiwary, Head of Media, News & Entertainment Partnerships, APAC, writes;

Two years ago, we started talking to the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), the trade group for the video ecosystem in Asia, about how we could collaborate. Since then, we’ve been having quarterly forums with their members: broadcasters, operators, and telcos. We also make sure AVIA members are aware of new features like What to Watch, to ensure their legitimate content is visible and prominent on the search results page.

In conversation with Louis Boswell, CEO of AVIA about online piracy in the Asia Pacific (APAC)

How does the APAC region differ from others when it comes to broadcast, media and entertainment?

There are very divergent tastes in content across APAC, which is not surprising given the different cultures and languages. The genres that work best across multiple markets would be a mix of Western, Korean, and Chinese content. These genres are widely available but fragmented over many services, some not mature, and business models vary. In parts of the region, people have never developed a habit of paying for content, so platforms often feel they have to adapt their business models to compete with piracy in a far more pronounced way than in the West. In terms of consumption, many markets are mobile-first.

What role should education play in efforts to fight piracy? Do consumers in the region know how to access legitimate alternatives and why they should choose these options?

Consumer awareness is important to any anti-piracy strategy. Consumers need to know the very real risks they face from malware when accessing piracy sites or using illicit applications. Most people know that what they are accessing is stolen content: in a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), when asked who was most responsible for preventing piracy, Singaporeans chose “the individual, for choosing not to watch pirated content.” There are many legal and reliable video streaming services available in Southeast Asia. Websites that are dedicated to infringement are unreliable, put people at risk of malware infection, and fund crime groups. 

Over the last few years, Google has been a partner of AVIA—working to fight piracy in the region. Why are these types of partnerships worthwhile?

Piracy is an industry-wide problem, and industry needs to come together to fight it. AVIA represents many of the biggest IP owners in the region and Google has the most popular search engine and online video platform, so a couple of years ago we both agreed that it made sense for us to sit down and have a frank and open conversation about the problems of piracy, understand the tools and measures Google is putting in place, and provide a forum for our members to raise concerns that Google may be able to address.



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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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