Could So Many Streaming Services Fuel Piracy?

Posted by Richard on June 9, 2022

Back in 2007, Netflix started offering what was then a novel service: Videos streamed directly to your PC or television. Up until then, if you wanted to watch a movie at home, you usually had to get into the car and run down to Blockbuster for physical copy.
The success of Netflix spurred lots of competition. Now, there are so many streaming services that it’s hard to keep them straight: Netflix, Prime Video, Paramount+, Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max and Apple TV, among others.

Initially, streaming services promised to cut cords, making expensive cable TV subscriptions unnecessary, if not quite obsolete. So by spending your $15 per month on Netflix, you were saving $50 or more on your cable service and more if you were paying for movie channels. But now, if you want all Hollywood has to offer, you’ll have to subscribe to multiple streaming services because companies have built walled gardens, gating off exclusive content and requiring subscriptions to gain access. So, by the time you subscribe to four streaming services, you are back to your $50 cable bill.

What will be the reaction?
Writing for The Conversation, academics Paul Crosby and Jordi McKenzie argue that people will turn, and are turning, to piracy. There are lots of other ways to steal movies: Stream ripping subscription services; sharing login credentials or hacking the ‘tokens’ that legit streaming services use to identify customers.
DataProt, a cybersecurity firm, reports that pirated videos get over 230 billion views per year. Similar to legitimate streaming services, streaming piracy accounts for 80 percent of online video theft. These stream ripping services surged 1,390 percent in the United Kingdom alone between 2016 and 2019.