Internet Governance 30 June 2014

The Relationship Between Content Availability and Piracy

If it hasn’t been clear enough from the Global Internet Report or from much of what we deal with every day on the Internet, content is driving massive amounts of traffic – and with that sometimes comes online piracy.


While the term online piracy often conjures up images of hackers and students holed up in a dark room downloading everything they can, one of the factors that is driving piracy today is the “average” user looking for specific content.


Today’s Internet user is far more empowered than ever before. They want to consume content when they want – which is usually as soon as it’s released – and not wait for companies to decide when the content will be made available in their region. A good example was the recent “Game of Thrones” finale, which according to some sources crossed 2 petabytes of illegal downloads in the first 12 hours after its airing.


In fact, in a recent survey in four countries in Asia – Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and India – 37% of respondents cited lack of legal availability as their top reason for consuming pirated content, ahead of any other factor.


Creating different pricing and bundling arrangements in different geographies only exacerbates the issue. Consumers are able to easily compare content pricing and availability across regions, and they increasingly want flexibility in selecting exactly the content they want. Pushing content out only through traditional methods, in some cases, does little to alleviate the issue. These new generation of consumers are demanding that industry keeps up with them and their requirements – and are willing to go around it if it doesn’t. 


So what to do?  The key, as with any business, is to be responsive to customer demands, and to continually tweak business models and processes to supply what customers now want today. By innovating and looking for new ways to legally deliver the right content to the right audiences at the right time, companies can help turn the tide in the fight against piracy.

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