Wider Streaming Platform Choice Could Spur Piracy

The growth in streaming services and consumer subscription was initially viewed as a very favourable development. It signalled the end of the monopoly of major TV broadcasters and cable providers, along with their rigid programming and distribution structures. It’s a perfect display of how disruptive technologies can help improve market efficiency and increase customer choices. However, there are suddenly fears that these choices could very well lead to an increase in piracy. This has led to renewed calls for anti-piracy strategies to tackle the issue.

How choice and exclusivity may drive piracy 

The successes of major streaming providers have literally spoiled consumers with high-quality offerings such as A Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale and The Boys. Their success has inspired major media titans to also launch their own streaming services.

However, the business models are reliant not only on original and high-quality content, but also exclusive content. In order to view these shows, consumers have to subscribe to multiple streaming providers. Since entertainment is not exactly on the list of essential items, consumers will likely limit their spending to specific levels. Even now, Deloitte’s 2019 Digital Media Trends survey reveals that 47% of American consumers are frustrated by the increasing number of streaming subscriptions required to watch the shows they want.

The appeal of watching high-quality shows will inevitably compel a significant number of viewers to choose the path of piracy.

Strategies to deter streaming piracy

Analysts believe that streaming platforms may have to collaborate with each other to ensure that consumers are not driven away by increased choices and costs. Alternatively, a streaming aggregator may also emerge to fill the market gap. Regardless, it is important that streaming companies present a unified front to combat the threat of pirated platforms.

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