COVID-19 and the Effects on Piracy

Terri Denver
By Terri Denver

AntiPiracy | OpSec Online

In December of 2019, a new strain of coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China. In a matter of months, it had spread to several European countries. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Following the declaration from WHO, several other countries have also taken steps to contain the outbreak by shutting their borders and announcing quarantine measures.

The pandemic has led to global socio-economic disruption and has shown indications of an increase in digital piracy. The team at OpSec Online is monitoring all key piracy channels to share observations and analysis of the developing situation. This includes granular detail on peer-to-peer piracy consumption using OpSec Online’s Global Digital Piracy Index (GDPI).

Our regular updates will provide insight into the evolving piracy landscape and provide a closer look at country specific consumption data.

IPTV: Opportunistic Sellers

IPTV operators have been using the crisis as an opportunity to position their services as the ultimate entertainment source for people in quarantine and to gain new customers.

A number are offering large discounts and even using ‘COVID 19’ and CORONA ’ as voucher codes, which has caused some controversy within the IPTV community, with some describing this as ‘tasteless’.


P2P Piracy Activity

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) piracy data is the most accurate and granular view available into global piracy consumption. It only tells part of the story, but when collected consistently for a representative sample of titles at large scale, it is a useful indicator of changes in consumption patterns and behavior.

OpSec Online collects data on billions of P2P transactions every year for Film, TV and Music content being distributed illegally through BitTorrent. This data, known as the Global Digital Piracy Index (GDPI) GDPI), covers a consistently selected set of the most popular titles in these three categories of content allowing us to measure and analyze piracy geographically as it occurs.

Please note that unique files being distributed on P2P are tracked by their unique Hash and unique peers/users are tracked by IP address. The combination of a unique IP and Hash is what we refer to as a P2P Infringement . The data we report represents unique Infringements throughout the entire collection time period so there is no double counting or artificial inflation of the volumes. It is also important to note that this data is real transactional records and no estimate models, factors or multipliers have been applied to this data.

P2P Piracy Highlights

  • Over 1.5 BILLION Infringements collected in February and March 2020 for Film, TV and Music
  • 42 Countries , with more than 100k average weekly Infringement volume, had a 40% increase in TV piracy from the first week in Feb to the third week in March.
  • 30 Countries , with more than 100k average weekly Infringement volume, had a 40% increase in FILM piracy from the first week in Feb to the third week in March.
  • Notable increases in Europe: Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Greece and Belgium

Piracy by country

P2P by Content Type

  • Countries : Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Greece and Belgium
  • Date Range: 02/03/2020 03/29/2020

Piracy by content 2


Noticeable changes on social media

  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, VK and Reddit show no significant changes in popularity.
  • TikTok is getting more popular. There has been a lot of Coronavirus related content on TikTok. Users in countries impacted by the virus are vlogging daily. By the middle of March, TikTok had been installed almost 2billion times across the globe.
  • Twitch popularity is also rising. In March avg. viewers were 1,637,064 compared to 1,410,516 in February.


What's Next

Stay tuned as we continue to provide additional updates over the coming weeks that will continue to focus on:

  • IPTV
  • P2P
  • Web (DDL)
  • Streaming
  • Social Media

Visit our website for more information about out AntiPiracy solutions.

Read Part 2


AntiPiracy, OpSec Online

Terri Denver

Terri Denver

Terri Denver is OpSec Online’s Vice President of Global Sales for AntiPiracy. Prior to her current role, Terri headed up Global Sales for MarkMonitor AntiPiracy and Brand Protection for APAC and LATAM regions. Terri has worked in the online content protection business for over 15 years and has partnered with major media organizations and technology platforms, developing comprehensive intellectual property protection programs.

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