Perhaps not surprisingly, movie piracy has skyrocketed in recent weeks. Much of the world is cooped up inside with stay-at-home orders forcing us into quarantine, all for the greater good. That has also left millions in need of ways to amuse themselves, and turning to movies and TV is a great way to kill time. Even with streaming services available to make things convenient, piracy has seen a massive spike during this time.
According to a new study conducted by Muso, visits to illegal movie streaming and downloading sites went up by 41.4 percent in the U.S. during the last week of March, when compared to the final week of February. The U.K. experienced a similar bump, with such websites seeing a 42.5 percent increase in traffic. This trend was largely consistent throughout Europe, with Italy seeing a staggering 66 percent bump. Germany's traffic to these sites increased by 35.5 percent.
It's important to note that these are websites specifically aimed at movies. TV piracy increased by 8.7 percent in the U.S. during the time period covered by the study, which is markedly smaller in terms of a percentage of growth. However, overall, TV piracy is magnitudes greater, as Muso logged 601.3 million visits, in total, to TV piracy sites during the last week of March. Movie sites, on the other hand, saw just 137.4 million total visits. Andy Chatterley, CEO of Muso, had this to say.
"Piracy or unlicensed consumption trends are closely linked to paid-for or licensed content. So, just as Netflix has seen large subscriber gains, we have seen a significant spike in visits to film piracy sites."
It is difficult to say what accounts for these differences in the numbers. In the TV landscape, content is spread across a wider variety of platforms and networks. As cable subscriptions decrease and more streaming services take over, it has become more attractive for some to pirate shows they don't have access to through legal channels. Movies, meanwhile, are slightly less spread out. But right now, movie theaters are closed. There are fewer options for new movies available. That could help to explain the dramatic spike in piracy, specifically for movies.
It is worth noting that streaming services have enjoyed a surge in use during this time as well. Netflix recently reported adding a record number of streaming subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 and Disney+ has surpassed 50 million subscribers. Studies have also shown that traffic on streaming services has increased a great deal as people are practicing social distancing. These piracy numbers are undoubtedly concerning for those in the movie business, which is struggling a great deal right now and faces an uncertain future. That said, legitimate facets of the industry are thriving as well, which provides a little light at the end of the tunnel. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.