Sports video operators & rights owners can unlock $28 billion in new revenue by combating piracy

The study evaluates how different sets of illegal viewers respond to anti-piracy measures.

New Delhi: Amid the growing threat posed by streaming pirates, a new research conducted by Synamedia has found that service providers and rights holders of sports events can unlock up to $28.3 billion in new revenue each year by putting some anti-piracy measures into place.

The UK-based video software provider company undertook the survey in ten markets - Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US in March 2020 in partnership with data and analytics firm Ampere Analysis. Over 6,000 sports fans aged 18-64 years who were part of the survey were pre-filtered and chosen based on their experience of watching sports on TV.

The online quantitative study used a new model to evaluate how different illegal viewers respond to anti-piracy measures. According to the report, 74 per cent of sports fans are willing to switch from illegal streams if a legitimate alternative is available and if the illegal streams become unreliable. Majority of these fans are younger and are often families with young children. They are avid sports viewers with many watching 10 or more different sports using connected devices.

At least 40 per cent of the converter cohort say they would subscribe to OTT streaming sports services, including single-sport services run by rights owners, with the balance opting for traditional pay-TV services, particularly those that offer exclusive sports rights. In fact, 57 per cent of the converter cohort already pay for legitimate services and 52 per cent pay for pirate services, as per the study.

However, converting pirate customers to legitimate ones require service providers to address the triggers that encourage consumers to seek out illegal services in the first place, said the study. Some of these measures could be a flexible access without complex installations or long contracts, ease of use, and availability on every device in any location, coupled with a price point that is often much lower than a traditional pay-TV service with premium sports tiers included.

“After years of growth, a recent downturn in rights fees has been exacerbated by the pandemic, hitting sports rights hard. But just as the value of rights is being eroded, there is now the prospect of creating new revenues by converting illegal viewers into paid subscribers,” said Synamedia senior vice president of security Yael Fainaro. 

While previous attempts to value the revenue leakage from sports streaming piracy took a crude approach, Fainaro said the software provider company now has the detail to develop targeted approaches and the tools to deliver quantifiable results, ensuring every investment hits the jackpot.

The report - Pricing piracy: the value of action, uses a detailed model that takes into account all the complexities and nuances of sports piracy viewing. It identifies the demographics and characteristics of those illegal users who are most likely to convert to legal services, including their reaction when illegal viewing is disrupted.

As service providers address the triggers that lead consumers to seek out illegal services, the report can help them in transforming piracy from a cost centre into a revenue opportunity with measurable RoI. The findings can also enable service providers to target interventions - such as disrupting streams and incentives – at those viewers most likely to switch to legitimate services: the ‘converter cohort’, said the company, which has an experience of over three decades in video security.

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