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Piracy, Account Sharing Resulted in $9B Lost Revenue in 2019 for U.S.

DALLAS—Pay-TV and OTT operators in the U.S. took a hit of $9.1 billion in 2019 due to consumers sharing accounts and pirating content, according to a report from Parks Associates. Looking forward, Parks says that it expects the value of pirate video services to exceed $67 billion worldwide by 2023.

A 2019 Parks Associates report detailed U.S. operators’ $9.1 billion loss revenue in 2019, about which $2.5 billion was lost directly because of pirating; across North America, pirating generated $8.4 billion in losses. Pirating methods that Parks highlighted in its report include theft of video content from production, from distribution, from jail-broken consumer devices and from hosting by other pirates.

However, Parks found that the most antipiracy efforts in the U.S. focus on detecting and reducing credential sharing and account abuse. A Parks survey of U.S. broadband homes found 5% used someone else’s credentials to access a pay-TV service, while 6% did so to access an online video service. Another report from Hub detailed how prevalent password sharing is, particularly among teens and young adults, 80% of which have said they have shared or have used a shared password for streaming services.

“Credential sharing falls into two categories,” said Steven Hawley, contributing analyst at Parks Associates. “Most sharing is casual, with no intent to profit. But the bigger risk is from pirates that purchase large stolen consumer databases via the ‘Dark Web’ and use automation to discover penetrable end user accounts.”

Overall, Parks says that 12.5 million pay-TV households accessed pirated video in the U.S. in 2019, but that number is still low compared to the Asia and Pacific region.

The full “Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks and Impact” report is available online.