Digital piracy costing MEA industry $750m per year
Better education on the damage that piracy inflicts on industry needed, says IDC
The use of illegal set-top boxes, unauthorised VPN subscriptions and torrent downloads is costing the legitimate content delivery industry over $750m in lost revenue every year, according to the latest insights from IDC.
Indeed, the research house said that the use of illegal set-top boxes, unauthorised VPN subscriptions and torrent downloads has become so rife across the MEA region that they now pose a serious threat to the region's legitimate ecosystem of production, acquisition, delivery and commercialisation.
"At IDC, we believe that illegal content transmission within MEA costs the industry in excess of $750 million in lost revenue every single year," says Tracey Grant, the firm's program manager for digital media and broadcasting in MEA.
"Sitting at the heart of the problem is the 'laissez faire' consumer mindset that characterises much of the region, with large sections of the population viewing content piracy as entirely socially acceptable and as a victimless crime. It is an incredibly ingrained and difficult mindset to overcome, and represents the single biggest challenge facing industry stakeholders looking to bring the practice under control."
Grant added that it is clear the consumer mindset towards piracy across the region needs to change. She said that this would not be easy to achieve, but she also pointed out that there is scope to educate the market in an attempt to alter the region's prevailing attitudes.
"A key area of focus for consumer education should be the damage that piracy causes to local industries. In this regard, it is a simple matter of return on investment, because if an industry is not properly protected, growth is inevitably restricted and the cost of innovation and production becomes prohibitively high," she said.
"There is considerable demand in the region for more localised content, but consumers must understand that such content comes at a price."
Grant added that, if the content created by independent production houses is continuously pirated and made available for free via illegitimate channels, those production houses will simply cease to make content.
"As such, there is a pressing need to educate consumers on the damage that piracy inflicts on the ability of the region to develop and sustain a truly viable ecosystem of local production," she said.