Almost half of Thai consumers are using an “Illicit Streaming Device” (ISD) to access pirated video content, according to a study commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy.
The survey conducted by YouGov found that 45 percent of respondents were using these pirate boxes, which are sold under brands such as Mango TV, HD Playbox and U Play. Of those using these boxes, 69 percent said they had canceled all or some of their legitimate pay-TV services, 24 percent asserted that they canceled their subscriptions to a Thai-based online video service as a direct consequence of owning an ISD, and 30 percent had canceled an international or pan-Asian SVOD offering.
“The damage that piracy does to the creative industries is without dispute,” said Neil Gane, the general manager of the Coalition Against Piracy. “However, the damage done to consumers themselves, because of the nexus between content piracy and malware, is only beginning to be recognized. Piracy websites and applications typically have a ‘click happy’ user base, and, as such, are being used more and more as clickbait to distribute malware. Unfortunately the appetite for free or cheap subscription pirated content blinkers users from the very real risks of malware infection.
“This high rate of piracy is concerning for a number of reasons,” said Sompan Charumilinda, executive vice chairman at leading Thai pay-TV operator True Visions. “First is the danger to consumers through the use of malware and spyware embedded in these illicit sites and applications. Second is that supporting these criminal enterprises does real damage to legitimate businesses that are struggling to survive. Third, it also undermines the Thailand 4.0 initiative and the country’s aspiration to become counted among the world leaders in the new digital economy by showing Thailand to have made little progress in terms of its acceptance and tacit approval of these criminal networks. Consumers should care about piracy personally because of the harmful effects of malware and spyware, and also because of the damage that it does to our country. As a leading media company in Thailand we are happy to work with the Department of Intellectual Property, CAP and all relevant stakeholders to help continue to educate the public about these dangers.”