6.5 Percent of North American Households Engaged in TV Piracy


A new report from Sandvine reveals that 6.5 percent of households in North America are accessing pirated live TV services each month, which could cost communication service providers (CSPs) more than $4 billion in revenue this year.

The report, Global Internet Phenomena—Spotlight: Subscription Television Piracy, is based on data collected from multiple fixed access networks in North America and examines the mechanics, economics and usage drivers of pirated TV services. It concludes that pirate television services could generate more than $800 million annually for the operators.

During its investigation, Sandvine observed four distinct usage trends tied to the viewing of pirated TV services: premium television, live sports, news and international/expatriate content. Zeroing in on sports, the Mayweather vs. MacGregor boxing match in August accounted for 80 percent of all pirate streams the evening it occurred, and the event may have been watched by 1 percent of all households in North America.

“Continued adoption of pirate video and television streaming services could lead to increased cord-cutting and create ‘cord-nevers,’ people who never sign up for a standard TV subscription,” said Lyn Cantor, CEO of Sandvine. “This will significantly impact CSPs’ revenue and profitability, undermining the business models that keep them operating. The active network intelligence that Sandvine provides can help CSPs monitor the threat that pirate television services pose, while also supporting law enforcement and regulatory efforts aimed at preventing the proliferation of illegal streaming services.”