After a movie is released in cinemas, it takes some time for it to hit the shelves of the shops in DVD/Blu-ray format. At the same time, it goes to Pay-per-View (not long after its theatrical release), then to HBO (a subscription-based, ad-free cable TV service), and finally, to commercial television where it is broadcast on cable or through the airwaves, divided by advertising breaks. This was the normal circuit for a movie before Netflix came along.
The service has become well-known because of its massive library of content from pretty much every major studio, its accessibility, and worldwide reach. Today, it is just as easy to watch a series on Netflix as it is to place a bet at Betway: all you need is a smartphone and an internet connection to do so. This accessibility – along with the affordable pricing – caused Netflix to be credited with the significant reduction of piracy when it comes to movies and TV series. After all, why waste the bandwidth and the storage space when you can simply stream your favorite movie or TV show online.
But the success of Netflix has prompted others to follow its footsteps. Today, many major media groups and tech companies like Apple and Amazon are building their own library of exclusive content. This means that, instead of a single, affordable subscription, viewers now have to consider several to keep up with all the best shows around. And this, invariably, has led to major growth in piracy in the last few years.
The streaming conundrum
Aside from a few minor competitors, Netflix was, for years, the only truly massive online video streaming platform until a few years ago. Today, in turn, things are different. Aside from the red giant, there are several major players, all of them with their exclusive offering: Amazon already has its Prime Video, Apple prepares to launch its TV+ with several attractive shows, CBS has its All Access service where it rolls out exclusive content (most notably Star Trek: Discovery), Universal has a service where it streams its own DC properties, and let’s not forget Disney+, the service set to be launched this fall, filled with popular Star Wars and Marvel movies and series – all of them exclusive, of course.
Subscribing to all of these would cost you a small fortune.
BitTorrent on the rise – again
According to a recent report published by global network analyst Sandvine, BitTorrent traffic has risen significantly last year, after gradually decreasing for almost a decade. For those unfamiliar with the term, BitTorrent is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing used to distribute everything from Linux distributions to, erm, pirated video content. And with the rise of streaming services and their exclusive content, the usage of BitTorrent has also grown significantly, indicating that many users have returned to piracy.
The media industry has spent years trying to battle piracy through a series of measures, and the affordable and accessible media streaming has proven to be a good solution. Now, with the rise of exclusive content scattered across several services, piracy is returning in force.