The era of digital media had been incredible. It had completely changed the perception of entertainment. Right now, the streaming industry is booming as more and more people are cutting the cord. Internet Piracy or torrenting had always been a huge issue for content creators.
Around 2017-18 with the rise of Netflix and Spotify, it seemed that industry has found a good way to reduce online piracy. People for around 20$ per month found all tv shows and music they need. So dependency on torrent sites reduced significantly and few torrent sites were banned also. So, the overall situation looked quite bleak for online pirates.
Fast forward to 2019, traffic on BitTorrent is surging tremendously. While there are other usages of torrenting, its an open secret that most people are using it to share sponsored content illegally.
So the question is WHY?
It’s not that streaming services are becoming less popular. In fact, in 2018 Netflix usage overtook cable tv subscriptions. According to reports, 76% of USA customers are subscribed to Netflix whereas the number is 67% with cable tv usage. In my opinion, the streaming services are now making the same mistakes that cable industries made in the past.
Ever since the valve had launched stream for games, its widely accepted that the best way to curve piracy is to make paying for content affordable and more convenient than stealing. But the same situation is creating problems now. There are too many streaming services as content owners don’t want to share profit with 3rd party platforms.
In the recent past people had Netflix and in some cases Hulu. That was enough for most of the people to view shows they are interested in. But the problem is though Netflix is known for producing its own content, still, most of its popular content is brought from other rightsholders who licensed them their content. Friends, Breaking bad and office had been the most popular shows on Netflix in recent past. Friends and Office will leave Netflix along with many other shows by the end of 2019.
Popular shows will be exclusive to their own streaming platform. The situation is becoming the same as cable tv. People don’t want to pay 100$ per month for 200 channels they don’t care about. Disney, HBO , CBS all are launching their own streaming platforms. For instance, for Game of Thrones you have to pay 15$ per month for HBO subscription even though it is the only show you care about in their platform. So with all these subscription costs can easily rise up to 60$ or even more. The cost is now getting closer to cable tv subscription and tv box.
So, naturally, people will begin to explore other options like torrenting. Going back to piracy seems appealing to users again. The issue is not just with the money. Keeping up and checking all these services can be painful and distracting for many people.
Torrent sites are addressing this situation and the torrent community is becoming stronger than ever before. The most popular torrent site pirate bay is launching a live streaming feature soon. If the current trend continues, from my point of view people will subscribe to one or two streaming services and pirate shows from all other platforms.
So, streaming services should consider more than just their profit. A medium will be necessary where people can mix and max shows from various platforms. This seems to be the only way to tackle piracy as of now.