Piracy & Illegal Downloads Are On The Rise, And Streaming Platforms Are Responsible

"You wouldn't steal a car..."

Piracy & Illegal Downloads Are On The Rise, And Streaming Platforms Are Responsible

According to new research, piracy and illegally downloading films/tv shows rose 16% in 2021. We believe streaming services are to blame for this rise.

Anyone who was around in the early 2000s will starkly remember that aggressive ‘Piracy. It’s A Crime’ ad that played in cinemas, on DVDs and even on free-to-air television. You know the one; ‘You wouldn’t steal a car… Piracy IS stealing. STEALING. IS AGAINST. THE LAW!’

And yet, most of us have illegally downloaded a TV show or movie, at least once. Although to any law authorities potentially reading this article, I’ve never done it and I’ve never even heard of The Pirate Bay

Piracy and illegal downloads were thought to be a thing of the past in Australia when the streaming platforms, Netflix Australia and Stan came along back in 2015. I know a, uh, *friend* of mine who was regularly downloading shows and movies illegally, but stopped completely once they got Netflix and Stan.

However, a report recently published by Akamai found that in 2021 piracy rates in Australia increased by 16%; meaning illegal downloads are on the rise again. And while streaming services were responsible for piracy rates drastically falling in 2015-2016, it’s likely they are now responsible for the piracy resurgence.

WATCH: In case, you’ve never seen the infamous anti-piracy ad…

Why? Well, nowadays there are literally hundreds of streaming services available. In addition to Netflix and Stan, there’s also Binge, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount Plus, AMC+, Hayu, Kayo… just to name a few. And each of these platforms provides access to different content.

Meaning if you want access to all the latest shows/films as well as all the classics, you’ll need to subscribe to multiple platforms; which adds up, as every platform charges a monthly fee. Plus, many franchises are not available in their entireties on one single streaming platform; again meaning you’ll need to fork out a bunch of cash to get all the platforms you’ll need to watch franchises from beginning to end.

For instance, if you’re wanting to watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), you’d need to subscribe to Disney+ (as they provide exclusive access to the majority of the MCU films and to all of the MCU television shows). But you’d also have to subscribe to either Binge or Stan, as Disney+ doesn’t have the second MCU film The Incredible Hulk (but Binge and Stan do), and Netflix, as Disney+ doesn’t have the twenty-third MCU film Spider-Man: Far From Home (but Netflix does).

These days, it’s common that to watch franchises (like the MCU) from start to finish, you must subscribe to multiple streaming platforms. Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Therefore, to watch the MCU in its entirety on streaming platforms would cost a minimum total of $32.98 per month (we’ve used the cheapest subscription tier for each platform to calculate this cost), which works out to be just under $400 for a whole year.

It’s honestly getting out of hand. Especially as the simple solution many came up with – each friend in the group pays for one streaming platform and then you all share the passwords for each platform with each other – will soon become more expensive; Netflix, for example, will soon charge users more if they wish to share their password with others.

Ultimately, my point is that with the cost of living rapidly rising, many just can’t afford to pay for multiple streaming services, but many still want to be able to watch quality content; so the solution is, unfortunately, piracy. That’s because piracy, or illegally downloading, is a free alternative to streaming platforms.

I must point out that neither I nor DMARGE condone piracy or downloading content illegally in any way. I’m simply pointing out that it’s likely piracy rates have increased because there are now multiple streaming platforms available and it’s expensive to subscribe to all or most of them. It’s a classic tale; the cure becomes the problem…

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