The Philippines ranked third among East and Southeast Asian countries in terms of subscription video on demand piracy, which restrains the growth of the creative industry and deprives the government of tax revenues, a trade association disclosed.
“While legal SVOD (subscription video on demand) monetization is growing, piracy remains pervasive in the Philippines,” Neil Gane, General Manager of Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy, said in a virtual roundtable discussion organized by Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute on Thursday.
AVIA is an industry association composed of multichannel TV broadcast, digital multichannel television, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery service providers across Asia.
Gane said that a report of Media Partners Asia showed that while SVOD is projected to become a $250-million industry in the Philippines this year, the industry would lose about $120 million to piracy.
“Piracy is depriving SVOD of $120 million in revenue per annum, more than 90 percent of the current legal opportunity,” Gane said in his presentation titled Digital Risk in the New Normal.
He said legal SVOD has been growing in the country, led by current players such as Netflix, Viu, HBO Go and Prime Video. Disney+ Hotstar and homegrown Viva are set to launch their SVOD services in 2021, he added.
Gane further said that a YouGov September 2020 survey showed that among eight East and Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines ranked third among the percentage of consumers who admit having accessed piracy streaming sites.
About 49 percent of respondents in the Philippines admitted having accessed piracy streaming sites in September 2020, behind 53 percent in Thailand and 50 percent in Vietnam.
In comparison, Hong Kong only had 48 percent of respondents admitting having accessed piracy streaming sites; Taiwan, 33 percent; Indonesia, 28 percent; Malaysia, 22 percent; and Singapore, 17 percent.
Gane said that in the same survey, 47 percent of consumers in the Philippines who accessed piracy sites admitted having cancelled their subscriptions to both local and international content services.
He said most respondents believe that online piracy have negative consequences for the Philippines.
About 50 percent of respondents in the YouGov study believe that online piracy results in people who work in the creative industry losing their jobs and 55 percent say that online piracy results in people making profits from content that is not theirs.
About 49 percent of the respondents believe that online piracy increases the risk of malware infections on people’s computers and devices and 44 percent say online pirates do not pay taxes and therefore all of society is being defrauded.
About 29 percent of the respondents say online piracy has negative consequences for the Philippines in other ways, while only 9 percent believe that online piracy does not have negative consequences for the Philippines.
Online infringement tracker White Bullet said that globally, 12 percent of the top pirate sites were found to have malware and fraud and 29 percent have branded ads including premium brands which gives the sites a sense of credibility and often well-funded with higher priced ads. About 3 percent carry explicit pornographic ads.
White Bullet also reported that of the top 20 pirate sites in the Philippines, 17 percent have malware and fraud which was higher than the global average. About 49 percent carry branded ads while 11 percent explicit pornographic ads, both of which are much higher than the global average.
Gane said that to combat piracy, 53 percent of online Filipino consumers agree that the most effective measure is a “government order or law for ISPs to block pirated websites”. Senate Bill No. 497 was filed in January 2019 to institutionalize the Online Infringement Act.
Gane said site blocking is both an effective and a commonly used disruptive tool in the fight against online piracy which is being used by 45 countries around the world. Among them are Indonesia and Malaysia which saw a significant drop in video piracy over the past year.
Results of the YouGov Consumer Research particularly showed a 55-percent reduction in Indonesian consumers who access piracy streaming websites over a 10-month period from September 2019 to June 2020 following the government’s adoption of site blocking.
This blocked more than 2,800 streaming sites and apk domains since July 2019 and resulted in 69-percent reduction in traffic to the piracy streaming websites and a 30-percent increase in traffic to legal services.
From 63 percent of consumers who admit having accessed piracy streaming sites in Indonesia in September 2019, the number went down to 28 percent in June 2020.
“Indonesia is now market leader in IP protection in Southeast Asia, boosting growth of legitimate services,” Gane said.