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Why Anti-piracy Data Matters Featured Image
Why Anti-piracy Data Matters Featured Image

Why Anti-Piracy Data Matters to Your Business

Why Anti-piracy Data Matters

Why Anti-Piracy Data Matters to Your Business

For many rights holders, anti-piracy data is about enforcement activity, not business insights. If you’re not getting the kind of anti-piracy data that can impact your business, here is some food for thought. 

In a world where piracy completes directly with digital distribution, anti-piracy needs to be strategic. The best strategy uses data aimed at marketing results rather than to simply summarize enforcement activity. 

This is today’s marketing-focused, consumer-oriented approach to anti-piracy. Here’s how anti-piracy data can drive this new approach. 

Piracy is a competitor like any other

Just because a platform for content is illegal doesn’t mean it will not compete for your customers’ attention. 

In fact, the opposite is true. Infringing content is free and easily accessible, so these platforms have the potential to pull huge numbers away from streaming and downloads for:

  • Movies
  • TV
  • Music
  • Books
  • Digital Content

The data backs this up. Pirates are actually very clever marketers. Their content is free. Their overhead is low. And they make the most of organic traffic from all the same digital marketing channels you do.   

Social: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit collectively drove 418 million in traffic to infringing sites in Q4 2018. 


Search: ‘Fmovies’ has 1.6 million searches monthly. ‘Pirate bay’ has 3.9 million. ‘Avengers’, the biggest franchise in movie history? Only half a million. 

With these organic numbers, it’s clear consuming infringing content is not limited to some shady corner of the Internet. It’s mainstream — and it’s not going anywhere. 

Take music consumption, for example.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry found that more than one-third of music listeners around the world still pirate music. Listeners engage in this copyright infringement through ripping content from streams and downloading through P2P platforms like BitTorrent. The third most popular means for finding infringing content was through search engines.

And piracy captures as much traffic as their legal, commercial competitors. For example: 

  • gets 26 billion visits in traffic annually.
    The top 100 sites enforced by Netflix get 
    23 billion in traffic.
  • gets 3.1 billion visits in traffic.
    The top 25 sites enforced by the RIAA get 2.3 billion in traffic.
  • ScienceDirect gets 950 million visits in annual traffic
    Sci-Hub gets 300 million visitors.
  • gets 1.1 billion in traffic.
    The top 25 sites enforced by the ESA get 1 billion annually.

All of these commercial sites are matched by the top illegal competitors. And consumers are finding infringing content the same way you want them to find your content: through search and social. That’s what makes piracy a direct competitor. To see a case study in how this works, check out our case study on piracy vs digital streaming.

With anti-piracy data, you can identify underserved consumers and bridge that gap. 

Use anti-piracy data to understand and reach more consumers

Use anti-piracy data to understand and reach more consumers

Consumers have plenty of reasons to rationalize their choice to go with infringing content over legal options: they can’t afford the paid content, it’s not available in their region, the purchase process is too difficult or they just want to ‘stick it’ to big media corporations. 

So how do we do this better?

It’s a mind shift, but we like to organize our data around a few principles :

  • Focus on marketing channels for piracy vs all the interesting ways people pirate
  • Focus on digital consumers first, distributors second. Think like a digital business.
  • Focus on data that informs marketing strategy, not just punishing bad actors

Here are some questions to think about to get you into this mindset.

Questions for understanding the consumer

  • How are consumers finding piracy vs your content?
    Determine first where you should be focusing your anti-piracy efforts.
  • Which markets are searching for piracy most?
    Prioritize not by where you are enforcing but instead by where consumer demand originates
  • When do they search for it? Which distribution windows?
    Consumers will respond differently to different release models
  • How long does demand for a title last?
    Prioritize which content is more important to enforce on and for how long
  • Where is piracy appearing next to your brand online?
    Understand how consumers see infringement vs your brand on search results pages and social platforms

Questions for reaching the consumer

  • Which marketing channels have the most piracy?
    How and where are infringing platforms reaching consumers? Search and social nearly always play a leading role here.
  • How will my anti-piracy program impact those marketing channels?
    Think in terms of traffic and search volume, not just the number of enforcements. Has your program translated into better optimized marketing channels? 
  • What are the digital marketing KPIs for your anti-piracy campaigns?
    Marketing success isn’t determined by the number of ads you serve. Similarly, anti-piracy campaigns shouldn’t be measured by the number of removed pages. Think through organic traffic goals, social media engagement and visibility on search engine results pages. 
  • Can you prove an increase in marketing impact through your campaigns?
    The bottom line comes down to if anti-piracy services help you reach more consumers. If they don’t, it’s time to reconsider. 

Engage a vendor with a market-driven approach to anti-piracy data

If you’re convinced by a market-driven approach to anti-piracy you’ll need a vendor to match.

As you make your way toward upgrading your anti-piracy services, consider looking for an anti-piracy vendor that: 

  • Is data-driven, not driven to just generate data. Results matter more than enforcement activity. Reporting on just enforcement activity makes for lots of data, but little impact.
  • Reports business metrics, not just enforcement metrics. How does the vendor connect its anti-piracy services to marketing and sales? You want a vendor that can prove their business impact in business terms, not just anti-piracy terms. 
  • Can justify the ROI of anti-piracy. Go with a vendor that can translate the anti-piracy results into a real ROI, in marketing and sales terms. 
  • Delivers business friendly reports. You want real insights you can share with your marketing team and your management.  

Looking for more? Check out our guide on how to select an anti-piracy service