Cinelytic CEO: Finding the Silver (Data) Lining in Pervasive Piracy


LOS ANGELES — Nobody in the industry is a fan of piracy and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. It’s billions out of the pockets of content owners, creators, and everyone associated with getting it to paying consumers.

But piracy and P2P exists, and so too does the data around what’s being stolen and who’s stealing it. Tobias Queisser, co-founder and CEO of Cinelytic, has his company finding the silver lining in piracy for content companies, digging into that P2P data to garner predictive insights into what people are actually paying for in the streaming space.

“One of the biggest data sets that [we found to be] predictive was P2P file sharing,” he said March 4 during a main stage presentation at the Smart Content Summit. “What people were watching illegally correlated to what people were watching illegally.”

By examining illegal online P2P based file sharing data of film and TV content, Cinelytic found up to 90% correlations for digital OTT consumption among legitimate platforms, and — more crucially — the company was able to predict what would be popular a full two weeks ahead of time on legitimate services, based on what people were stealing elsewhere.

Additionally, Cinelytic, by tracking IP addresses of those stealing content, can create “lookalike audience” profiles to accurately gauge the make-up of who should eb targeted for pay-for services., covering household income, gender, age and more.

“This is about understanding the audience in a deeper way, so you can target them much earlier,” Queisser said. “You can plan, understand and plan marketing campaigns targeting your consumers earlier on.”

He shared one example where a new SVOD provider was preparing to expand into Southeast Asia and African markets, but had a lacked of data on potential consumers and regional differences in content consumption to go on. Piracy data provided key metrics to help that provider grow by more than two million subscribers in two years.

“[The data] can help at every stage of the content value chain,” Queisser said.

The Smart Hollywood Summit was sponsored by TapeArk and Seagate, Whip Media Group, EIDR, BeBanjo, Cinelytic,, Sohonet, Spherex and Sony, and produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Smart Content Council.