European media and entertainment executives have almost no faith that content piracy will wane in the coming years, despite content owners’ increasing engagement in combatting the problem with a combination of technology and cross-industry initiatives.
That’s according to a new report from security and multiscreen user experience solutions firm NAGRA, which found a mere 7% of M&E executives saying the proportion of European consumers accessing content illegally will fall by 50% or more in the next five years.
“In mostly smaller, emerging [Central and Eastern Europe] markets where piracy hits hard, there might be a more significant decline as the ecosystem acts to address the problem and its impact on churn and revenue,” the report reads. “What we’re seeing with the growth of premium OTT services are new opportunities for people to stream content illegally. There are always new emerging challenges for pay TV operators to deal with.”
Live video streams — including the rebroadcasting of live streams on social media platforms — was pointed out as one of the top concerns among executives in the report, though content owners are more actively engaged in combatting these forms of piracy, using a combination of technologies like forensic watermarking and cross-industry initiatives, to identify and remove illegal streams.
Outside of piracy, the report also polled executives on OTT disruption, with 26% of executives saying the growth of paid OTT services will have a negative impact on the industry over the next five years. Additionally, 79% said OTT subscription services are a valuable component of pay TV offerings.
“These latest findings shed new light on the key priorities and trends affecting service providers in Europe and are the first of a range of findings to result from the 2019 Pay TV Innovation Forum research program,” said Simon Trudelle, senior director of product marketing for NAGRA. “The growth of OTT services is undoubtedly having an impact on the pay TV and content industries and digital transformation is emerging as a key priority. It is exciting to see that while challenges exist, focus is on creating opportunities for growth and in the end, delivering services that will delight consumers and keep them engaged. The next few years will prove to be pivotal in this regard.”
Jon Watts, managing partner of MTM— which published the report with NAGRA — added: “Europe’s pay TV industry is at a crossroads, with slowing growth in many markets and increasing competition on the horizon. After nearly two decades of growth, we’re starting to see the signs of a very different industry – with a greater focus on the network, a broader offering of products and services, and new approaches to aggregation and content retailing. It’s encouraging to see signs of optimism and widespread interest in these new approaches, as the industry looks for the next wave of growth opportunities that will see it into the 2020s.”