Tackling Video Piracy in the COVID-19 Era

June 18, 2021 4:09 pm Published by

Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, video consumption has surged. Viewership across SVOD services increased a massive 417% from the middle of March to the middle of April based on Reelgood data.

As video consumption increased, illegal content distribution also grew. Now more than ever, it’s important for content providers to safeguard their content, leveraging some of the advanced techniques discussed in this article.


There are several reasons why piracy is spiking during the pandemic. If people are overall consuming more SVOD content legally today, it makes sense that
piracy will accelerate in parallel. In addition, people are facing financial hardships, and are wanting to spend less money right now on video services.

Additionally, due to the pandemic, content has been delayed from being produced and released. With fewer options for fresh, new content, viewers are exploring additional options outside of their paid subscriptions. Also, the relaxation of content windowing techniques may have contributed to piracy by giving pirates
access to premium copies at a very early distribution stage.

In particular, there is a rising trend in piracy of content distributed via IPTV. This trend began in the Asia-Pacific region years ago and is currently intensifying across Europe.


One of the first steps content providers can take toward thwarting pirates is to remove the incentive. Content providers must offer a high-quality product and an excellent user experience at a fair price. This includes packaging and aggregating all of the available content, pricing it competitively, and offering unique features that cannot be found on pirate websites, such as start-over TV and catch-up TV.

Another critical step in preventing piracy is to create a barrier to entry. Content should be made hard to pirate. The best practice is to leverage multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses both preventive anti-piracy measures along with governing detection and enforcement.

Operators can take action against credential sharing by using analytics and other means, such as IP detection, to identify users using shared or stolen credentials to access services. AI is proving increasingly effective in isolating these patterns. Ultimately, users are encouraged to convert to legitimate services.

IP blocking is an especially relevant anti-piracy technique in in the APAC region. It involves content providers working with local regulatory bodies to block piracy websites from illegally broadcasting content. AVIA surveys have shown that when IP blocking is in place, it results in a decrease in piracy consumption and increase in legal consumption. Between August 2019 and June 2020, 2400 sites and apps were blocked, and piracy traffic dropped by 68% in Indonesia, to the Coalition Against Piracy.

Live events are highly targeted by pirates and a major source of revenue for content providers. Using a sophisticated anti-piracy service that features dynamic video watermarking technology, pay-TV operators and content owners can fight illegal streaming during live events faster than ever.

Dynamic watermarking technology is efficient, utilizing DRM with anti-debugging, anti-tampering, and other security features that allow operators to disable an application and revoke all content licenses in cases of abuse or hacking. Watermarking technology must be scalable, allowing operators to scan millions of devices and then pinpoint those that are pirating content.


Piracy is complex and evolving, threatening the value of pay-TV content. Given the shrinking revenues predicted for the media industry this year, combined with increased piracy, it’s critical more than ever to safeguard content. Partnering with an expert in content protection, offering a variety of countermeasures to attack piracy from multiple angles, operators can win the battle against piracy in the COVID-19 era and beyond.


By Kevin Le Jannic, Product Manager, Security, Viaccess-Orca

Categorised in:

This post was written by Viaccess-Orca