Has Netflix and Amazon Prime Video's battle for viewers led to increase in piracy?

Netflix

A new report shows that video piracy could be on the rise again after years of decline, and Netflix and Amazon’s fight to attract customers could be to blame.

The report, published by networking company Sandvine, shows a marked rise in BitTorrent traffic, which is a good (though imprecise) indicator of pirate activity. This follows years of decline in piracy, partly due to more aggressive anti-piracy methods by content creators and ISP (internet service providers), and also by the convenience of legal streaming.

As BGR notes, when Netflix launched in a new country, a decrease in torrenting and piracy was recorded. However, it looks like that could now change.

A war where everyone loses

So, what could be to blame for this apparent rise in piracy? According to Cam Cullen, VP of global marketing for Sandvine, the fight between Netflix and Amazon Prime (and other streaming services) for viewers could be the reason.

As Cullen explains, “more sources than ever are producing "exclusive" content available on a single streaming or broadcast service – think Game of Thrones for HBO, House of Cards for Netflix […] To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest.”

This certainly makes sense, and if you want to watch Game of Thrones (HBO), Stranger Things (Netflix) and American Gods (Amazon Prime Video), then you’ll need three separate subscriptions. That can prove very pricey indeed.

Cullen also points out that a lot of these exclusive shows are not available worldwide, so people in countries where they cannot access the shows legally are now pirating them. If a show gains huge popularity and rave reviews, but the service it’s on doesn’t act fast and makes it available legally worldwide, then it can be a victim of its own success.

We’d also suggest that spoiler culture is partly to blame as well. When the latest episode of Game of Thrones airs in the US, for example, people around the world may not want to wait until it airs in their country for fear of spoilers – even if the difference is only a couple of hours.

We’d also suggest that spoiler culture is partly to blame as well. When the latest episode of Game of Thrones airs in the US, for example, people around the world may not want to wait until it airs in their country for fear of spoilers – even if the difference is only a couple of hours. potential customers looking to watch the shows illegally instead.