Despite the growing number of technical and legal measures being put into place, we continue to see more and more media piracy around the globe. The most popular content remains films, TV series and music, with an especially strong rise in the illegal distribution of sporting events.
Several factors have enabled piracy practices and methods to flourish, not least the increasing use of streaming, the development of app systems, the more “professional” structure of illegal services and the use of social media platforms as relays.

This report begins with a snapshot of the illegal consumption of digital cultural products, then analyses the dynamics of live event piracy (including sport), explores the economic issues tied to piracy, then concludes with a series of recommendations for the ecosystem’s players.

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary
1.1. Background and methodology
1.2. Key findings
1.3. Recommendations for curbing piracy

2. Media piracy: a global phenomenon
2.1. Snapshot
2.1.1. Segmented solutions
2.1.2. Piracy on the rise around the globe
2.1.3. Type of content pirated – live on the rise
2.2. The mass market: an environment that enables piracy and a threat
2.2.1. Technological developments
2.2.2. An improved playback environment
2.2.3. Piracy is a well entrenched practice

3. Linear and sports content piracy
3.1. Pirating pay-TV and SVOD services
3.1.1. Card sharing
3.1.2. Pirate TV broadcasters
3.2. Streaming and indexing sites
3.2.1. Streaming sites
3.2.2. Indexing sites
3.3. Social media platforms
3.4. Interfaces and applications

4. Illegal services’ business models
4.1. Revenue
4.1.1. Advertising
4.1.2. Payment-based systems
4.1.3. Listing commissions
4.2. Costs
4.2.1. Distribution cost models on the open Internet
4.2.2. Other costs
4.2.3. Balance sheet

5. Impact on the industry
5.1. A source of value destruction for the industry
5.2. Loss assessments that are disparate by definition

6. Recommendations
6.1. Foster the development of legal services
6.2. Strengthen technical protection measures
6.3. Strengthen public-private coordination efforts
6.4. Promote consumer communication and education policies
6.5. Cut off pirate sites’ revenue streams

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

Table 1: A selection of sport content and live TV streaming and indexing sites
Table 2: A selection of APK and m3u indexing sites
Table 3: Examples illegal IPTV service prices

Figure 1: Number of visits to illegal content sites from the leading countries, 2017
Figure 2: Kodi device adoption in North America
Figure 3: Latin America leads the way in piracy
Figure 4: Increase in the number of Internet users and pirates in France
Figure 5: Proportion of users in the UK who have consumed legal/illegal content
Figure 6: Internet piracy solutions used in MENA
Figure 7: Snapshot of piracy in Indonesia, 2018
Figure 8: Snapshot of piracy in India, 2018
Figure 9: Progression of content piracy levels in Australia
Figure 10: Progression of illegal content consumption in France by type of cultural product, 2017
Figure 11: Type of content pirated in Australia, in 2017
Figure 12: Type of content pirated in Spain, in 2017
Figure 13: The most pirated sporting events
Figure 14: Number of 2018 World Cup match views on Facebook, YouTube and Periscope
Figure 15: Breakdown of monthly data traffic by application
Figure 16: Mobile subscription growth worldwide, by technology
Figure 17: Streaming devices used to watch online videos on a TV
Figure 18: Piracy methods; degree and frequency of use in France
Figure 19: Snapshot of VPN use around the world
Figure 20: Reasons given for using a VPN, in the UK
Figure 21: Reasons given for using a VPN, worldwide
Figure 22: Popcorn Time interface
Figure 23: Illegal content distribution in France by protocol
Figure 24: Adoption of live streaming on social media platforms
Figure 25: Active live streaming users on social media sites
Figure 26: Reasons given for using illegal services in the UK, 2017
Figure 27: Working to turn the tide on piracy in Australia, 2015-2017
Figure 28: Card sharing in the United States in 2015
Figure 29: TV card sharing
Figure 30: The beoutQ pirate satellite TV service
Figure 31: Number of copyright violations per channel in North Africa/the Middle East, 1/1/2017 – 31/1/2018
Figure 32: interfaces
Figure 34: CcloudTV Web interface
Figure 35: English language version of the RojaDirecta interface
Figure 36: How social media platforms rank in terms of accessing illegal content, in Spain
Figure 37: Top 5 pirate link hoster domains during the 2018 World Cup
Figure 38: Top 5 domain locations during the 2018 World Cup (for nine selected matches)
Figure 39: Number of illegal streams detected during 2018 Champions League matches
Figure 40: A beoutQ pirated live stream on Facebook Live
Figure 41: r/soccerstreams interface
Figure 42: Illegal streaming of a BeIN channel football match on YouTube Live
Figure 44: .m3u channel playlist, Germany
Figure 45: A BT Sport live stream using Acestream software
Figure 46: The preconfigured Kodi ecosystem
Figure 47: Mobdro Interface on an Android Box
Figure 48: How illegal content sites in Spain earn their money
Figure 49: Example of a CPM comparison in the United States, 2017
Figure 50: Price of entertainment service logins, sold on the Dark Net in the United States
Figure 51: A selection of fully loaded media streamer prices, on eBay
Figure 53: The Smart IP TV offer
Figure 54: Cost and revenue simulation for an illegal content site in a major European country
Figure 55: Breakdown of revenue sources for an illegal content site in a major European country
Figure 56: Value distribution in the TV value chain in the UK, in 2017
Figure 57: Price of football rights in Europe, per season
Figure 58: Progress of music industry revenue, 1997 – 2017
Figure 59: Consumer spending on video products in Europe
Figure 60: Examples of digital content revenue losses due to piracy, and their sources
Figure 61: Site closures, the Asia-Pacific example
Figure 62: How piracy affects users
Figure 63: Content theft and the malware cycle
Figure 64: A 360° strategy for fighting piracy

Geographic area



  • Acestream
  • BeIN
  • BeoutQ
  • Ccloud TV
  • Facebook Live
  • Google/Android
  • Instagram
  • Kodi
  • LiveTV
  • Mobdro
  • Netflix
  • Periscope
  • Popcorn Time
  • Reddit
  • RojaDirecta
  • Twitch
  • VLC
  • YouTube Live

Other details

  • Reference: M18250MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: French, English
  • Tags: content piracy, illegal consumption, live event piracy, media piracy, piracy, streaming

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