Sports rights holders are missing out on up to US$28.3 billion in revenue per year due to piracy, according to a study by Synamedia and Ampere Analysis.
The report suggested that over-the-top (OTT) sports streaming services could gain up to US$5.4 billion alone just from removing piracy, with remainder of the total figure for pay-TV broadcasters.
The study analysed the demographics and characteristics of illegal users that would convert to the traditional and more importantly legal services available, as well as looking at how these audiences reacted once illegal services had been disrupted.
Ampere Analysis surveyed 6,000 sports fans, which revealed that 74 per cent would switch from illegal services to legal ones if available and illegal streams became more unreliable.
The report states that from its findings, rights holders could provide interventions for the 'converter cohort' - which they define as viewers who are most likely to switch to the legitimate platforms. This group is often young fans that watch a variety of different sports.
Reasons for consumers to opt for illegal streams include, flexible access without installations or long contracts, ease of use, availability on every device in any location and a price which is far lower than traditional pay-TV contracts.
“After years of growth, a recent downturn in rights fees has been exacerbated by the pandemic, hitting sports rights hard," started Yael Fainaro, senior vice president of security at Synamedia.
"But just as the value of rights is being eroded, there is now the prospect of creating new revenues by converting illegal viewers into paid subscribers.
“While previous attempts to value the revenue leakage from sports streaming piracy took a crude approach, we now have the detail to develop targeted approaches and the tools to deliver quantifiable results, ensuring every investment hits the jackpot.”
Author: Jake Wilkin