- DCA’s latest report on the American pirate IPTV scene records growth in the ecosystem.
- More than nine million subscribers in the U.S. alone are paying a total of $1 billion to these platforms.
- A sizable portion of this money goes to legitimate technical infrastructure services.
A report that came out from Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) and NAGRA explores the size of the pirate IPTV business in the United States. It also tries to determine who gets to receive the piles of money that go into it. Admittedly, the stats presented in the report are stunning, even for those who want to believe they have a realistic appreciation of this phenomenon’s extent.
More specifically, the revenues from IPTV subscriptions are estimated to be $1 billion annually in the US alone. This doesn’t include the sales of pirate streaming devices such as IPTV boxes.
Because those who sell pirate IPTV services don’t have to pay anything to secure broadcasting licenses, their only operational costs are those that concern the technical infrastructure of their platforms. This includes CDN providers, website hosting, social media marketing, online retailing costs, and coverage of payment processing fees.
Considering all of that, NAGRA and DCA estimate a profit margin in the range of 56% for the retailers and 85% for the wholesalers. That’s a lot higher compared to the tight margins that legitimate platforms have to work with. And did we mention these crooks don’t have to pay taxes?
The report estimates that there are at least 3,500 storefront websites and social media pages that promote illicit IPTV services to the American audience, and they have already managed to capture about nine million subscribers. So, who gets to enjoy all this money then?
The operators of the IPTV platforms are getting the most of it. At the same time, legitimate companies that support their illegal business also receive a sizable portion, which is precisely why they’re willing to participate in the scheme.
DCA points out that besides the damage to the actual creators of the content that’s accessed through pirate IPTV services, subscribers are running the risk of being infected with malware hiding in pirate streaming apps. We have seen these allegations coming from the same organization last year – and although no concrete connection with any real case was made then, we see this argument returning in the recent report.
Of course, the risk of malware infection is always there when downloading stuff from random sources, but it’s not like ransomware infections from pirate IPTV services have gone rampant. There are many valid arguments to use against illegal content distribution platforms, and contriving ambiguous points doesn’t help convince people.