Super Bowl Piracy on YouTube and Facebook Reached an Audience of 12 Million

By Bill Toulas / February 7, 2020

This year’s Super Bowl match between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers was a great reminder of the fact that social media remains an astonishing platform for pirates. According to data that was published by VFT Solutions, an anti-piracy organization, there were approximately 12 million people who watched the game on YouTube and Facebook, using illegal video feeds that were shared on other platforms, online discussions on forums, and channels of communication. In total, broadcasters estimate the total audience of the event to have reached 100 million, so pirates accounted for at least 12% of that.


Source: Torrent Freak

We say at least because the data doesn’t include those who enjoyed the game through dedicated pirate platforms such as sports feeds on IPTV services. Besides YouTube and Facebook, VFT also reports illegal activity on Twitch, VK, and Twitter’s Periscope. In total, there were 2650 individual pirate streams broadcasting Super Bowl on the aforementioned platforms, so you can get an idea of why it is so hard for human teams to report all that is going on and expect the platforms to remove these links in a timely manner.

In terms of percentage, 70.6% of these streams appeared on Facebook, 20.8% were to be found on YouTube, while Periscope and Twitch followed with less than 5% each. However, when it comes to the number of viewers, YouTube comes first with 62.9%, leaving Facebook second with 22.7% and Periscope third with 13.1%. VFT reports that 80% of the viewers watched the match live, but 60% enjoyed the feed for less than 15 minutes. This is either because the streams were taken down, or because they weren’t very interested in watching the game after all.

VFT is taking this chance to promote their “message insertion” service, trying to convince the broadcasters that sending a message to the pirates to let them know of the legal alternatives is the ideal way to raise awareness and give them a push to the right direction. Many of the recipients would be willing to pay something in order to enjoy their favorite sport without interruptions, while others may have not realized that they’re watching an illegal stream. Some could be deterred from piracy as the message would indicate that there are systems in place that monitor their illegal activity. Last year, the “Get it Right” campaign tried to do the same in the UK, reporting some success following this approach.

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