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New Survey Shows Philippines Among Highest in Online Piracy in Southeast Asia

Nearly half (49%) of online Filipinos admit to using streaming piracy websites or torrent sites.

Photo by Marfil Graganza Aquino on Pexels

A new study of the online content viewing behaviour of Filipino consumers has found that 49% access streaming piracy websites or torrent sites. The levels of piracy went as high as 53% within the 25-34 age demographic. The survey commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by YouGov, found that 47% of consumers who accessed piracy sites cancelled their subscriptions to both local and international content services.

The levels of piracy in the Philippines now dwarfs neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia which have both seen substantial reductions in online piracy over the last 12 months. In Indonesia a similar YouGov survey found a massive 55% reduction in Indonesians accessing piracy services with 28% of consumers admitting to accessing piracy websites compared to 63% in 2019. In Malaysia, a YouGov survey found a 64% decline in users accessing piracy sites when compared to a similar YouGov survey in 2019.

In both countries, a key variable for the decline in online piracy levels was the government’s proactive piracy site blocking initiative. In Malaysia more than half (55%) of online consumers noticed that a piracy service had been blocked by the Malaysian government, which subsequently influenced viewing habits with 49% stating that they no longer accessed piracy services and 40% saying that they now ‘rarely accessed’ piracy services as a result of the site blocking.

A Bill currently before the Philippine Senate (Bill #497) entitled the ‘Online Infringement Act’ proposes a regulatory site blocking mechanism which would empower the authorities to ensure that ISPs take “reasonable steps to disable access to sites whenever these sites are reported to be infringing copyright or facilitating copyright infringement.”

The recent YouGov survey suggests that a regulatory site blocking mechanism would be supported by the majority of Filipino consumers. When given choices of what they thought were effective measures of reducing piracy behaviour, 53% of Filipinos agree that a “government order or law for ISPs to block piracy websites” would be the most effective.

Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu said, “The ill effects of online piracy cannot be underestimated. We have been an advocate of content streaming through legal sites only through our #PlayItRight program. This advocacy educates people on the impacts of online piracy and on making the right choices when it comes to online consumption.”

For his part, Atty Teodoro Pascua, Deputy Director General, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said, “The wide variety of legal services in the Philippines which provide premium entertainment content are reliable and importantly are legal. The piracy alternatives fund crime groups put consumers at risk of malware infection and are unreliable. Piracy only benefits the criminal organisations who are behind these illegal websites.”

Neil Gane, the General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) commented, “We are confident that Indonesia and Malaysia will rise to become market leaders in video IP protection in the region, as a result of their site-blocking strategies. We are also confident that other countries in Asia, such as the Philippines, will take note and follow suit, boosting the growth of legal consumption of Filipino and international content.”

When asked about the negative consequences of online piracy, Filipino consumers placed funding crime groups (55%), loss of jobs in the creative industry (50%) and malware risks (49%) as their top three concerns.

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