Online video piracy could cost PHL $1-B revenue loss


IF online video piracy in the Philippines is not brought under control, the illegal activity could result in annual revenue loss of US$1 billion by 2027, a study cited by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) noted.

According to the study of Media Partners Asia (MPA), an independent research provider, online video piracy was “pervasive” in 2022, growing to 20 million illegal users with revenue leakage of US$781 million, representing an “alarming” 53 percent of legal video industry/screen revenues.

Meanwhile, IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba described the US$781-million revenue loss in online video piracy in 2022 as “alarming.”

“As long as the internet is there, hindi mawawala [piracy will not go away]. Piracy will always be there and our creatives are the ones that will be affected here,” Barba told reporters on the sidelines of the National Intellectual Property Month media briefing last Monday in Taguig City.

The study described the Philippines’s creative economy as having “significant potential.” In fact, it noted that the online video industry is a “critical component,” generating US$419 million in revenue in 2022 with consumer subscription contributing 57 percent and net brand advertising, with 43 percent.

Despite “robust” home and mobile broadband connectivity, however, the study said, “The Philippines lags peer Southeast Asian markets in online video industry development especially with regard to subscription video-on-demand [SVOD] household penetration.”

Meanwhile, premium VOD consumption is growing with Netflix, Viu, Disney, Amazon and local players (iWant, TFC, and Vivamax) all contributing as local households and users consume content from the US, Korea and the Philippines, the study noted.

However, the study said that piracy controls will help “unlock value” with more legal customers and revenue growth for the premium online video category, potentially more than doubling local content investment in the online video sector to US$390 million by 2027 versus a current projected trajectory of US$138 million.

“With improved piracy controls, eventually 60 percent of illegal subscribers, if not more, could be converted to prevailing SVOD and freemium services,” the study said.

If the country will put in place more efforts to combat online content theft, the study said these efforts will help grow premium online video revenues three times to US$1.6 billion with a “significant multiplier” in the process.

Moreover, the study highlighted that piracy controls will boost employment with the creation of 2,800 new jobs over the next five years (2022 to 2027), as video sector employment output grows to US$402 million by 2027, which it said is a “major incremental boost” of US$220 million.

Moving forward, the IPOPHL chief underscored the importance of collaboration in the global arena to mitigate the piracy cases.

“It really needs a collaboration; the effort should be global because it’s so porous,” Barba said, partly in Filipino, pointing out that piracy is a “trans-border” crime.

He also noted that IPOPHL has been working with dialogue partners such as (United States Patent and Trademark Office) USPTO, UK, Japan, and Korea.

Moreover, Barba said that, “it is our dream to have a forensics lab like the one in Korea,” a room in which he said the downloads within cell phones and computers are being monitored.