Video piracy costs the U.S. $29B per year, study says

Everyone from content creators to distributors to service providers clearly has a moral issue with video piracy. New financial stats show the massive size of video piracy’s economic impact.

Global online piracy costs the U.S. economy at least $29.2 billion in lost revenue each year. That’s according to a new study, Impacts of Digital Piracy on the U.S. Economy, which was jointly conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Global Innovation Policy Center and NERA Economic Consulting.

“Digital video piracy results in significant losses to the U.S. economy, harming businesses ranging from content production firms to the innovative technology companies that are driving the digital distribution revolution,” the study says.

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The study reached this figure by estimating the effects of U.S. and non-U.S. digital piracy on paid film and television viewership in 2017, modeling the effects differently based on geographic components and then running an input-output model.

The study found that the streaming video industry leads to the employment up to 2.6 million workers in the U.S. and provides $229 billion in annual economic benefits to the U.S. economy. But it has also driven an increase in video piracy. The study says that 80% of piracy is now attributable to streaming.

In recent years a more substantial percentage of video piracy was done via downloads. According to the study, BitTorrent downloads accounted for nearly 40% of digital video piracy just a few years ago. But streaming piracy has taken over most of the activity thanks to the proliferation of piracy devices and apps that deliver unauthorized live television shows and video on-demand over the internet and directly to the television set.