Digital Piracy – impacts on the US economy

The change of consumer needs and demands in regards of media consumption changed the media industry in general.

The rise of video streaming pushed TV channels from the top of the hill a while ago. Subscribers have access to their demanded programs (be that sports, television series, movies, etc) from anywhere at any time by any connected device. 

As an answer for this consumer demand streaming services are producing their own unique content – this demands such an employee count only in the US on the field of media production and technology that streaming services employ 2.6 million workers and provide $229 annual benefits to the US economy.

But as streaming technology changed the consumer demands and habits on a global scale, it also change digital piracy and its impact on the US economy at large.

A new report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center and NERA Economic Consulting aims to estimate the impact of online piracy on the US in, the lights of new streaming technologies taking over the media throne from TV channels.

The report reads that 80% of piracy concerns streaming services nowadays, causing at least $29.2 billion of revenue losses each year.

This loss of income is not coming straight from the US illegal downloaders, the report says. The money spared on illegal streaming and downloads by consumers is spent in other sectors in the US economy, so it is not a pure leak on the nation’s wallet. This is not the case for the movie industry solely of course: digital piracy is still a billion dollar annual loss fom them both in the indie movie or on the Hollywood level. 

So about the case of downloaders outside of the US: the money spared on illegal media consumption and spent in other sectors outside of the US is the issue that concerns the US economy the most. 

It is hard to make a precise calculation on the exact loss on revenue caused by digital piracy for streaming services, especially as piracy technology changes very fast as well. The report linked above however tried to make a close estimate by issuing macro and micro analysis on the piracy landscape; Doing that by taking into account many components of this equation from the number of pirated movies and piracy sources, the average price per source (for the publisher), to many more aspects mentioned in the report. The calculation not only led to the outcome of the above written 29.2 billion loss in revenue for streaming services, but to a conclusion that digital piracy’s impact on a wider economical scale is even larger. 

Based on the research, online video piracy costs the U.S. economy between 230,000 and 560,000 jobs and between $47.5 billion and $115.3 billion in GDP annually. 

Though there is no single solution for this rapidly growing issue, consumer’s education on the dangers of piracy and anti-piracy services are more needed than ever to prevent such huge economic losses, not only in the US but globally as well.