Online content piracy cost P1 billion losses to local video producers, distributors and aggregators in 2020 alone and continues to persist now that lockdowns further changed the way media is consumed.
Video piracy remains prevalent in the country, with nearly half of online Filipinos consuming illegal content, Anton Bonifacio, Globe Chief Information Security Officer warned during a recent workshop hosted by North American Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA) and the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA).
As Filipinos shift to a digital lifestyle and consume more Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) content away from traditional media, demand for pirated sources has likewise grown, he pointed out.
Many Filipinos turn to illegal streaming sources for movies, TVshows, games, sports, and music to avoid paying for multiple subscriptions since most need to prioritize essentials over payments to entertainment services.
However, “Digital piracy is not just a loss for companies like Globe or our content partners. It impacts an extended local supply chain that includes people behind and in front of cameras,” Bonifacio explained.
Thousands of Filipinos have already lost their jobs due to piracy even before the pandemic. When one sector is not doing well, this is not good for the overall economy.
“Online piracy is a vicious cycle since its prevalence deprives ordinary Filipinos of job opportunities which in turn fuels more piracy and illegal acts,” he stressed.
For instance, the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which was presented through a virtual platform, only reached P31 million in gross revenue, a far cry from the P955 million reported in 2019.
One of the reasons was that pirated copies were immediately sold for P10 each versus the ticket price of P250 when the MMFF films became available online.
Beyond specific industries, online piracy impacts ordinary Filipinos since it robs the government of much-needed revenues that could be used for health care, online learning, infrastructure, and other public services, especially with quarantine restrictions in place.
The same lockdowns harm the Philippine economy, which already contracted by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
Household spending, a significant driver of the economy, also decreased by 4.8 percent over the same period.
Only a robust and inclusive Philippine economy may curb online content piracy, the Globe executive underscored.
A robust economy will also give consumers more discretionary funds to spend on online services, which in turn, could lessen their motivation to consume illegal content.
“We take the holistic view that the economic empowerment of a larger population lessens piracy and its attendant risks – malware, ransomware, and inappropriate content,” he reiterated
“This is why Globe has been doing its part to combat piracy so we can get the economy back on track and help people regain their livelihood and dignity,” Bonifacio concluded.
If there is a strong economy, more and better jobs will provide people with higher spending power, encouraging consumers to stick to legitimate content providers.
More importantly, this will allow jobs in the media and the entertainment industry and related services to be restored.

Source: Manila Bulletin (