Skip to main content

Why waste hard drive space? Study shows streaming made up 75 percent of piracy in 2015

DirecTV Now 1 million subscribers
Are you finding yourself streaming more and more content while your Blu-ray collection gathers dust? It turns out that the convenience of streaming is just as alluring to those who aren’t paying for their content.

Game of Thrones might have been the most downloaded show of 2015, but even pirates are turning away from downloads. According to MUSO’s 2016 Global Film & TV Piracy Market Insight Report, the vast majority of piracy in 2015 took place via illegal streaming, with a total of 57.8 billion visits to piracy sites last year — that’s nearly 75 percent of all visits to such sites.

More than 12 percent of the global piracy audience in 2015 came from the U.S., with a total of 9.86 billion visits. Many of the other top countries were located in Europe, with France, Germany, and the U.K. all claiming spots in the top 10. People might be doing more browsing via mobile devices these days, but apparently not pirates, as 72 percent of the total 78.5 billion visits to piracy sites in 2015 came from desktop devices.

While still popular, downloads via torrents made up only just over 17 percent of visits, declining by 18 percent between the first six months and last six months of 2015. While this means there are still plenty of users out there building enormous collections of downloaded TV shows, movies, and music, more and more of them are opting to stream instead.

“Piracy audiences are becoming better connected, more tech savvy, and know what they want, which is why so many of them have chosen to stream infringing content, rather than download it illegally,” MUSO’s Chief Commercial Officer Christopher Elkins said in a statement.

Another possible reason for the increase is that some users who were previously getting content from legitimate services like Netflix via means like VPNs are finding they can no longer do that and are resorting to piracy instead. While installing a torrent client and finding a tracker might be beyond the realm of the not so tech-savvy, clicking the play button on a website isn’t.

Government agencies continue to focus on taking down torrent sites, with the alleged founder of Kickass Torrents arrested last week, but now it seems that they have a new problem on their hands. With options like Torrents Time being as easy for site operators to set up as installing a plugin, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
Skype now supports 911 calls in the U.S.
iPhone with the Skype mobile app loading screen.

Skype has updated its mobile and desktop apps to allow emergency calling in the U.S. for the first time in its 18-year history. Calls to 911 are also possible via Skype’s web-based service, notes for the recently released Skype 8.80 showed.

Emergency calling from Skype could come in handy if you find yourself in a tricky situation without a phone but have a computer close by, or if phone lines are down but you can get online.

Read more
The Interplanetary File System: How you’ll store files in the future
Cloud storage for downloading an isometric. A digital service or application with data transmission. Network computing technologies. Futuristic Server. Digital space. Data storage. Vector illustration.

When you upload a file or send a tweet, your information is stashed in some corporation-owned mega data center in the middle of nowhere. The endless racks of computers in these facilities hold millions of ledgers, and with a flick of a switch, companies can censor or misuse the data.

But what if instead of handing it to, say Amazon or Google, your data is broken down into pieces and scattered across the globe so that no one except you and your key -- not even the government -- can access it?

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more