Study: 49% of Malaysians watching content online no longer using pirate websites

The study commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) revealed that 49% of online consumers no longer accessed illegal services, while 40% stated they rarely accessed them due to the sites now being blocked. — MOHAMED HASSAN/Pixabay

Malaysians viewing content streamed online are now increasingly turning to legal platforms, in part due to a crackdown against illegal sites, a recent study found.

The study, commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by YouGov, revealed that 49% of online consumers no longer accessed illegal services, while 40% stated they rarely accessed them due to the sites now being blocked.

The YouGov survey stated that that meant only 22% of online consumers still use pirate streaming or torrent websites, down from 61% a year ago.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry was also credited with helping change consumer behaviour, with 55% of streaming content consumers polled noticing that the ministry was the one blocking illegal sites.

Only 11% of online consumers said their viewing habits were unchanged.

CAP general manager Neil Gane said they applaud the Ministry’s effort for disrupting pirate website networks, which were being monetised by crime syndicates.

“Consumers who subscribe to illicit services or access piracy streaming sites are wasting their time and money when the channels and websites stop working. Piracy services do not come with a service guarantee, no matter what their sales pitch may claim,” he said, in a press statement.

Consumers were also becoming more aware of the negative consequences of online piracy, with the top three concerns being funding crime groups (57%), loss of jobs in the creative industry (52%) and malware risks (42%), according to the study.

Hong Kong’s TVB International general manager Desmond Chan said the Ministry’s anti-piracy measures made Malaysia an attractive place to continue investing in.

“Malaysia is an important market to our content distribution business. TVB’s programmes are popular in Malaysia and have always been the targets for piracy,” he added.

Spanish professional football league LaLiga’s global audiovisual director Melcior Soler said the “substantial reduction in online piracy in Malaysia is a sign of the success of the actions undertaken by the MDTCA”.

“Piracy only benefits the criminal organisations who operate the websites and illicit applications and harmed society as a whole, especially those who work every day to generate content and entertainment for everyone,” he added.

The survey conducted by YouGov also found that continual site blocking resulted in 20% of consumers getting a paid subscription to a legal streaming service.

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