Streaming movie and TV providers are living on borrowed time as their content will soon dry up as production companies are forced to close due to coronavirus social distancing rules.
Movie, TV and radio companies have already put up the shutters with any new content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky and Disney Plus leaving editors prior to the lockdown.
And although Netflix has added 16 million new users in a few weeks and newly launched Disney Plus has passed the 50 million mark, a flood of cancellations is anticipated because nothing new to watch will come to screens or viewers will be too cash-strapped to merit paying subscriptions.
Indeed, Muso, a firm tracking streaming movie and TV piracy says research shows the circulation of illicit copies of streaming content has soared in the lockdown.
They say that since the lockdown has started online visits to pirate media sites has surged by more than a third.
The firm monitored 11.2 billion daily downloads of illegal pirated media in February.
Pandemic disaster movies
In China, where the coronavirus originated, the most popular downloads were pandemic crisis movies.
Downloads of the movie Contagion jumped 152%, Parasite saw the soar by 360% and the aptly titled Pandemic was 240% up.
“With more than a third of the world’s population is in lockdown as more countries follow China’s lead in fighting the spread of the virus. Working from home and social distancing has become the new normal, it’s no surprise that digital services are booming,” said a spokesman.
“No doubt viewing numbers are considerably higher than ‘normal’ – whatever that used to be – and encouraging as it is that consumers want to pay for high-quality content, even more of them want it for free. Muso’s latest data would suggest an unprecedented spike in online piracy.”
While pirated movie numbers rise, watching paid-for TV through illegal free sites has plunged by 50% due to the lack of real-time live action.
How illegal movie piracy has surged during lockdown
The chart shows how site visits rocketed by country in the last week of March compared to the same week in February.