YouGov and Edgeware research finds forensic watermarking could half the losses from online video piracy

Anti-piracy measures could save billions as 39% of consumers admit they are likely to watch pirated film or tv content

2018 NAB Show, Las Vegas – March 20, 2018Edgeware, the pioneer of TV CDN technology, working alongside YouGov, an international data and analytics group with access to an online panel of five million people worldwide, has found that the billons lost to online piracy could be halved by putting in place anti-piracy measures. Edgeware’s research found that 50% of viewers who said they would watch pirated content, would be dissuaded from doing so if they knew a program they were watching could be tracked back to its source using forensic watermarking.

The YouGov and Edgeware online research looked into the extent of illegal online television consumption and the impact of anti-piracy measures. The research surveyed more than 4000 people globally and found that 39% of viewers are likely to watch pirated content on-demand by downloading or streaming illegally shared versions of popular film and TV. At the same time more than one fifth (21%) said they would watch live events – like live sports – from unsolicited online sources.

The results of the survey are included in Edgeware’s new report – TV piracy research – watermarking could save billions of dollars a year – which you can download here.

Key findings from the report

  • 29%of viewers watch pirated content at least once per month
  • 39% of viewers are likely to watch pirated TV or films online, and 21% likely to watch pirated sports content
  • 50% of viewers would be unlikely to watch pirated content if they knew it was watermarked[1]
  • The most cited reasons for viewers watching pirated content is its ease of availability (32%), followed by cost (24%).
  • Viewers in Hong Kong are significantly more likely to watch pirated content than those in the US or UK.

Broadcasters and content owners lose billions to online piracy each year with illegal content more readily accessible on live streaming services, which has a huge, detrimental effect on the global TV and film production industry.

Piracy due to the downloading of TV and films alone is set to cost the industry 52 billion USD per year by 2022, with the US suffering the greatest loss at 11.6 billion USD[2]. These figures don’t even include losses from the live sports market in which rights are worth 43 billion a year. If the 21% of adults who were likely to watch pirated sports events did so, the loss of revenue from live sports events – as outlined in the Edgeware research – could equate to content owners losing upwards of 9 billion USD per year.[3]

“The Illegal distribution of programming is a huge problem for content distributors and owners with piracy costing them billions in lost revenue,” said Richard Brandon from Edgeware. “This research has shown that digitally watermarking content as it’s streamed will have a significant benefit. Those watching pirating content could drop by half and then forensic watermarking will also make it faster and easier to identify those illegally distributing content.”

Edgeware’s award-winning forensic watermarking solution allows for implementation of a bit-stream based watermark. It allows content owners and distributors to embed a unique visual code which can be tracked to each individual user. Much more efficient than more traditional manifest-watermarking techniques, bitstream-based watermarks are faster to implement and track and much harder for pirates to get rid of.

Edgeware’s watermarking solution will be demonstrating on the company booth (#SU10201CM) at the 2018 NAB Show between April 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.




About the research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,252 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th to 29th December 2017.  he survey was carried out online.

  • Hong Kong

Total sample size was 1,014 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th to 29th December 2017

  • US

Total sample size was 1,137 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 27th December 2017.

  • UK

Total sample size was 2101 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th – 19th December 2017


About Edgeware

Edgeware offers leading operators and content providers the solutions to deliver modern TV services on a huge scale and at a low cost. Edgeware’s unique technology gives control and insight back to the content provider with an outstanding viewing experience. In recent years, Edgeware has experienced rapid growth, reaching sales of SEK 237 million in 2017.


Edgeware is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with a subsidiary in the US and offices in Hong Kong and Mexico. Edgeware also has sales and technical sales support staff in several locations in Europe, Asia and North and Latin America.



Edgeware media contacts: Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Kayla Millhouse t: +44 (0)20 7403 8878 (EMEA)

Martin Izzard t: +1 310 773 3760 (Americas & APAC)

[email protected]


[1] Calculated as 50% of the 85% of respondents who knew whether they were likely or unlikely to watch illegally-distributed content.

[2] Source: Digital TV Research October 2017

[3] 9bn is calculated as 21% of the live sport rights market said to be worth $43bn per year


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